The Battle of the Somme.

Topics: Trench warfare, British Empire, Army Pages: 2 (690 words) Published: January 9, 2013
“The Battle of the Somme was a total failure”
How far do Sources A-F support this statement?

On the 1st July 1916, the battle of the Somme began. Sources A, D, E and F suggest that the Battle of The Somme wasn’t a total failure. However, Sources B and C suggest that the British underestimated the Germans and this was the cause of their massacre.

Source B proposes that although the British were organized and everything was going according to their plan, the first line, which had nearly reached the German front line, were shot down due to machine-gun fire. The soldiers were caught in the open with no shelter and didn’t stand a chance. The machine guns were unexpected because Haig predicted that since the Germans had been bombarded with shells for a week, they would all be dead and their weapons would have been destroyed. Haig was complacent and this cost him dearly, the Germans had dug outs which provided shelter, these were often 40 feet in depth. Source C shows British soldiers advancing slowly towards the German trenches; the picture also shows one British soldier on the ground, probably shot by machine guns and on the verge of death. This indicates that when some soldiers had crossed their own barbed wire, immediately outside of their trenches, were shot. Source B is written by a sergeant in the British army and it supports the statement and it is reliable since it is neither written by Haig himself to avoid blame for the Battle of the Somme, nor by someone who wasn’t at the battle. Source B gives us a first person view of the battle as Sergeant Cook was there himself. Source C is unreliable as it was produced by the British government to raise the morale of people back in Britain. It was a desperate attempt to support the fact that the battle was a success even though it wasn’t.

On the other hand, Source A disagrees with the given statement as it is written by Haig after the battle and he writes about things the British have learnt of the German...
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