Douglas Haig

Douglas Haig


Douglas Haig: 'n naoorlogse rewolusionêr?

Gary Sheffield onthul hoe Douglas Haig ná die Eerste Wêreldoorlog 'n groot invloed by veterane behou het, wat sommige mense verkeerdelik laat vrees het dat hy 'n regse rewolusie kan lei.

Hierdie kompetisie is nou gesluit

Gepubliseer: 14 Oktober 2011 om 11:51

Veldmaarskalk sir Douglas Haig word vandag meestal onthou as die argetipiese 'donkie' wat tydens die Eerste Wêreldoorlog die 'leeus' van die Britse leër bevelvoer het. Soos baie historici getoon het, is dit 'n baie onregverdige karikatuur van sy militêre vermoëns, maar modderstokke. Eens was Haig egter 'n nasionale held. Toe hy in 1919 uit Frankryk terugkeer - nadat hy die Britse leër in 1918 op die westelike front tot 'n oorwinning gelei het - word hy beskou as die redder van sy land.

Opmerklik, in die nege lewensjare wat vir hom oorgebly het, het Haig nog meer gewild geraak as die kampioen van die regte van oud-dienspligtiges wat in 'n onversorgde naoorlogse samelewing aan die gang was. In die loop van die skryf Die hoofman: Douglas Haig en die Britse leër, het dit vir my duidelik geword dat Haig se rol as 'n kragtige ondersteuner van oorlogsveterane baie belangrik was, maar min waardeer word vandag.

In die algemene verkiesing van 1918 het premier David Lloyd George 'n 'geskikte land waarin helde kan woon' beloof. Die werklikheid was heel anders. Die naoorlogse politieke situasie was wisselvallig. Op die agtergrond dreig die Bolsjewistiese revolusie in Rusland. Tuis het die industriële werkersklas sy spiere gebuig. Teen die agtergrond van 'n moeilike ekonomiese klimaat en ernstige industriële onrus het die Arbeidersparty na vore getree as 'n ernstige magskandidaat, en die land het die enorme probleem ondervind om miljoene oud-dienspligtiges weer in die samelewing te integreer. Baie veterane was werkloos. Dit was erg genoeg vir die gestremdes, maar vir gestremdes wat sukkel met pensioene, was dit baie erger.

Op hierdie tydstip het Haig na vore getree as 'n uitgesproke voorstander van oud-dienspligtiges, en vanaf 1921 as president van die British Legion, die primêre veterane-organisasie, was hy 'n mag in die land. Sy aansien het sommige links en regs van die politieke spektrum onrustig gemaak. In 1922 het die Fascistiese party, onder leiding van 'n oud-soldaat, Benito Mussolini, in Italië voordeel getrek uit die ontevredenheid van veterane en die liberale regime omvergewerp.

Net so het die onstabiele naoorlogse Duitsland 'n groot aantal anti-demokratiese groepe van links en regs beleef, gegrond op oud-dienspligtiges. In 1923 raak generaal Erich Ludendorff, Haig se vernaamste teenstander aan die westelike front van 1916 tot 1918, betrokke by 'n aborsiewe staatsgreep in München, gelei deur 'n obskure ekskorporaal, Adolf Hitler. Sommige in die onstuimige 1920's het Brittanje gevra of Haig soortgelyke aspirasies het.

Die antwoord was beslis 'nee'. Haig se standpunte was matig en konserwatief, en hy was daartoe verbind om die konstitusionele monargie en parlementêre demokrasie te handhaaf. Dit was ook so dat hy was. Om die spel van kontrafaktuele geskiedenis te speel, as Haig politieke ambisies gehad het en homself aan die hoof van 'n politieke beweging van oorlogsveterane geplaas het, sou dit ten minste 'n destabiliserende uitwerking op die Britse politiek kon hê. Dit is nie buite die moontlikheidsgrense dat dit demokrasie kon ontspoor het nie.

