Was General Haig the Butcher of the Somme? Essay


General Haig’s rubric of ‘butcher of the Somme’ originated after the First World War. when. due to a big figure of casualties Britain suffered from the war and largely the Somme. The people of Britain wanted person to fault. This was a get bying mechanism in which people could cover with the loss of the ‘lost generation’ . Feild Marshall Haig has frequently been called the meatman of the Somme because 20000 soldiers died on the first twenty-four hours of the conflict. and a farther 40000 were injured. The conflict of the Somme was one of the 6 blodiest conflicts of universe war one. and resulted in more British dead than any conflict before it. One Canadian Battalion lost 700 out of 850 work forces in the conflict of the Somme.

Narratives started to make place of the heavy casulty losingss and the atrocious conditions n the trenches. However. some historiographers disagree and argue that Haig was non responsible for the human losingss. because his military methods were in line with the thoughts of the clip ( beginning 2. a book called Feild Marshall Haig written by Philip Warner an Historian ) . Death is a fact of war. Haig wrote ‘The state must be thought to bear losingss. No sum of accomplishment on the portion of the commanding officers. no preparation nevertheless good. no high quality of weaponries and ammo will enable triumphs to be won without the forfeit of men’s lives. The state must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists.

The program of onslaught.

Haig’s program of onslaught at the conflict of the Somme was the barrage of the German trenches. Haig has been blamed for the failing of the program because the British naval forces could hold been used to bomb the Germans from the West. Some argue that Haig can non be held responsible for the program neglecting because his methods were right and in 1916 he said ‘the machine gun is a much over-rated weapon’ . Besides. the English bombarded the enemy front line with shells for 6 yearss.

This should hold been plenty to destruct the German front line. But they didn’t know that the Germans had dug deep dugouts and so they were protected from the English gunshot. Overall. I think he was responsible for the failure of the program because he told the military personnels a prevarication about the machine gun to acquire them to pelt the German trenches and because of this they hadn’t gained in a months contending as they had expected to derive in the first twosome of hours ( A personal memoir written by Winston Churchill MP in August 1916 ) .

The barbed wire.

General Haig said that the German barbed wire ‘has ne’er been so good cut non the heavy weapon readying so thorough’ . He was blamed for people acquiring caught in the barbed wire because he had said to them that because it was so good cut that they could travel in it easy and non acquire caught on it. Some argue that he can’t be held responsible for the barbed wire because it was merely a anticipation was what the barbed wire was like.

Overall. I think that Haig was responsible for this because from an interview with private George Coppard. who survived the conflict of the Somme. ‘Hundreds of dead were strung out ( on the biting wire ) like wreckage washed up to a height H2O grade. Quite as many died on the enemy wire as on the land … It was clear that there were no spreads in the wire at the clip of onslaught. The Germans must hold been reenforcing the wire for months. It was so thick that daytime could hardly be seen through it…’ . So I think that General Haig was realiable for the biting wire as he had lied to his military personnels about it.

Opinions of the conflict.

Opinion was and is still divided about Haig’s duty. For illustration family’s saw the soldiers as heroes that fought and died in the conflict of the Somme. However. he wasn’t at the front line significance that he didn’t see what was go oning and sent the work forces to there decease because he didn’t know what they were up against. One such sentiment is expressed in beginning 1. The beginning suggests that it was all incorrect because Haig wasn’t on the front line and didn’t see what the work forces were up against. They couldn’t make any land because of the barbed wire. This beginning argues that although Haig might hold been seen a success in beginning 2 he wasn’t because he had put 1000s of men’s lives at hazard and besides taking to decease. This beginning is dependable because we have to anticipate that Wiston Churchill MP was right and by the expression of all of the deceases in the first few hours of the conflict of the Somme he was right. Besides. this beginning is dependable because Winston Churchill was a really trusty MP and people looked up to him.

Was Haig the right adult male for the occupation?

Politicians began to inquire if Haig’s attack was working. they accepted the force per unit area had been lifted at Verdun but they were concerned about the heavy casualty losingss. However. on the other side trench public assistance was a new sort of contending. different from the last war that Haig had fought in. ( the Sus scrofa war was 15 old ages before ) . No one knew how to win a wr like this ( deadlock ) so the generals fell back on old thoughts successfully used in other wars. Beginning 2 supports the fact that Haig was a good leader and general. It suggests that if a successful general wins wars. so Haig must be a good general. It besides supports that Haig’s methods were in line with the thoughts of the clip. It isn’t realiable because Philip Warner was/is merely a historiographer so he doesn’t cognize what was traveling on at the clip of the conflict of the Somme and we don’t cognize if where he found the information from was a dependable beginning. Besides. we don’t cognize if the topographic point where he found the information from was biased or non biased.

Could Haig have done things otherwise?

One side of the statement thinks that Haig could hold done things otherwise. For illustration as a general. Haig had ne’er visited the front line so Haig could hold attacked without the barrage as this warned the Germans that the British were approximately to assail. Alternatively of fast moving ridges of foot soldiers traveling over the top. squads of machine artillerymans could hold been used to assail the weak points in the German trench saystem. When Haig realised the full frontlet onslaughts weren’t working he could hold stopped so but didn’t. The German progress had already been halted. Written in 1988 in a life of Haig by Gerard De Groot. ‘While Haig slept in a cozy bed in a quite state chateau and dined in the best nutrient available. his work forces muddy. noisy trenches sharing their tough beef. and biscuits with large. bloated rats.

It seemingly did non trouble oneself Haig that his war was so much more comfy than that of the work forces he commanded. There was besides a missive in the Daily Telegraph 1916 – ‘We are easy but certainly killing off the best of the male population of these islands. Can we afford to travel on paying the same kind of monetary value for the same kind of hurting? ’ . On the other side of the statement people think that Haig couldn’t have done things otherwise because Haig felt pressured by the Gallic general to maintain the combat traveling. because the Gallic military personnels were in an ‘awful’ province. In my sentiment I think that Haig could hold done things otherwise because he could hold at least been at the front line with his military personnels so they didn’t experience entirely.


To reason I think that general Marshall Haig was the ‘Butcher of the Somme’ because there were many human losingss because he wasn’t at the front line assisting and because he didn’t have a good program of onslaught. Most of the work forces died on no adult males land when they got caught on the barbed wire. The lone ground that that got caught in the barbed wire was because Haig had said that the barbed wire was cut neatly so that they wouldn’t acquire caught on it. Besides. Haig had given a false sentiment to the the soldiers household because they thought that they were heroic and were traveling to win.