General Douglas Haig Viewed As History Essay

The issue of Douglas Haig ‘s function as a general on the Western Front, during the Battle of the Somme in 1916, has been exhaustively questioned by many historiographers to day of the month. Through different positions and sentiments, Haig ‘s accomplishments have been both to a great extent celebrated and criticised. Therefore he has been viewed as both ‘Butcher of the Somme ‘ and the ‘Architect of Victory ‘ , much grounds back uping both statements. However the bulk of people seem to favor the thought of Haig being a merciless leader, which is wholly apprehensible. For case, the Battle of the Somme enormously affected about every individual in Britain, many losing household members. For them, it would hold been easy to fault the British losingss entirely on General Haig, and many did merely that. However many people saw him as a extremely gifted soldier and leader, and at that place was a good side to Haig, for illustration, he did pull off to finally have on down the German ground forces, and played a portion in the consequence of World War 1. Therefore this controversial issue will possibly be continually debated.

The Battle of the Somme was a mostly Scots conflict, with three Scots divisions take parting. This besides applied to Douglas Haig, who was born in Edinburgh and was commanding officer in head. He was blamed for the tremendous slaughter of the Battle of the Somme, during which there were around 60,000 British casualties on merely the first twenty-four hours, a tierce of which were killed. This alone is grounds plenty for a batch of people of Haig ‘s failures as a general. However, many of the defects in Haig ‘s leading of the Battle of the Somme stemmed from the fact that he was commanding a group of 60 divisions, when the usual figure was merely six. This shows the utmost fortunes under which Douglas Haig was commanding at the Battle of the Somme.

The Battle of the Somme was a important event in history ; this is chiefly due to the absurd sum of deceases, even though they were ‘no larger than were to be expected ‘ , nevertheless some people find mistake in the fact that Haig kept the ground forces contending even when he became cognizant of the uninterrupted tallness of casualty figures. Just like any general, Haig strove for success, nevertheless he had a major mistake: he was highly optimistic, and invariably believed that the German ground forces was close to give uping, hence believing that a win was besides near. This positive personality is shown by a quotation mark which Douglas Haig himself said at the beginning of the war, ‘The state of affairs is ne’er so good or so bad as first studies indicate ‘ . However, even though he felt that his ground forces was to the full capable of get the better ofing the Germans, he was n’t right, in fact, Haig ‘s ground forces did n’t hold the immense sum of soldiers, which the German ground forces were able to take advantage of this clearly shows that his marks were impossibly to accomplish, he was merely excessively ambitious. Haig was besides to a great extent criticised for the pathetic length of the conflict, this was merely because it could hold been ended much sooner than it was, and this would hold even prevented Britain in invariably happening mistake in Haig ‘s leading accomplishments. The chief ground that Haig even allowed the conflict to go on because he wished to unbend his trenches, as this would hold had a great consequence on his ground forces ‘s onslaughts. However Haig was besides criticised for leting the British ground forces to contend in the appalling conditions at the clip of the Somme, although technically he can non take the full incrimination for this determination as the thought really came from the Gallic ground forces officer.

Haig was surely one to overrule his ground forces commanding officers, although this is apprehensible, as if he found their advice questionable so he had to swear himself to do the right determination entirely. However at the beginning of the conflict of the Somme, Haig was overruled himself, by the authoritiess of Britain and France, they asked Haig to assail the German ground forces at that point in clip, but Haig did n’t hold this was because he felt that his ground forcess were n’t ready ; nevertheless his statement was n’t effectual, hence he was ignored. Haig understood that he would hold to be after an onslaught rapidly, because if he took excessively much clip to make so so the confederation which stopped the Gallic from assailing the British could be put in hazard, and that was a hazard that Haig could n’t afford to take.

