Does General Haig deserve the title "Butcher of the

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Does General Haig deserve the title “Butcher of the


The battle of the Somme was one horrific battle for the British Army. Many people thought that General Haig was to blame, many others thought different. In this essay I will say what title General Haig deserves.

Before the war General Haig was known for his long & successful military career. He had been particularly noticed for his cavalry skills in the Boer war fifteen years earlier. In that war the enemy was poorly equipped and was an easy win.  ; Haig was never faced with trench warfare. World war one and the battle of the Somme in particular would change that.

The Battle of the Somme was initially planned as a joint French and British operation to regain French territory and to destroy as much of the German Army as possible. The plan came from the French Commander-in-Chief,  before being accepted by Haig. Haig at this time was commander of the British Expeditionary Force, (BEF).At first Joffre intended to use mainly French soldiers but when the Germans attacked  in February 1916 Somme offensive became a mainly British attack. Haig was in charge of the British attack and with the help of General Sir , came up with his own plans for the battle. Haig's strategy was for an eight-day  that he believed would completely destroy the German forward defenses. Then the main attack was for the troops to attack the trenches by foot expecting many to be dead and little survivors and finally the cavalry attack.  

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Haig used 750,000 men against the German front-line. However, the bombardment failed to destroy either the barbed-wire or the concrete bunkers protecting the German soldiers. This meant that the Germans were able to exploit their good defensive positions on higher ground when the British and French troops attacked at 7.30 on the morning of the 1st July. The BEF suffered 58,000 casualties (a third of them killed), therefore making it the worse day in the history of the British Army.
Haig was not affected by these heavy losses on the first day and ordered General
 to continue making attacks on ...

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