Soos historici soos Martin Pugh getoon het, was demokrasie in die tussenoorlogse Brittanje brooser as wat dikwels geglo word. Wanhoop oor die mislukking van die stelsel om die land se probleme te hanteer, het tot groot simpatie gelei vir outoritêre groepe, waaronder Mosley se British Union of Fascists.

Daar is natuurlik baie redes waarom Brittanje nie op die anti-demokratiese pad gegaan het nie. Dat Douglas Haig sy gewig stewig gewerp het ten gunste van die status quo en dus as 'n krag vir politieke stabiliteit opgetree het, was een van hulle, tot dusver ongemerk deur die meeste historici. Sy aangebore sosiale en politieke konserwatisme was 'n faktor in sy besluit om by veterane se aangeleenthede betrokke te raak, maar dit was nie die belangrikste rede nie. In toespraak na toespraak spreek Haig van sy bewondering en dankbaarheid aan die mans wat onder hom in Frankryk en Vlaandere gedien het. Dit lyk asof hy nie uit 'n skuldgevoel opgetree het nie. Hy is eerder beïnvloed deur die paternalistiese etos van die Victoriaanse weermagoffisier. Sy werk met oud-dienspligtiges was 'n natuurlike uitbreiding van die credo of noblesse oblige, die voorreg het verantwoordelikheid meegebring wat sy professionele loopbaan beheer het.

Haig het sy standaard as die kampioen van die oorlogsveteraan in Julie 1919 geplant, met sy getuienis aan die parlementêre geselekteerde komitee oor pensioene. Hy het gesê dat hy 'ontsteld' was oor 'die staatsmetodes om voorsiening te maak vir gestremdes' voordat hy die mediese raad aanskakel en beweer dat sommige 'alle simpatie en vrygewigheid ontbreek ... ”.

Sy woede beledig sy reputasie as 'n emosionele, gereserveerde man en sy passie oor die onderwerp, gekoppel aan sy groot aansien, het 'n groot indruk op die lede van die Gekose Komitee gemaak. Hy het die eerbewyse wat die staat hom aangebied het, geweier totdat daar 'n meer vrygewige pensioenooreenkoms was, wat hom baie ongewild by die onderneming gemaak het. Teen Augustus 1919 het Haig geglo dat hy 'n beduidende oorwinning oor die regering oor pensioene behaal het, en dat hy 'n erediens en 'n toelaag van £ 100,000 aanvaar het.

Haig het in ondubbelsinnige taal die parameters uiteengesit waarbinne hy van plan was om te werk. Deur die nie-politieke, waarmee hy nie-party bedoel het, te beklemtoon, het hy kennis geneem dat hy geen persoonlike politieke ambisies het nie-anders as sy tydgenoot, veldmaarskalk sir Henry Wilson, wat slegs in partypolitiek oorgegaan het om vermoor te word in 1922. Wilson is deur historikus Bernard Ash beskryf as 'n "verlore diktator". Haig se aansien was van so 'n aard dat hy 'n baie meer geloofwaardige kandidaat was om 'n militêre party in die politiek te lei as hy dit sou verkies.

Dit is duidelik dat Haig die Legioen, wat ontstaan ​​het deur die samesmelting van mededingende veteraangroepe, as 'n instrument van sosiale beheer beskou het. In 'n privaat brief in 1920 het hy gesê dat hy hoop dat die konserwatiewe beamptesvereniging in 'n verenigde veterane -organisasie as 'n stabiliserende invloed op die meer linkse groepe sal optree.

In die geval dat die legioen nie die politieke mag en radikalisme van sommige liggame van kontinentale veterane gehad het nie. Die beeld van die uiters gewilde veldmaarskalk wat 'n 'leër' in vredestyd 'beveel', het sommige aan die linkerkant ontstel, wat gevrees het dat die legioen as 'n paramilitêre mag gebruik sou word om stakings te onderbreek en te onderdruk. Die legioen word veroordeel as Haig se 'White Guard' ('n verwysing na die Russiese burgeroorlog), 'Anti-Bolshie' en 'Fascisti'. Die linkerkant Daily Herald het 'n veldtog gevoer teen wat hy as 'n embrio-fascistiese beweging beskou het, met 'n kant-en-klare Britse Mussolini.

