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World War One Sources Questions

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Introduction

History Coursework 05/2002 Question One Source A is not a useful source to historian's studying the attitudes of British soldiers towards their commanding officers as it only shows one point of view. The cartoonist may, however be representing the feelings of men at the time. Although the cartoonist has drawn a very amusing satirical picture, it is not very useful to historians as the caption and imagery are all of the artists own devising, and the cartoonist was probably not very well informed about the real conditions at the front, he may have heard the biased reports at the time about how perfect everything was and although his cartoon is very realistic, it is not witting and therefore not as useful to a historian as one from the front lines would have been. Source B is not particularly useful either as it is a fictional account. The view is however, very realistic despite being unwitting. It has been accurately written and may provide a historian with some idea of alternative views that may have been around at the time. The researching historian could then investigate these in order to gain a clearer impression of the men's attitudes towards their officers. Source C is extremely biased and as such is not much use to a modern historian. The source is a direct quote from Haig's son and as such he would naturally support his Father's decisions. ...read more.

Middle

on it, pointing out from the poster. This source only shows some people's views on Haig. It shows that some people in Britain did not have the respect for Haig that he wished to command. This source is unwitting and does not support John Keegan's view that Haig was an "efficient, highly skilled" officer; it says exactly the opposite that some people did not think that Haig was helping Britain, more hindering them in the war. The next source, E is written by Haig himself, it is a contemporary source but is biased in favour of him. The source is about how well the war is going and how no matter how many casualties there are, the war is for a good cause. The source would be slightly useful to a historian as it would tell them exactly what was going on at the time and how Haig viewed his own command and how he considered the loss of so many of the men under his command. This source does support Keegan's views on Haig, but it is biased and as such is not a reliable source for a historian to use. Source F is a secondary source as it was written after the First World War; in 1989 this means that it is less useful to a historian than a contemporary source would be however the source is, witting. ...read more.

Conclusion

The Germans are saying how much they approve of Haig but this is only because he is sending men over the top to the mercy of the German machine gunners, they respect him as a General because he is not commanding the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) particularly well. Source K is not a contemporary source; it was written a long time after the War, in 1998, it is a direct quote from a British magazine. The source vaguely agrees with Keegan's statement as it says that to pile the entire guilt of the war onto one man is too extreme, but it does not praise Haig's actions as Keegan does. It simply says that although Haig was not a brilliant General there was probably no one better around Britain at the time for commanding the British armies. Source L:1 This source shows how wrapped up Haig was in his ideas and was oblivious to other suggestions. He ignored good advice in case taking it caused him to lose face. This source disagrees with Keegan's views and says almost the opposite as a good officer should be able to take good advice, Haig's taking of this advice may have resulted in a reduced death toll. Keegan's views do not seem to be amply supported in the sources that I have found. This may mean that people with his views are few and far between or may mean that not many people hold those same views. ...read more.

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