Field Marshal Sir. Douglas Haig. Butcher or Hero?

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Dr. Charles Sandbach
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One of the greatest debates for almost a century now has involved the conduct of the British Commander-in-Chief during the Great War, Field Marshal Sir. Douglas Haig.
Many commentators have referred to Haig as a 'butcher' who sent hundreds of thousands of men unnecessarily to their deaths. A large number of historians subscribe to this theory and savagely attack Haig as being responsible for a wholesale premeditated slaughter, however some historians are selective in their research often quoting from publications holding a certain bias.
I have examined the facts and statistics and reached an interesting conclusion that I have to admit is my own personal opinion, I would like to hear from students their thoughts on my calculated opinion and I would hope that it could possibly assist them in their studies.
Douglas Haig was very influential in determining his destiny of C-I-C of the British Army when appointed in December 1915. His predecessor Sir. John French had presided over the B.E.F in an ineffective campaign on the Western Front. Haig was very much aware of the strengths of the enemy, the formidable Imperial German Army and as a result adopted controversial and extremely agressive tactics against them.
The German Army was superior in equipment, tactical prowess of modern warfare and command structure than either the British or French armies. Haig knew this and maintained his stance of attack throughout the campaign. Haig never allowed the Germans to launch major offensives as he knew that defeat would have been the result. It is true to say that 'Operation Michael', Ludendorff's big push of 1918 was an exception, but by then the Germans were starving as a result of the British Naval blockade.
The Germans were masters of the defensive role, many historians have suggested that the Allies should have adopted similar tactics and consolidated their positions, disaster would have ensued. The Germans would have picked off the French in marauding attacks before smashing their lines. The French would have panicked and bolted to defend their capital, Paris. The British, including their new armies, colonial and empire troops would have been bulged into a pocket towards the north of the front to access channel ports, surrounded and defeated. Even if successes were made and the Germans driven back in places their massively superior defensive positions would have been intact and they would have repelled the Allies on open ground, all of that would have resulted in even higher casualties. The outcome? King George V would have had to sue for a peace with Kaiser Wilhelm, this would have been achieved. Much of the British Empire would have been lost to the Germans who would have ruthlessly exploited it's wealth to become the dominant world power. Europe would have been merely a series of German satellites, and Britain would have been reliant economically on Germany.
There is one outstanding point to make. If Haig was a butcher then why did the French who mobilised fewer men suffer far more casualties. The Germans who mobilised more but not significantly more suffered almost double the casualties of the British. I am not defending the horrendous loss of life in the Great War, I see Haig, the victor and the committed christian as a man who harboured that tremendous burden, his dour personality a mask, he didn't glorify himself as many writers state. Haig's losses were fewer, after the war he devoted himself to the welfare of the men who served under him and was instrumental in forming The British Legion. The poppies of rememberance Sunday bore his name on the petal. At the unveiling of his statue in 1937 on Whitehall, over 200,000 veterens marched past in salute to a man who as he openly admitted in the publication of his diaries was far from perfect, but who had the strength of character to administer decisions that no ordinary man could ever make.
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Sausage
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ooook :rolleyes:

Welcome to TSR anyways
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L i b
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Leaving a clear line space between your paragraphs would make your posts far more readible.

I would never claim Haig a butcher, but he was certainly very far from perfect. I suppose that is a flaw in which we all share though.

At the end of the day, I think he did as best he could by his country.
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mattwilson
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yeah well with respect this is a place for students, not to arrange online tutoring with middle aged men
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Dr. Charles Sandbach
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Matt Wilson. Copied from a short history book? Please be so kind as to say which one. Loser? With a Ph.D, somehow I don't think so. Carry on young man.
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hitman012
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(Original post by Dr. Charles Sandbach)
With a Ph.D, somehow I don't think so. Carry on young man.
Having a Ph.D doesn't preclude you from being a loser
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Dr. Charles Sandbach
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Hitman. Oh dear, you also suspect that I am a loser. The thanks I get for trying to encourage an intelligent debate is well...disappointing.
If I am a loser with a Ph.D let me tell you what the Ph.D has done for me. A four bedroom Villa in Spain with a swimming pool, A top of the range Mercedes, small yacht, directorships in two companies isn't bad for a start is it. Oh and by the way Hitman may I ask what you drive....a Citroen Saxo perhaps? Loser..have a nice life son.
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Jerby
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(Original post by Dr. Charles Sandbach)
Hitman. Oh dear, you also suspect that I am a loser. The thanks I get for trying to encourage an intelligent debate is well...disappointing.
If I am a loser with a Ph.D let me tell you what the Ph.D has done for me. A four bedroom Villa in Spain with a swimming pool, A top of the range Mercedes, small yacht, directorships in two companies isn't bad for a start is it. Oh and by the way Hitman may I ask what you drive....a Citroen Saxo perhaps? Loser..have a nice life son.
Me thinks the lady doth protests too much!
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