The level of violence and loss experienced during the First World War was unlike anything that the world had seen before. The number of nations involved far surpassed any war that preceeded it. Only a handful of countries around the world were able to remain neutral, thereby protecting their populations from the massive losses that destroyed Europe. Technological advances in weaponary, new battle tactics, and the largest european armies ever raised were put on a global stage. Perhaps more than any other war, WWI changed warfare forever. With losses currently estimated to be about 37,466,904 worldwide, the sheer lose of life was staggering. After the war however, a different form of loss occured.
Officers who had commanded troops on the war torn battlefields eventually came under intense political and social fire for their actions. Many have been accused of incompetence, arrogance, and carelessness; words that are not fitting for some. The result has been that many great and reputable commanders have had their good names tarnished, changing their legacies for the worst. One such officer who has become a victim of history is the late English Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig the 1st Earl of Bemersyde. However, due to his critics, he is more commonly known as the "The Butcher of the Somme", or more simply, "Butcher Haig"; all epithets that his critics promote.
Douglas Haig's critics have claimed that, among other things, he was unsuited for leadership, didn't care for his troops, disregarded technological advances, and failed to adapt to the changes in military strategy. Quite truthfully, those accusations are completely false. As this examination of Haig's life and military service will show, he was a capable commander, a caring superior, an innovator, and an effective tactician. However, to gain a full understanding of Douglas Haig, it is important to first understand his early life and career.
Born on June 19, 1861 in... [continues]
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