Gered van bloedvergieting

Sommige van die openbare uitsprake van Haig het die vrese van die linkses aangewakker. In 1926 verklaar hy in die openbaar dat Brittanje deur middel van veteraangroepe met 'bolsjewistiese neigings' in die Legioen 'gered is ... van bloedvergieting'. Net so het Haig apokalipties na die Algemene Staking van Mei 1926 verwys en beweer: “Daar was geen twyfel dat die Legioen die land van bloedvergieting en poging tot revolusie gered het deur die saak van wet en orde te ondersteun nie.”

Haig was duidelik onbewus van die teenstrydigheid in sy toespraak, en beweer dat die legioen gelyktydig onpartydig was en die status quo gehandhaaf het. Dit is duidelik dat hy die ongewoon oortuiging gehad het dat konserwatiewe standpunte dieselfde is as 'nie-polities'.

In werklikheid, hoewel die algemene staking nog lank nie 'n revolusionêre beweging was nie, het die legioen te midde daarvan 'n beroep gepubliseer waarin oud-dienspligtiges gevra word om die owerhede te ondersteun. Hierdie appèl was omstrede en verdelend, veral onder Legion -takke in werkersklasgebiede. Tog het Haig sy gewildheid in die Legioen gedurende sy leeftyd behou en nog meer ná sy dood in 1928.

Soos baie ander in die 1920's, bewonder Haig Benito Mussolini. Fascisme het in hierdie tyd 'n groot beroep op diegene wat ontnugter was met Brittanje na die oorlog. Nadat hy in Februarie 1926 die Italiaanse diktator ontmoet het, word daar gesê dat Haig sê: "Wat 'n man! ... Hy is regtig besonders."

Soos baie Britse bewonderaars, die bekendste Winston Churchill, verklein Haig die geweld in die fascistiese regime, met respek vir 'n sterk leier en die korporatiewe staat. Haig was bekommerd oor die ontwikkelinge in die naoorlogse politiek: die industriële militêre bolsjewisme en die bedreiging van die ryk. Hy skryf in 'n tyd van toenemende industriële strydlustigheid - die algemene staking was net 'n paar maande weg - en verklaar: 'Ons wil tans so iemand by die huis hê.' Maar dit sou net so misleidend wees om Haig as fundamenteel antidemokraties te bestempel as om Churchill met dieselfde kwas te teer.

Dit was nie net die politieke linkses wat bekommerd was oor die politieke aktiwiteite van die British Legion nie. In 1926 was daar 'n poging deur sommige takke om die "gebruik van die hele mag van die Legioen ... toe te staan ​​om elke parlementêre kandidaat teen te staan ​​wat teen die pensioenbeleid van die Legioen gestem het". Haig het 'n brief van die konserwatiewe regering ontvang waarin hy 'in die belang van die Britse legioen' aangemoedig word om die verantwoordelikes uit te nooi om selfbeheersing te beoefen. Haig het die regering gerusgestel dat die Grondwet van die Legioen nie sou verander nie en dat hy gevoel het dat die 'sterkte van die organisasie' teen sulke politisering gekant is. Sy reaksie toon dat die vrees dat hy die Britse legioen in 'n verregse paramilitêre milisie sou verander, baie wyd was.

Dit wil nie sê dat vermoedens van Haig heeltemal onredelik was nie. Sy voorganger as opperbevelhebber aan die westelike front, veldmaarskalk sir John French, was openlik polities en het in 1915 betrokke geraak by 'n sameswering met die pers wat 'n rol gespeel het in die val van Asquith se liberale regering.