At the start of the conflict, the British ground forces looked to hold no opportunity in get the better ofing the German ground forces, in fact, Official History wrote that the Somme was the first clip that the ‘…British line been held with so few work forces and so few guns… ‘ . The British ground forces were besides overwhelmed by the power of the Germans and after merely one twenty-four hours of contending there were an tremendous figure of casualties, most of them due to ‘bite and keep onslaughts ‘ . In the beginning, Haig was badly short of forces and, seeking to happen a solution, ended up holding to go forth Gough ‘s 12 divisions entirely to support 42 stat mis of the forepart, this resulted in some holding really few soldiers. Haig could hold managed the Somme better, nevertheless by the terminal of the conflict, the British were accomplishing success against the Germans and finally the Germans did give up, in fact the German General Ludendorff references in his autobiography, My war memories, ‘As a consequence of the Somme we were wholly exhausted on the Western Front ‘ .

When sing Haig ‘s accomplishment as an ground forces commanding officer it has to be remembered that the state of affairs at the Battle of the Somme was highly alone, Haig was managing 10 times the sum of forces, most of whom were larning the tactics of war as they went along. After the conflict ended Haig was compared to other generals who sent 100s of soldiers to their deceases, he was viewed as detached and invariably doing atrocious determinations. Although Haig ‘s sentiment of the turnout of the war was ne’er made clear, it was suggested that he agreed with the consequence, as in 1919, Haig defended the fact that the Germans were offered a colony at the terminal of the war.

The relationship between Douglas Haig and David Lloyd George was a cause of major struggle and had an overwhelming consequence on Haig ‘s repute. Lloyd George was clear in the fact that he had no trust or liking for Haig, particularly during the Somme, when he did n’t understand why Haig was allowed the high casualty rates to go on, particularly since this did n’t give any advantage to the British. He saw Haig merely as a adult male with no intelligence, and no apprehension, although he besides ne’er replaced him, or even stood up to him. However, it was no secret that a war was waged between Haig and Lloyd George. An illustration of the tenseness between these characters was on the 1st September, when Haig received a wire from Henry Wilson, marked ‘personal ‘ , this carried a warning, that Haig was to halt preventable casualties during the conflict of the Somme. The clear ground for the wire was for the protection of Lloyd George ; nevertheless Haig took it that he could strike the Hindenburg line if he felt the demand to make so. The tenseness between them grew when Lloyd George published his war memoirs, in which he unleashed an onslaught on Haig, both, merely as a adult male and as portion of the ground forces. This was one of the really small books that truly cause pandemonium for an of import figures reputation, particularly since when it became available, Haig had already passed and hence he could n’t even protect his ain repute.

However Lloyd George is n’t the lone politician that Haig had a important relationship with, Haig and Winston Churchill besides had a slightly interesting relationship, in fact Haig helped out Churchill in the authorship of his book, The World Crisis, by directing him parts of his personal journals which he kept during the war. The ground that this is interesting is the fact that Churchill frequently criticised Haig, particularly as a General during the war. However, Churchill did admit that when reexamining the war he began to believe ‘a good trade better if Haig than I did at the clip ‘ . Unlike Lloyd George, Churchill felt that it would be impossible to happen every bit good a general as Haig was to replace him. Haig did n’t mind some unfavorable judgment from Churchill in his book, but it was that unfavorable judgment which strongly effected Haig ‘s repute. The struggle between these politicians and Haig meant that Haig had to contend the war against non merely the Germans, but besides those politicians.

It was n’t merely Churchill ‘s authorship that affected Haig ‘s repute though ; there were many different memoirs and histories released after the war, by many different people, for illustration, David Lloyd George, Churchill and Gough. However when these records were released Haig mentioned to Foch that he could n’t let go of a book on the war, as it was ‘too shortly to state the truth ‘ . If he had written them nevertheless, they would hold non merely been successful, but would hold likely heightened his repute. However Haig ‘s Final Dispatch, published in 1919 really had merely a little consequence on the sentiments of the war. Yet, decennaries subsequently, a revisionist historiographer, John Terraine revised these statements and tried to re-build Haig ‘s repute. In fact, Terraine ‘s ‘Douglas Haig: An Educated Soldier ‘ strongly defended Haig ‘s repute, his chief point being that it was Haig who finally wore down the German ground forces. However historian, John Laffin, has the opposite sentiment, he feels as though Haig should be accused because of his ‘wilful bloopers and wicked abattoir ‘ . This shows clear statement between the two recent historiographers, both seeking to dispute Haig ‘s repute. Terraine passed off in 2003, nevertheless before his decease, he did pull off to alter the manner that some people saw Douglas Haig, and he ‘restored Haig to the place of serious commanding officer ‘ . Haig was criticised and celebrated by different historiographers, few of all time looking at both sides of things.

