Was Douglas Haig The Butcher Of The Somme Essay

To some, he will always be “the man who won the war”; to others, he remains “The Butcher”.

A century has passed since Sir Douglas Haig was appointed commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force, but controversy still rages about the man who led our troops into the slaughter of Verdun, Passchendale and The Somme.

It was on December 19, 1915, that Haig replaced Sir John French following the devastating British defeat at the bloody Battle of Loos.

The battle, in September 1915, was the then biggest attack mounted by the BEF and the first time the Allies had used poison gas .

In the first four hours, 12 battalions made up of 10,000 men suffered a staggering 8,000 casualties – and the number of British casualties at the end of the main attack stood at over a quarter of a million (285,107).

It was in this battle, on September 25, that Birmingham-born Arthur Vickers won his Victoria Cross while fighting with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Field Marshall French’s tactics had already been heavily criticised, but the disastrous losses at Loos proved the final straw and was unceremoniously replaced.

Haig was now the commander of all British divisions across the Western Front until the conflict ended in the Allies’ favour at the Armistice of November 1918.

But as well as leading the 100 Days Offensive , which led to the Allied victory, he also marched the British forces into some of the most devastating, “epic” and bloody battle.

The Somme alone resulted in one of the highest casualties in British military history, and saw Haig dubbed “The Butcher of the Somme”.

Prime Minister David Lloyd George would later admit that he had wondered whether he should have resigned rather than allow Haig to pursue his strategy.

Haig was heavily criticised by soldiers at the time and in the aftermath of the Great War for issuing orders that led to excessive British deaths and casualties.

Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill was also an outspoken opponent of the offensive policy deployed, describing the Somme as “a welter of slaughter”.

He also suggested that a greater use tanks would have been a better tactic to block enemy fire than the “breasts of brave men”.

But on the flipside others say that the high casualties were a consequence of the tactical and strategic realities, and restrictions, of the time.

And it was Haig’s post war reputation as “The man who won the war” that saw his funeral in 1928 declared a day of national mourning and a huge state occasion.

* What do you think? Did Haig deserve the title of “Butcher Haig” – or was he a war hero? Email justine.halifax@trinitymirror.com with your thoughts.

Does General Haig Deserve to Be Remembered 'The Butcher of the Somme'?

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Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig (19 June 1861 – 29 January 1928) was a senior commander in the First World War (WWI), and perhaps one of the most notable figures in British Military history. Although he served as the commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from 1915 to the end of the war – which was one of the greatest victories in Britain’s military history – the involvement during the Battle of the Somme, lead him to become one of the most criticized Commanders in the WWI. The Battle of the Somme is the battle with one of the highest casualties in Britain military history, alongside with the highest single casualties in the whole history of British military.

General Haig was the commander of the BEF in the battle.

Some of…show more content…

Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig (19 June 1861 – 29 January 1928) was a senior commander in the First World War (WWI), and perhaps one of the most notable figures in British Military history. Although he served as the commander of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) from 1915 to the end of the war – which was one of the greatest victories in Britain’s military history – the involvement during the Battle of the Somme, lead him to become one of the most criticized Commanders in the WWI. The Battle of the Somme is the battle with one of the highest casualties in Britain military history, alongside with the highest single casualties in the whole history of British military.

General Haig was the commander of the BEF in the battle.

Some of the British regard the man who led Britain’s biggest-ever army to one of the most important victories to Britain as a national hero. However since the 1960s, some people started to call Haig “Butcher Haig” or “butcher of the Somme” who simply didn’t care how many soldiers were killed to accomplish an objective that could be far more less than a battle should be. Nevertheless, does General Haig deserve to be remembered as ‘the butcher of the Somme’? This essay will mainly focus on the reasons of why and why not Haig deserve the nickname ‘butcher Haig’ or ‘butcher of the Somme’, and will make a conclusion of does Haig may or may not be accused wrongly after all.

The Battle of the Somme is arguably one of the most horrible battles in the

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