Maar Haig was 'n ander soort man. Soos enige hoë bevelvoerder, het hy politieke aktiwiteite gehad terwyl hy met die regering te doen gehad het. Maar daar was baie duidelike lyne wat hy nie sou oorsteek nie. Sy opmerkings oor die Maurice -saak in 1918, toe 'n senior generaal Lloyd George in die openbaar daarvan beskuldig het dat hy (waarskynlik akkuraat) lieg, is betekenisvol: 'Dit is 'n ernstige fout. Niemand kan tegelyk 'n soldaat en 'n politikus wees nie. Ons soldate moet ons plig nakom en swyg en vertrou dat predikante ons beskerm. ”

Niemand betwyfel Haig se belangrikheid as militêre bevelvoerder nie, ten goede of siek. Historici het eindeloos oor sy generaalskap gedebatteer. Daarteenoor het sy naoorlogse posisie as die de facto leier van oorlogsveterane weinig aandag geniet.

In die 1920's was Haig 'n baie belangrike figuur op die naoorlogse politieke toneel, in 'n tyd van groot onstabiliteit, beide vir wat hy gedoen het, en miskien nog belangriker, wat hy nie gedoen het nie. Dit is tyd dat Douglas Haig se loopbaan na 1918 in die vroeë 20ste eeu in die breër geskiedenis van Brittanje geïntegreer is.

Gary Sheffield is professor in oorlogstudies aan die Universiteit van Birmingham. Sy boek Die hoofman: Douglas Haig en die Britse leër is in Augustus deur Aurum Press gepubliseer. Alle aanhalings is uit hierdie boek geneem.

Tydlyn: Douglas Haig

1861 Gebore in Edinburgh in 'n welgestelde whiskydistilleerfamilie. Hy het 'n elite -opleiding aan die Clifton College in Bristol en die Brasenose College in Oxford

1885 Nadat hy goed gevaar het in Sandhurst, word hy aangestel in die 7de (Queen's Own) Huzars, 'n slim kavalerieregiment. Later gaan hy saam met die regiment na Indië

1898 Na die personeelkollege, waar hy as 'n komende man beskou word, veg Haig in die Sudan -veldtog van Kitchener. Dit is sy eerste aktiewe diens

1899 Kort na die uitbreek van die Boereoorlog gaan Haig as stafoffisier na Suid -Afrika en beveel later troepe in die veld

1906 Begin omgang met die minister van buitelandse sake vir oorlog, RB Haldane. Haig is die regterhand van Haldane en voer noodsaaklike hervorming van die weermag uit

1914 Neem I Corps oorlog toe aan die westelike front. Hy verseël sy reputasie met 'n goeie vertoning in die verdediging tydens die eerste slag van Ieper

1915 Slaag sir John French in bevel van die Britse ekspedisiemag aan die westelike front. Sy eerste en mees omstrede stryd is die Somme (Julie - November 1916)

1918 Haig lei BEF tot oorwinning in die veldtog van honderd dae (Augustus tot November). Hy vorm 'n effektiewe vennootskap met Marshal Foch, opperste geallieerde bevelvoerder

1921 Word president van die nuutgeskepte Britse legioen, nadat hy in 1920 uit diensplig teruggetree het. Hy het eers in 1919 in die openbaar gepraat ter ondersteuning van veterane se regte

1928 Sterf in Londen op 66 en word as 'n nasionale held getreur. Groot skare kom in Londen en Edinburgh op om hulde te bring


Douglas Haig, 1ste graaf Haig

Ons redakteurs gaan na wat u ingedien het, en bepaal of hulle die artikel moet hersien.

Douglas Haig, 1ste graaf Haig, (gebore 19 Junie 1861, Edinburgh - oorlede 29 Januarie 1928, Londen), Britse veldmaarskalk, opperbevelhebber van die Britse magte in Frankryk gedurende die grootste deel van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. meer Duitsers ”) het groot getalle Britse slagoffers tot gevolg gehad, maar in 1916–17 was dit min onmiddellike wins en het hy tot onderwerp van omstredenheid gelei.