Haig ‘s repute was heightened the most due to his input in assisting and observing veterans. Haig devoted a big portion of his life, after the war, to charity events and war-memorials. This shows that people were even somewhat incorrect about the fact that he did n’t care about the immature work forces contending in the war. For illustration, in 1922, Haig travelled to Swansea and 4000 people turned out to see him put a rock for the metropolis commemoration, and in 1925, the Haigs toured Canada ; some 10,000 people came to see Haig put a rock on a empty tomb in Toronto. Besides, in Glasgow, in 1924, Haig revealed a memorial. These yearss ‘ people may be shocked to happen out that in 1925 Haig opened the Newfoundland Memorial Park ; this was where the 1st Newfoundland onslaught took topographic point in 1916. The fact that Haig was sought after to transport out the ceremonial by the authorities, shows that even though there is changeless statement over Douglas Haig ‘s repute, at this clip he must hold been extremely thought of. This is why Haig was overwhelmed with immense sums of petitions to uncover all kinds of different commemorations. Haig ‘s addresss at these events were ne’er wholly impersonal, the issues of forfeit and the demands of ex-soldiers were invariably highlighted. This made his repute better to a batch of people, because they felt as if he was more lovingness.

In the early 1920s Haig began to type up his wartime journal, he wished for this to be published after his decease. In 1928 a line of war journals and memoirs began being published, some assailing Haig ‘s repute earnestly, nevertheless Haig was n’t alive to see this, as on the 29th January 1928, Douglas Haig died of a bosom onslaught. This decease came as a daze to Britain, many people in incredulity. Haig ‘s married woman believed that the ‘strain of wartime bid had worn out his bosom ‘ , and the media began to publish headlines, ‘field marshal a war victim ‘ , Haig was treated merely like any soldier who had fought in the war, and he excessively was seen as a war casualty.

The existent surprise after Haig ‘s decease was the extent to which the populace mourned him ; his decease was treated much more gracefully than any other British general. Therefore his casket was escorted by the two future male monarchs of England, demoing that he was evidently an of import member of the state, even though some people viewed him as a indurate meatman. This was reinforced because St Pauls, Wren ‘s great cathedral was suggested as where Haig would be buried and if he had been so he ‘d hold been buried with Wellington and Nelson, two heroes from WW1, nevertheless Haig had wanted to be buried at place, in Edinburgh, hence he organic structure was sent north. A crowd of people waited for him to get, to pay their respects. Finally he was buried in the evidences of Dryburgh Abbey. However the event of his decease merely brought more struggle to the statement of Haig ‘s repute. Again, Haig ‘s repute plummeted.

Therefore Haig ‘s repute is invariably debated, traveling from one extreme to the other, hardly of all time equilibrating, or being just to the actions of Haig. However much statement is presented in favor of Haig, the grounds is overpowered by the casualty figures of the conflict of the Somme, by Churchill ‘s unfavorable judgments of Haig and by the tenseness in Haig ‘s relationship with David Lloyd George, these are the facts people ca n’t merely bury and therefore the points which consequence Haig ‘s repute. Haig ‘s repute was most significantly analysed through memoirs and histories, for illustration of Churchill, Lloyd George, Gough and Terraine, although his repute took a terrible hit after his decease besides. It ‘s clear that Haig will everlastingly be viewed as heartless general, which is a just opinion, sing the fact that he was the general in charge during the Battle of the Somme, and allowed the horrific casualty figures to show, and the fact that he allow the conflict go on for much longer than it should hold, for personal or no addition, and that ‘s why Douglas Haig will everlastingly be condemned as ‘Butcher of the Somme ‘ .