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View On Douglas Haig Throughout The 20th Century History Class Essay

9081 words - 37 pages

“The man who never alters his opinions is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” - William Blake

Introduction:
World war 1, known as the Great war, was a European based war which was catalysed by several previous crises, fought between the Triple Entente (allies) and Triple Alliance. Many thought this “skirmish” would be over in months, surely by christmas[1]. The idea of war had been sparked and soon the flames grew into “armies mobilizing, war being declared, and dreadnoughts steaming to sea”[2]. What eventuated from this was in fact a four year long battle, lasting from 28 Jul 1914 – 11 Nov 1918. Largely, this was due to the huge influx of massive technological advancements, not only on land and in the sea, but in fact under the ocean and in the sky[3]. Consequently, underestimation from both sides prolonged this war, leading to the then new idea of trench warfare, to avoid the barrage of the newly invented machine gun. Thus, unprecedented casualties littered both fronts of the war as outdated strategy and inceptive naive asspirations from both general and soldier were a common theme. The purpose of this assignment is to understand that historians can influence a particular event over the days, months, decades or even centuries after the event has taken place. There is enough historical evidence of most occurrences throughout the 20th century to justify events as being both successful or unsuccessful. We as readers can ultimately be swayed to one side and pick up a subconscious bias during such instances and it is important to at first objectively look at the information and then finally subjectively conclude our own personal opinion of the event(s). In this particular case, we look at the military career of Field Marshall Douglas Haig and his ability, or lack there of, in leading the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front - through such battles as the Somme and Ypres, in Flanders - from late 1915 until the end of the war in 1918.

Strategy - Generals:
There was a range of lethal technological advancements throughout the fours years of world war 1, such as the machine gun, capable of speeds up to 600 rounds per minute - which if arranged in a parallel position and pointed diagonally towards each other could create a crossfire which is utterly devastating to artillery - poison gases, aircraft and massive advancements in artillery effectiveness. During world war one there was not one but three major paradigm shifts from the norm of battle, able to be summed up under three main key ideas[4]. The first being the transition from human/animal labour to mechanical power and so such things as the idea of cavalry forces was one that soon faded, a tactic that Haig was very familiar with. The second being aircraft, changing the scape of the battlefield...

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