Haig, afgestudeer aan die Royal Military College in Sandhurst, het in die Soedan (1898) en in die Suid -Afrikaanse Oorlog (1899–1902) geveg en administratiewe poste in Indië beklee. Terwyl hy by die Oorlogskantoor aangestel was as direkteur van militêre opleiding (1906–09), het hy die minister van oorlog, Richard Burdon Haldane, gehelp om 'n algemene staf te stig, die territoriale leër te vorm as 'n nuttige reservaat en 'n ekspedisiemag te organiseer vir 'n toekomstige oorlog op die Europese vasteland.

By die uitbreek van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog in Augustus 1914 het Haig I -korps van die British Expeditionary Force (BEF) na Noord -Frankryk gelei, en vroeg in 1915 word hy bevelvoerder van die 1ste leër. Op 17 Desember van daardie jaar volg hy sir John French (daarna 1ste graaf van Ieper) op as bevelvoerder van die BEF. In Julie - November 1916 pleeg hy groot troepe troepe vir 'n onsuksesvolle aanval op die Somme -rivier, wat 420 000 Britse ongevalle kos. Die volgende jaar, toe die Franse besluit het om op die verdediging te staan ​​totdat magte uit die Verenigde State (wat die oorlog op 6 April betree het) in hoeveelheid kon aankom, besluit Haig om die Duitsers te probeer verslaan deur 'n suiwer Britse offensief in Frans en Belgies Vlaandere. In die gevolglike Derde Slag van Ieper (Julie - November 1917), ook die Passchendaele -veldtog genoem, het die aantal ongevalle die Britse publiek geskok, soos die Somme -dodetal veroorsaak het. Maar hoewel hy nie sy doel bereik het nie - die Belgiese kus - het hy die Duitsers verswak en gehelp om die weg vir hul nederlaag in 1918 voor te berei.

Haig, wat laat in 1916 bevorder is tot veldmaarskalk, word ondersteun deur koning George V, maar nie deur David Lloyd George, premier van Desember van daardie jaar af nie. Van daardie maand tot Mei 1917 was Haig 'n onwillige ondergeskikte van die Franse generaal Robert Nivelle, opperste geallieerde bevelvoerder aan die westelike front. In Maart 1918 verseker Haig die aanstelling van 'n ander Franse generaal, Ferdinand Foch, as geallieerde generalissimo. Die twee mans het goed saamgewerk, en Haig het die taktiese bevel oor die Britse leërs uitgevoer, wat onder Nivelle nie die geval was nie. Nadat hy gehelp het om die laaste Duitse offensief van die oorlog (Maart - Julie 1918) te stop, het Haig miskien sy beste generaalskap getoon deur die seëvierende geallieerde aanval vanaf 8 Augustus te lei.

Na die oorlog het Haig die Britse legioen georganiseer en deur die Britse Ryk gereis om geld in te samel vir behoeftige voormalige dienspligtiges. Hy is in 1919 'n graaf geskep.

Hierdie artikel is onlangs hersien en bygewerk deur William L. Hosch, mede -redakteur.


Brondokumente oor Haig

Sir Douglas Haig was ontevrede oor die gebeure van 1 Julie. Sy reaksie op die slagoffersgetalle, wat voorlopig op 40 000 geraam word, was dat dit te wagte was. Hy behou sy besorgdheid oor die 'laer' uitvoering van VIII Corps. Bo alles het hy die stryd voortgesit.

JM Bourne, Brittanje en die Groot Oorlog (1989)

Duitse ellende na die Slag van die Somme

Die Duitse weermag is tot stilstand geveg en was heeltemal verslete.

Generaal Ludendorff, Oorlogsherinneringe (1920)

Die Somme was die modderige graf van die Duitse veldleër en die geloof in die onfeilbaarheid van die Duitse leiers.

