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Was it his fault? These are the questions I am going to examine in this essay. My main points will be that "Haig ignored reconnaissance" and to defend him "is the Somme really a failure and was it his fault

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History Essay Some historians believe that General Douglas Haig was a butcher because of the amount of people killed in action at the Somme. Others believe he was not to blame as many of the failures were mostly not of his creation. In truth, Haig is in the middle of this scale as the evidence and reasoning I am going to present. General Haig studied at Sandhurst and graduated. He was then sent to India with his brigades, which were titled the seventh hussars. He came back from India in 1904 and was made Major General. He was the youngest ever. He was steadily promoted up the army ranks after this and made the full General in 1914. After the war, Haig dedicated himself to the Royal British Legion. He was made Earl Haig in 1919 and the Baton Haig of Bermersyde. This shows to me that General Haig was held in high regard by the British army and was obviously identified as a success and was well respected. While researching Haig, I discovered that he was not a fully qualified general and he did not have the key experience. He came from wealthy background and I think his families wealth had a bit to do with his appointment. When people discuss the failure of the Somme, they consider the first day. ...read more.


This would have many consequences on the British troops and on the battle itself as If Haig was not seeing what was going on then he would not have been able to make any tactical decisions. This tells me that either Haig was very confident of his plan of working or he was scared or he did not have his heart fully in the job. Haig underestimated the German efficiency, as he did not realise their capabilities of setting up as quick as they did. He also had his priorities all over the place and was not completely focused on the battle. He sent his men over the top with picks and spades as he thought there would be no Germans left. This again was underestimating and not fully recognising the potential of the German forces. Haig also had a large amount of tanks, which should have been used in a concentrated attack. Instead Haig used them dribbling and they were took out. This again is a misuse of technology and is a key factor in Britian not making any advances. If Haig had used them how they should have been used then again this was a chance for him to be a hero. Could this be another link to him ignoring reconnaissance, as people in the army wwould have known how to use them? ...read more.


There are many issues like that, which need to be analysed further to discover the truth regarding Haig's leadership. I cannot defend Haig as there is a strong point concerning my last issue that Haig ignored reconnaissance when he was doing his artillery bombing. This could link in with the fact that Haig did not understand the Germans. Again, I am going to say that there is no clear decision of whether to blame Haig but on the balance of the arguments I do feel stronger towards the side which says Haig is not to blame. Purely because Haig was not fully concentrated on the war as the French had distracted him and his plans at Verdun and the Germans had the higher ground in the Battle. With hindsight, we can see that Haig made mistakes and the first day of the Somme was a disaster. However, we also have to look at the limited options open to him. He was told to relieve Verdun and this meant attacking the Germans. Haig made mistakes by altering Rawlinson's plan, but he could not foresee that 30% of the British shells would fail to explode. Haig was criticised for sending men to capture enemy trenches, but no politician or military leader came up with any alternatives in 1916. It is very telling that most people at the time did not share the hostility later expressed towards Haig. ?? ?? ?? ?? Daniel Gardner 1 ...read more.

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