Haig: Butcher of the Somme? Essay

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Does Sir Douglas Haig deserve the title “Butcher of the Somme”? Sir Douglas Haig is known in history under the title of the ‘Butcher of the Somme’ due to the significant number of casualties in the Battle of the Somme, which he caused as a result of being the field marshal that led the troops to war. However, it is arguable that he, indeed, may not deserve this title as there is plentiful evidence that proves so. Many believe that Haig definitely deserves the aforementioned title as there is abundant evidence that supports it. First of all, the main reason thousands refer to Haig as the ‘Butcher of the Somme’ is because that there were astronomical amounts of soldiers that lost their lives in this particular battle. In an interview with Private George Coppard, the private confirmed that “hundreds dead were strung out on the barbed wire like wreckage washed up on a high water mark”. Therefore, the root cause of this catastrophe was the guidance and leadership the soldiers were given; since Haig was the one in charge, people blame him for the loss. Further on that argument, the tactics Haig used were incompetent. When Haig discovered that the tactics he had prepared were ineffective and that there were numerous casualties, he chose not to change tactics, and instead kept using the faulty ones. According to the textbook, Haig “knew about the German dug-outs and the masses of barbed wire in front of them” but decided on using tactics that, he was aware of, may not work. This just proves that Haig was an incredibly atrocious leader as, since he was the highest rank of officer in the British army – field marshal, he was the only person who had the authority to change the tactics but resisted to and instead led his troops into their doom by knowing his tactics would not function properly but chose not to change them. As a result of this, thousands of men lost
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