Geen bevelvoerder kon die opgeleide soldaat wat vernietig is, die Duitsers teruggee nie.

Het Haig lesse geleer?

U stel voor dat ons onderskeie leërs sterk moet aanval met die doel om nie net die vyand se reserwes op te neem en op te neem nie, maar om taktiese suksesse te behaal wat die weg sal oopmaak vir beslissende optrede Ek het reeds ingestem om te begin so 'n aanval soos jy beskryf, maar nie op 'n onbepaalde tyd voortgaan met die stryd om die vyand se reserwes op te neem nie. So 'n voortsetting kan lei tot 'n langdurige stryd, soos op die SOMME hierdie jaar, en is in stryd met ons ooreenkoms dat ons 'n besliste en vinnige besluit moet neem.

Haig na Nivelle, 6 Januarie 1917

Op die oomblik dink ek dat ons optrede die vorm moet aanneem van 1. Wintersporte of strooptogte tot in die lente. 2. Uitvoering van gevegte soortgelyk aan 1, maar op 'n groter skaal op baie punte langs die hele front.

Haig, Dagboek (14 Januarie 1916)

Die C-in-C was in die Chateau de Valvion, ongeveer op dieselfde afstand van die hoofkwartier van Rawlinson en Gough. Die regte posisie vir 'n C-in-C op so 'n tydstip is nie maklik om te besluit nie. Haig het geleer. Die volgende jaar het hy gevind dat 'n goed toegeruste trein 'n meer bevredigende GHQ maak as die stryd aan die gang was.

John Terraine, Die rook en die vuur (1980)

Haig het vas geglo in die beginsel om besluite aan 'die man ter plaatse' oor te laat. Hoewel Haig gevolglik die aandag gevestig het op die Duitse ondersoekmetodes by Verdun, toe Rawlinson met 'n lineêre aanval genader het, het Haig nie gevoel dat hy hom kon oorheers nie. Later in die oorlog sou hy nie so anders wees nie.

John Terraine, Die rook en die vuur (1980)

Die Orde van die Dag

Oorwinning behoort aan die kant wat die langste uithou. Daar is geen ander kursus oop as om dit te beveg nie. Elke posisie moet tot die laaste man beklee word. Daar moet geen aftrede wees nie. Met ons rug teen die muur en geloof in die geregtigheid van ons saak, moet elkeen van ons tot die einde toe veg.

Haig, Orde van die Dag (11 April 1918)

Kritiek op Haig

Hy was 'n noukeurige professionele soldaat met 'n goeie intelligensie van sekondêre kwaliteit. Hy het die moed en hardkoppigheid van sy ras gehad. Maar hy het nie die nodige visie of verbeelding gehad om 'n groot veldtog teen sommige van die bekwaamste generaals van die oorlog te beplan nie. Ek het nooit 'n man in 'n hoë posisie ontmoet wat vir my so heeltemal sonder verbeelding gelyk het nie.

Lloyd George, Oorlogsherinneringe (1928)

As uitvoerende bevelvoerder was daar skaars 'n beter defensiewe generaal, onder diegene wat bekendheid verwerf het as aanvallende generaals, het niemand miskien erger foute gemaak nie Oorspronklikheid van bevrugting, vrugbaarheid van hulpbronne, ontvanklikheid in idees. In sy eienskappe en gebreke was hy die verpersoonliking van die nasionale karakter en die leërtradisie.

Liddell Hart, Reputasies (1928)

Uit 'n opstelboek oor die groot leiers van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog.

In al die Britse aanvalle was die Britse slagoffers nooit minder as 3 tot 2 nie, en was dit byna dubbel die ooreenstemmende Duitse verliese.

