Coursework: Haig and the Somme
a). 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...