How far do these sources prove that Haig did not care about the lives of his men? Essay

From 1914 to 1918 World War one took place it was known as the great war. One of the most famous battles was the battle of the Somme this took place on 1st July 1916 and is one of the most remember able battles ever thousands of people British, German and French lost their lives. The man that was in charge of the planning of the battle of the Somme was Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, he had served in Sudan and South Africa previously before as a Cavalryman. Most soldiers that often win battles for their country are very famous, But in Haig’s case this isn’t so.

Although he won a great victory for his country he is not remembered by many people as a national hero. Most people think of him as the opposite he had inherited the name “butcher” and they say that he didn’t care about how many of his soldiers died. These next few paragraphs will give you sources and evidence about Haig to help you decide if he was a butcher or not. Source 1 is a photograph of Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig, Its shows him as a very proud man with all of his ribbons and his Kings cross. The ribbons infer that he must have had a good relationship with his soldiers in revious battles like the Boer war that he fought in South Africa. He also must have been very brave at one point because he has a kings cross which are awarded for bravery, They also show that he is a war veteran with experience. In the Photograph his appearance is very smart he is very clean and his moustache is well groomed, so is his hair his uniform is also very formal and smart.

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This infers that he is good with rules regulations and discipline and he has also previously been a soldier. The way that he is dressed looking very smart and important portrays him as hero that ther people would look up to. Overall I think that this source doesn’t go any distance to prove if he cared or not about his soldiers. Source 2 Is a extract written by Haig on 30th June 1916 the day before the attack of the Somme it is primary evidence but it shows Haig as having a very callous and uncaring attitude. “heavy casualties” He is saying that he knows that a lot of people are going to die but he still doesn’t say anything about stopping it. But on the other hand he is trying to get the public to face the fact that yes many men are going to die but at least they will be iving up their lives for their country. He is simply stating the obvious because he knows that this is going to be a full scale war from his experience and that their was going to be massive consequences and that it would be really bloody.

My opinion is that this source doesn’t suggest any thing about the question he is just following orders from people who are higher ranked than him. Source 3 is another extract written by Haig from his report of the first day of the attack. “The men are in splendid spirits” This infers that he knows about how the soldiers are doing but in reality he doesn’t really he just aying what the public want to hear. It is a form of propaganda to raise morale at home which is very unlikely to be 100% true. Also how would he know how the soldiers were doing he never visited the trenches not even once so his point of view is not very good it is biased he is only hearing what he wants to here from the soldiers who are telling him what is happening.

It says “the barbed wire has never been cut so well” this infers that there must have been a major communications problem because in source 4 it states that “It was clear that their was no gaps in the wire at the ime of the attack” This suggests that Haig was very wrong because of what he said previously. “any Tommy… often in a worse tangle than before” this only proves that their was a bad communication problem. Source 5 is a extract in a 1988 biography of Haig “While Haig slept in a cosy bed in a quiet country chateau… was so much more comfortable than that of the men he commanded” this is a secondary piece of evidence. This infers that he didn’t care at all for his soldiers because if he did then he would be worried about his soldiers and he would be out their in the renches fighting along side them. However the extract could be biased because it does seem that the author has exaggerated about some of the things “dining on the best food available. ”

I think that this source does prove that he didn’t care about his soldiers but not completely it shows that he wasn’t even really bothered about them as he was just wining and dinning while his men where out fighting for his country. Source 6 and 7 are just Mickey taking out of Haig From source 6 “Clearly Field Marshall Haig is about… six inches closer to Berlin” This infers that he soldiers know that they are going to fight but they know that it isn’t going to get them anywhere. Source 7 is a cartoon taken from a punch magazine and it Shows in a funny way how they know that Haig even though he is their leader and tells them what to do he is never actually their to help them fight along side with them. Overall all of these sources together I don’t think that their is enough evidence to say that Haig didn’t care about his men, I think that yes he may have done a few things wrong but not so much as to inherit a name like Butcher.

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