Winston Churchill, The World Crisis

Haig het opgemerk dat dit Franse druk was wat hom gedwing het om aan die Westelike Front in 1916-1917 te veg, en skryf oor die slag van Passchendaele in 1917: 'Dit is onmoontlik vir Winston om te weet hoe die moontlikheid van die Franse leër sou opbreek. 1917 het my gedwing om aan te val. P tain het my gedruk om die Duitsers nie 'n week alleen te laat nie, weens die vreeslik toestand van die Franse troepe.

Sy hardkoppigheid in die offensief het ons amper op die Somme verwoes.

Voller, Herinneringe van 'n onkonvensionele soldaat

Fuller het harde dinge te sê gehad oor die meeste bevelvoerders. EKG Sixsmith sê: 'Fuller het 'n briljante idee van wat dit beter sou gewees het'.

Die hele beplanning van die Somme-veldtog was hamvuis en lomp. Die skuld vir die mislukking van die meeste strategiese beplanning moet op Haig val. Omdat die plan misluk het, moet Haig verantwoordelik gehou word. Die grootste fout met Haig en sy stafhoof in Londen, generaal sir William Robertson, was dat hoewel hulle die redenasie van oorlog reg gehad het, dit wil sê dat daar aan die Westelike Front besluit moes word, hulle ook van mening was dat hulle 'n paar skouspelagtige oorwinning om te bewys hoe reg hulle was.

Miskien lê die fout in die idee dat die Britte nog steeds oorlog beskou as 'n uitbreiding van 'n spel van rugger, 'n houding wat heeltemal ondoeltreffend was teen die koue Duitse professionaliteit wat hom manifesteer in die vorm van akkurate dop, masjiengeweer en geweer. Haig beloof oorwinning en misluk.

PW Turner en RH Haigh, Nie vir Glory nie (1969)

Verskonings vir Haig

Niemand het meer gedoen om van Haig alle eer vir die oorwinning in die oorlog weg te neem as Lloyd George nie. Die groot verantwoordelikheidsgraad van Haig moes aansienlik toegeneem het deur die wete dat Lloyd George sy militêre opinie en vermoëns wantrou. Slegs 'n man met 'n uitstekende integriteit en 'n groot karaktersterkte sou oorgebly het en gedoen het wat hy gedoen het. Hy het voortgegaan om die strategie te volg wat volgens hom reg was. Die gebeure van 1918 het bewys dat dit reg was. Dit was te betwyfel of iemand anders dit so goed sou kon doen.

Die neerhalende opmerking oor die gebrek aan verbeelding van Haig is agterna in die memoires van Lloyd George geskryf na die dood van Haig. [By hul eerste ontmoeting het Lloyd George geskryf:] Ek het die gevoel dat alles wat die opgeleide gedagte van 'n groot soldaat kan bereik, gedoen word. Dit was die Somme wat die mening van Lloyd George oor Haig verander het.

EKG Sixsmith, Douglas Haig (1976)

Die verskille oor die militêre beleid, wat gedurende die laaste twee jaar van die oorlog wrywing tussen Haig en Lloyd George veroorsaak het, was waarskynlik soortgelyk in krisistye tussen professionele soldate en die verkose verteenwoordigers van 'n demokrasie. Haigs standpunt oor strategie was goed om te besluit dat al die generaals verkeerd was en dat die waarheid by die burgerlikes lê, inderdaad 'n treurige gevolgtrekking sou wees. Grootheid van karakter is iets anders as grootheid van verstand of van verstand. In morele gestalte was Haig 'n reus. Dit kan maklik wees om in die geskiedenis 'n meer briljante man te vind; dit sal moeilik wees om 'n beter man te vind.

Duff Cooper, Haig (1936)

Duff Cooper was een van die militêre manne wie se opinies hy beter gedink het as die burgerlikes in die dertigerjare, die Eerste Heer van die Admiraliteit in die vloot was.

