Haig And The Somme, Gcse Coursework Questions.

4894 words - 20 pages

Coursework: Haig and the Sommea). Study Sources A and B:How far does Source A prove that Haig did not care about the lives of his men?Source A concerns Haig's views on the high amount of casualties he believed were inevitable during the course of the war. The paragraph shows that Haig believed that the deaths of his men were in no way connected to the implications of his own actions, and does not appear concerned over the prospect of such appalling casualties that were evident in the Battle of the Somme during 1916. The extract shows that Haig did not take responsibility for the fate of his men, and seemed prepared to accept their deaths as a certainty rather than trying to rectify the situation. This clearly illustrates Haig's incompetence and incapability, and shows that he viewed his soldiers as little more than pawns in his grand scheme. Although he refers to the seemingly unavoidable high-casualty lists as 'sacrifices' on his men's behalf, this attempt to glorify death does not justify his display of negligence.The diary entries in Source B do little to promote Haig as a caring and cometant commander. Although he shows slight concern for the welfare of his soldiers, his optimism may be the result of the awareness that his diaries could potentially become sources of historic reference in judging his character, in future years. However, the fact that he believed that his plans would prove successful show that he did not intentionally send his men to be slaughtered. Nevertheless this fact may again be the result of his false optimism, or yet another account of Haig's incapability as a General. Indeed, the extent to which to which Haig is falsely informed about the progress made on the first day of the Somme shows that he was clearly ignorant of the feelings and circumstances concerning his men.Source A clearly shows that Haig showed little concern over the welfare of his men and although Source B is less condemning, overall it also supports the concept that Haig was an inept and uncaring commander.b). Study Sources B and C:Which one of these two sources do you trust more?Source B was written by Haig, who as commander-in-chief of the British army would have had access to information concerning the progress of the Battle of the Somme. As commander, his views would represent a wide perspective of the front line, and overall analysis of the fighting, since his role as General required information from every aspect of the battle. However, at such a demanding rank, Haig was widely regarded as a figurehead, and his optimism was essential to motivate his subordinates, which as a result could invalidate what is stated in Source B.On the first day of the Somme, on July 1st 1916, Haig was deliberately informed with misleading information on the progress of the battle by his intelligence officer, Charteris. Haig was often perceived as a volatile and unpredictable person, so it is likely that he was misinformed in order to maintain his high-spirits and...

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