Is it fair to criticize General Haig as a donkey who led lions?
Douglas Haig was a General during World War One. There is much controversy over General Haig’s reputation due to the high level of losses during his battles in command. Many people agree with David Lloyd George’s attitude of Haig and many other British Generals of World War One. They are said to be “donkeys”, incompetents who sent the “lions” (the soldier) into futile bloody battles. Many popular books, films and television programs also agree with David Lloyd George. The sad truth, however, was between two evenly matched opponents, that there was no other way of solving the conflict.
There is sufficient evidence to indicate that that Douglas Haig was a poor General, or a donkey. The evidence is that General Haig, along with many other Generals, were used to handling small-scale forces in colonial warfare. They had a lot to learn about this type of warfare, for which they were very unprepared. Furthermore, communications were poor, and armies were too big and dispersed to be commanded by a General himself. Haig should have, however, made sure that all his soldiers knew what the plan was before they set off, and Haig should have planned how he was going to communicate with them. Moreover, if the infantry and artillery did manage to hit the enemy Haig lacked a fast moving force to use the situation effectively. Additionally, General Haig’s 1914 tactics had yet to catch up with the range and effectiveness of modern artillery and the latest machine guns. Likewise, Haig learnt the wrong lesson from previous attacks, instead of persisting with short times of extreme amounts of fire. Haig used heavier guns and longer bombardments that just churned up the ground and eliminated the element of surprise. Haig was not able to accept information passed on to him, a great example of this was when it was suggested that much of the barbed wire on the Somme was not cut, he admitted that himself, but he still...
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