Does Field Marshal Haig Desreve the Title of "The Butcher of the Somme"?

Topics: Trench warfare, World War I, Machine gun Pages: 2 (727 words) Published: January 13, 2013
Field Marshal Douglas Haig was a British senior officer in World War One and commanded in the Battle of the Somme, which was arguably one of the bloodiest battles in British military history. Haig gained the title of the butcher of the Somme after the end of World War One, due to the indescribable amount of casualties and deaths that took place. One could say that Haig deserves the title because of the huge loss of life, his bad planning and repetition of bad tactics and the fact that he was completely out of touch with his soldiers. Some say he doesn’t because he was arguably the best the British had, no one knew how to fight in trench warfare and he pushed what was arguably the world's most powerful army off of French soil.

One could argue that General Haig does deserve his title because of the fact that he sent thousands of men to their deaths and continued to do so even though his repeated tactics seemed to be having little or no impact. For instance 60,000 soldiers died in the first day alone. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers died yet only a few square kilometres of land had been gained. This was because Haig ordered his men to walk across no mans land, at which they were faced with heavy machine gun fire. The pals battalions were inexperienced yet they were still told to walk in straight lines across no mans land.It can be argued that Haig was too risky and did not have the welfare of his men in mind at all. He continued to bombard the German barbed wire with artillery even though this just lifted the wire up into the air, letting it land in a more tangled state than before, rather than cutting it. The repetition of these tactics may lead us to believe that Haig really didn't care about the multitude of men he sent to death, and it was his ignorance that lead to loss of life on such a massive scale, which leads us to believe that Haig was the Butcher of the Somme.

Haig is also criticised of his bad planning and poor leadership. Haig lifted the...
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