The First world war – source questions on Field Marshall Haig

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Source B and C are both very different extracts, both have their elements of trustworthiness and of doubt.

Source B for example was written during the war, before and after the battle of the Somme. Where as source C was written many years after the event, giving source B slightly more respectability, as it might be a more accurate reflection of events. In saying that though, source C is written by a private, who more than likely had first hand experience of the battle, it is therefore a first hand account.Source B is written by General Haig he was not involved first hand in the battle, but was informed of the nature of the battle and the outcome, it is possible that Haig might have been informed poorly or was generalizing some what.

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Source C might also; possibly have been at a specific area of the battle, in which it did not go to plan, giving a reason for the contradiction of Haig’s source. It is also not clear what the intent of Haig’s report was, whether it was a diary, Haig’s real opinion or whether it might have been written to boost the morale of his troops, as a form of propaganda. In which case Source C would be considered more trustworthy.Answer C:Both sources D and E either mention or imply, General Haig, but neither refers to the Battle of The Somme directly.

Source D mentions Haig’s name, and source E implies the naivety of a certain general in cartoon form, implying Haig. Both sources have their uses to historians studying Haig, and the Battle of The Somme, as both sources express an opinion about Haig and the Somme, which is not entirely without use, as they both, raise issues about Haig as a general. Source D is a piece of comedy and its real purpose is to amuse an audience not inform historians on the nature of Haig and the Somme. Behind all the laughs, the point being made is that Haig’s proposal of the imminent Battle of the Somme, and the way it will be carried out is fundamentally wrong.

Source E’s point is that battles work well in practice, but when it comes to the real thing, and there is no general to make sure things run accordingly, things therefore go wrong. It too is useful as it was published in 1917 closer to the time of the event, and is not supposed to be such a comical source as source D. Still though it cannot be taken too seriously or taken as evidence as it is a cartoon. Both sources have a little use to historians studying Haig and The Somme.

Answer D:Sources G and H do not necessarily prove that source F is Wrong. They maybe suggesting that source F is Incorrect and have a different opinion on Haig and the battle of the Somme, but do not prove source F wrong. Source G is Taken from a German book, about the First World War and as the enemy, they are going to have a very different opinion to the allies. They are also not going to make the enemy sound bad after loosing the battle, and are going to have their own interpretation on how they lost the battle.

Source H is Written by a British general he is going to have his own opinions about the war, as it states that he fought in the war, therefore he will have had first hand experience.As a general he would be aware of the of the problems of being a general and might be writing with the benefit of hindsight and the knowledge that overall the Somme and Haig’s leader ship were influential in winning the war. However, what the general says could be thought of as wrong, quote “Haig’s armies, which had complete confidence in the leadership of their commander Haig.” It is clear from other sources and from my contextual knowledge that many soldiers had completely the opposite opinion and did not have any confidence in the leadership of their commander Haig.

Source G also comes from the official history of the First World War, giving it more respectability. Source F the source which both G and H contradict, comes from the, “British Butchers and Bunglers of World War.” Also has no author. Therefore making it more of an opinion than something, which could be used as evidence.

Answer E:Sources J and I differ so dramatically primarily because of the time scale involved between the two extracts. Source I was written after the battle in 1916, after he had visited the area. It is a very brief statement on the battle overall, it could be said that source I is not his real opinion and is based upon information that has been reported to him by generals, or that possibly the sources use was to raise morale amongst soldiers and the public. Lloyd George has also not had first hand experience of the battle, as he only visited the battlefield, the source is therefore not a true account of event.

Source J on the other hand is written in the 1930’s much later, here Lloyd George is writing the source with the benefit of hindsight, and is written as a memoir. His opinion has totally changed in this source, possibly because it is a memoir and it is a true reflection of the events of the Somme, and is his real opinion. Hindsight is an important factor, as over a period of time discussing the Battle with others his opinion might have changed, he now believed that overall the Battle of the Somme was pointless a waste of lives.Answer F:The sources in terms of those, which are pro Haig and those, which are against Haig, support the view that Haig was wrong.

As six sources suggest this and four support Haig. That is the conclusion all the sources come to. However, it is clear from an in-depth reading and studying of the sources that this is not entirely convincing. For example, there can be as many sources favoring Haig as you like or as many against him, but this does not necessarily prove that, “Haig was an uncaring general who sacrificed his soldiers for no good reason.

” There was a very good reason for Haig sending men to the front and that was to try to win the war.Source A for example is against Haig, even though written by Haig, it says “The nation must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists” and “Victories to be won without the sacrifice of men’s lives.” Though Haig here is implying that a lot of soldiers will perish, it does not mention that he is an uncaring general. He is saying that it is a necessity that men are sacrificed other wise battles will not be won.

Source C is another source against Haig, although primarily the source is written to tell people how bad the battle was and how poorly planned the attack was, “How did the planners imagine that tummies would get through the wire.”It does not prove Haig was an uncaring general, and does not justify that Haig sacrificed his men for no good reason. The source is suggesting though that Haig was unprepared for the Battle and did not know what his soldiers would face. However, it is known as a fact, from contextual knowledge that Haig prepared thoroughly for all battles and knew exactly what his soldiers would face.

Source D is one of the two sources, which suggests that Haig was Uncaring and sacrificed soldiers for no good reason. This is clear from the last speech bubble, which says, “You mean are we all going to get killed?” -“Yes. Clearly Field Marshall Haig is about to make yet another giant effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.” Although the source has some respectability its purpose is to entertain people not to be a reliable historical source therefore it cannot be taken too seriously.

Source F is the other source, which really suggests that Haig was Uncaring and sacrificed men for no reason. However, this too has unreliability’s about it. Primarily the source comes from, “The British Bunglers of War” book. The purpose of this book is to make a bad example of generals like Haig and give them a bad name.

In saying that it is more reliable than source, D because it is based upon historical evidence, and is not designed as an outright comedy source.Source E is also against Haig, and questions his ability as a general but the source is similar to D in the respect that its purpose is to entertain an audience because it is a cartoon, therefore it to cannot be taken too seriously. Nevertheless, there is an element of truth in what is being said.Source J similarly to the other sources has its problems.

It is contradicted by the same man who wrote it in the previous source, source I. In source, I Lloyd George supports Haig but in source J, he is against Haig. Source J does not prove that Haig was uncaring and did not care for the lives of his men.All the sources which are against Haig, do not prove that was Haig uncaring, and did not care for the lives of his men.

Only two sources state that Haig was uncaring, but they are not totally trust worthy. The other four against Haig, cannot be fully trusted either and the sources in favor of Haig support him.The sources do support the view that “Haig was an uncaring general who sacrificed the lives of his men for no good reason.” Quite a long way, but none of the sources against Haig prove him this.

To prove him such a man would involve the use of hard evidence in the form of facts, or examples of Hag blatantly showing himself to be uncaring and a poor general.

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