Did General Haig Deserve To Be The
Butcher of the Somme
In June 1914 a Serb assassinated Franz Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of the Austrian Empire. Austria decided to take revenge against Serbia and invaded. However, Serbia had an alliance with Russia, and Russia with France. Germany came to the aid of Austria. One by one, the powers of Europe were pulled into war by their alliances. This source is taken from a book called “Investing History a World Study By 1916”. The French were fighting at Verdun for 2 years in trench warfare and no one was winning. The French were on the brink of defeat so they asked the British could they attack on the Somme Valley to give the French some breathing space. The British bombarded the German trenches for 7 days non-stop. Over 3 million shells hit the German trenches. However the Germans built underground bunkers made out of concrete. On July 1st 1916 the first waves of the British soldiers went over the top and were ordered to walk to the German trenches at walking pace thinking that all of the Germans were dead when the bombardment stoped however then the Germans came out of the bunkers and shot the British down with machine guns. On the first day of the battle 20,000 British soldiers were killed and 30,000 soldiers were injured or wounded. Sir General Haig was in charge of the British at the time. People think that Haig should be remembered as the “butcher of the Somme” because he sent thousands of British soldiers to their deaths. Some people thought that Haig was a donkey leading lions. Over 1 million men volunteered to fight in 1914 thinking it would be over by Christmas but the battle of the Somme kept going until November 1916 the battle lasted five months. By the time the battle ended 420,000 British soldiers were dead. It was the biggest British military disaster in British history, based on British and German first hand accounts on the battle. The other interpretation of Haig is that he was just doing his...
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