• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was Haig 'A Butcher'?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was Haig 'A Butcher'? The Battle of the Somme was planned as a joint French and British operation. The idea originally came from the French Commander-in-Chief, Joseph Joffre and was accepted by General Sir Douglas Haig, the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) commander, despite his preference for a large attack in Flanders. Haig also wanted to make a breakthrough and show that he would help takeover Germany with France. At first Joffre intended for to use mainly French soldiers but the German attack on Verdun in February 1916 turned the Somme offensive into a large-scale British diversionary attack. General Sir Douglas Haig now took over responsibility for the operation and with the help of General Sir Henry Rawlinson, came up with his own plan of attack. Haig's strategy was for an eight-day preliminary bombardment that he believed would completely destroy the German forward defences. Since 1918 there has been furious arguments over the leadership of General Haig, an army general in the First World War. After the war the British Government praised and showered Haig with honours. They also awarded him with �100,000. However not long after the war ended, Haig started to be criticized on his tactics, his willingness to sustain a great number of casualties and a number of other reasons. ...read more.

Middle

Even though Haig had experience of battle on the front line, most of these experiences were hand to hand combat, fighting small skirmishes in India and fighting against guerrilla warfare in South Africa. He had no experiences of large military confrontation in traditional battle formation or with the new machines or techniques of the twentieth century war methods. So to call up a general who had no experience of these things was a very risky idea. Haig thought that killing more Germans even at the cost of a large potion of the British Empire soldiers would win the war. Haig lived in luxury, forty miles away from the front line and never visited soldiers at the front. Hence he did not know the conditions they were subjected to. Haig should have ensured efficient communication in planning the strategies for the battle. Another weakness he had was, when confronted with problems Haig would step back and let other people handle it. Haig and his generals used the same strategy continually. They also used all their artillery to destroy the barbed wire while killing Germans at the same time. But this was not successful. In fact, it made it worst. ...read more.

Conclusion

Haig was not used to modern warfare as his experiences of wars in other countries were completely different from the traditional formation in Europe. We should also take in consideration that in the Battle of the Somme Britain suffered heavy losses but Germany had the most casualties. Also people who classify Haig as a butcher often say that Haig didn't care for anyone and he said, "the nation must be taught to bear losses" but I think that at the time of the war this is a true considerable statement to say although it is hard to face facts, because if you want to win a war there is going to be losses unfortunately. Although I am making it seem that I am on Haig's side completely I still think Haig should have got more involved in the battle but I think that his battle tactics were okay, maybe only a little improving needed due to the fact that Germany had more casualties at the end of the Somme. Haig was a considerable general for example he said," success in battle depends mainly on morale and determination." Overall I think that Sir Douglas Haig was not a butcher and should not be classified as a butcher. I think this is a very important issue and I found the information very interesting while I was researching the answers to this question. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Britain 1905-1951 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Britain 1905-1951 essays

  1. General Haig - Butcher or Hero?

    by sympathising with Haig's mindset, quoting Haig in saying that 'it would be folly not to use any means at my [his] disposal', opposing source 6. Also, it has been said that '7 would have given the edge'. At the time, the French were having considerable trouble holding at Verdun

  2. Was General Haig a donkey or a great commander?

    Whether or not this is true, this skill did not emerge very obviously during the Somme. Nevertheless, his supporters, still undaunted, then justify the Somme for other reasons. One of these is the fact that the Somme was an excellent training ground for the BEF.

  1. Explain how well Haigs background and military experience had prepared him for command of ...

    However the historians who personally blast Haig will never have the facts to make an opinion of Douglas Haig as a person. Many people said that Haig was a great general and a reason for the eventual allied victory, and many knew him as a kind hearted caring person.

  2. General Haig

    It is still quite useful though as it is positive evidence towards John Keegan's interpretations and it is also reliable because it is from the official biography of General Haig, which gives yet another view about Haig's actions. Source J is from The Times, a well known British broadsheet newspaper.

  1. General Haig doesn't care about his soldiers.

    57,000 people died on day 1 of the Battle of the Somme, surely if he cared he would have pulled out of the battle or tried to stop this amount of slaughter. When he says, "However good..." it seems he is already making excuses.

  2. Was Haig the butcher of the Somme?

    ''The horror was indescribable ... I want to tell you so that it may be on record, that I honestly believe that Goldie (a mate) and many others were murdered through the stupidity of those in authority'' This was back up; to show that Haig wasn't doing his job properly.

  1. was haig butcher of the somme

    Liddell Hart, Reputations (1928) General Douglas Haig, battle orders issued just before the Battle of the Somme (May 1916) The First, Second, and Third Armies will take steps to deceive the enemy as to the real front of attack, to wear him out, and reduce his fighting efficiency both during the three days prior to the assault and during the subsequent operations.

  2. Haig Fully Deserves His Reputation as 'Bungler and Butcher of the Somme.'Discuss

    Another source that suggests that he was a butcher but also a bungler is: " Very successful attack this morning all went like clockwork. The battle is going very well for us and already the Germans are surrendering freely. The enemy is so short of men that he is collecting them from all the parts of the line.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work