To What Extent Do You Agree with the View That Douglas Haig Deserves His Reputation as the ‘Butcher of the Somme’?

Topics: Trench warfare, British Army, Western Front Pages: 1 (342 words) Published: December 19, 2012
Does General Haig deserve to be remembered as the Butcher of the Somme?

In 1st July 1916, the river the Somme in France is used as the fighting tool place and war has begun near the river so the war is named. During the period, General Douglas Haig is the Commander-in-Chief for the British Army so he took full control of the attack. The General wanted to make a breakthough to get through the German trenches and defeat the army once and for all. What he planned to do is to firstly smash the German’s trenches with a bombardment of shell fire to last for 7 days and nights. Secondly, he would send infantry to capture what was left of the trenches. Thirdly, he would send cavalry through the captured trenches into the free land the other side.

Haig gathered nearly 700,000 men for the attack but most of them were lack of experiences. Even though they received a rehearsal, it is not realistic and coarsely. Later, Haig had to change his plan because of problems related to Verdun in France that delayed his attack for one month until August. The British Army had two targets which were the trenches themselves and to cut up the barbed wire. British went over the top to attack the German’s trenches and the battle went on for 140 days. Thousands and thousands of men were shot during the battle. At last, in November, the British made a last great attack and it actually worked and they captured the village of Beaumont Hamlet and took thousands of German prisoners. General Haig believed that he had won the war, but the human cost was very high. Both sides had huge casualties of over 600,000 soldiers.

However, people argued that whether General Haig deserved to be remembered as the butcher of the Somme. In his country, he was not remembered as a national hero, instead he was portrayed as a butcher who didn’t care for the huge amount of deaths in this battle.
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