Was Earl Douglas Haig The Butcher Of The Somme Essay

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Haig envisioned a vital role for the horse in his masterpiece, the Somme offensive.

That battle is generally, and incorrectly, remembered as one decided through attrition.

But Douglas Haig may be the great exception to this rule.

First, because he still has defenders who—in spite of those many graveyards and inconclusive, costly battles—would claim he was not in fact an unsuccessful commander.

To the extent this is true, they can be excused, as they can’t possibly have any direct experience of the next war.

But Haig continued to believe in the cavalry long after the war that he was actually fighting—World War I—had proven mounted soldiers absurdly vulnerable and obsolete..pass_color_to_child_links a.u-inline.u-margin-left--xs.u-margin-right--sm.u-padding-left--xs.u-padding-right--xs.u-absolute.u-absolute--center.u-width--100.u-flex-align-self--center.u-flex-justify--between.u-serif-font-main--regular.js-wf-loaded .u-serif-font-main--regular.amp-page .u-serif-font-main--regular.u-border-radius--ellipse.u-hover-bg--black-transparent.web_page .u-hover-bg--black-transparent:hover. Content Header .feed_item_answer_user.js-wf-loaded . Visiting the Somme battlefield in northern France is largely a matter of going from one Commonwealth Graves Commission cemetery to another.The graveyards are everywhere, some of them very small, comprising only a handful of white Portland marble stones, many bearing the inscription, A Soldier of the Great War / Known unto God.Then–BEF commander Sir John French was exhausted, demoralized and lacked confidence in himself and that of his immediate subordinates.He was replaced by Haig, who was, in the words of Winston Churchill, “first officer of the British Army.He was as sure of himself at the head of the British army as a country gentleman on the soil which his ancestors had trod for generations and to whose cultivation he had devoted his life.” The “country gentleman” meme is especially apt in Haig’s case.The man had a thing for horses, which is understandable in one who had been a cavalry officer during the infancy of the internal combustion engine.At the end of the war, after all, the army he commanded—and had almost ruined—was, if not victorious, then plainly on the winning side.Still, at the other extreme, one can argue persuasively that Haig did not merely fail to achieve his stated objectives in the great battles of the Somme and Ypres.

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