Battle of Somme: Role of General Haig

Topics: World War I, Source, World War II Pages: 3 (1121 words) Published: March 11, 2014
History: Why were there different interpretations of Haig?

The Battle of the Somme was one of the most significant battles in the First World War. As a result, it was a success as the British won; however as to whether the main commander of the battle deserves the credit is highly opinionated. It is true that thousands of soldiers were killed during the war, but Haig also intimidated the German army with his bombardment. In this essay, I will analyse the different sources - whether they state that General Haig was a butcher or a war-winner, and why they think this way.

Firstly, there are many sources proving that Haig is a butcher. One of these sources is an extract taken from 'British Butchers and Bunglers of World War One'. It says in source 7, "It is not a strategy at all, its slaughter." The use of the word 'slaughter' shows that Haig killed the men in thousands as though they were animals. This source criticises Haig's stubbornness, comparing his nature and his thinking to a donkey. People do not even have to read the first page to know that this is a negative perspective of General Haig. The title makes it clear that it is criticising Haig's tactics. It is a book on British Butchers and if Haig was mentioned in it as one of the primary butchers, then certainly this evidence will ridicule and mock him. This is very likely to be biased and it probably would not balance both the positive and negative thoughts about Haig.

Another example of negative thoughts about General Haig is source 10. "I expressed my doubts to General Haig as to whether cavalry (horses) could ever operate successfully on a front bristling for miles with barbed wire and machine guns." This was written by Lloyd George in his book "War Memoirs". This source suggests that Haig's methods were not thought through and didn't sound likely to work, thus the author emphasises on this thought by using 'could ever' - conveying that it would not work in a million years. Actually this is not...
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