Min soldate is minder verstaan ​​en meer wanvoorgestel as Douglas Haig. Duff Cooper en John Terraine het sy reputasie as 'n menslike bevelvoerder slim voorgehou. Die legende van sy gebrek aan verbeelding en brutale brutaliteit bestaan ​​egter steeds. Een van die foute van die natuur van Haig was dat hy sommige van sy onmiddellike ondergeskiktes te volledig vertrou het. Die koste was hoog, maar dit sou steeds hoër gewees het as die pyn verleng was. Haig se versiendheid, energie en vasberadenheid was een van die belangrikste faktore wat bygedra het tot die geallieerde oorwinning in 1918.

Generaal Sir James Marshall-Cornwall, Haig as militêre bevelvoerder (1973)

Marshall-Cornwall het Haig gedien as 'n junior offisier tydens die Slag van die Somme, en het gesê dat hy eerstehands die effek van die slegte advies en inligting aan Haig gesien het.

Haig het 'n mooi voorkoms en 'n streng toewyding aan plig. Alhoewel hy nie meer die idee gehad het dat ander die oorlog sou wen nie, was hy seker dat hy dit kon wen. Goddelike hulp sou die tekortkominge van sy kant vergoed. Hierdie onwankelbare vertroue en die ondersteuning van die koning het Haig in staat gestel om 'n lang mislukking te oorleef en uiteindelik as oorwinnaars uit die stryd te tree 'n Later geslag kan voel dat Haig in die verdediging moes gestaan ​​het en op die tenks gewag het. Die Franse sou dit nie geduld het nie. Die Britse publiek sou nog meer verontwaardig gewees het. Haig moes doen wat hy gedoen het, en hoewel hy nie daarin geslaag het nie, is niemand beter gevind om sy plek in te neem nie.

AJP Taylor, Die Eerste Wêreldoorlog (1963)

Ons voorbeelde van die Eerste Wêreldoorlog, terwyl ons probeer om 'n element van balans in die argument in te voer, gee nog steeds nie genoeg gewig aan die werk van onlangse historici soos Sheffield, Griffith en Strachan wat soveel gedoen het om die 'algemene Britse generaals te bevraagteken' idiote se lyn. Die feit is dat die Britse taktiek tydens die oorlog aansienlik ontwikkel het. 'Byt en hou' (ontwikkel in 1917) het die basis geword van Britse aanvalle in beide wêreldoorloë - El Alamein (in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog) is 'n klassieke stryd in daardie opsig, met persentasie slagoffers op die Eerste Wêreldoorlog. Die kruipende spervuur, wat weer in beide wêreldoorloë gebruik is, is ontwikkel tydens die Somme, wat vermoedelik bestaan ​​het uit mans wat herhaaldelik nutteloos 'bo -oor' gegooi is.

Die punt wat baie (maar nie almal) studentehandboeke nie beklemtoon nie, is die groot moeilikheid om 'n oorlog te wen waarin massa-leërs en tegnologies gevorderde magte betrokke is. Die idee dat as ons net vir Haig ontslaan het en iemand slim gehad het, sou ons die oorlog vinnig met minimale verliese kon wen - ons praat hier van die Duitse weermag, nie van die Band of Hope nie. Dit het miljoene Russiese dooies in die Tweede Wêreldoorlog geneem om hulle te keer - in gevegte wat duurder was as die Somme of Passchendaele.

Mark Hone, e -pos aan hierdie webwerf (2002)

Mark Hone is 'n moderne historikus en onderwyser - hoof van geskiedenis en politiek, Bury Grammar School, Lancashire.

Blackadder op Haig

Uit episode 1 van Blackadder gaan vorentoe, die reeks voorbehou 'n paar van sy mees sprekende satire vir Haig en die nutteloosheid van sy taktiek:

Blackadder: My instinkte laat my aflei dat ons uiteindelik op die punt staan

gaan bo -oor. [loer bo -op die loopgraaf met 'n periskoop]

George: Great Scott, bedoel u, bedoel u dat die oomblik uiteindelik aangebreek het om Harry Hun 'n verdomde goeie Britse styl te gee, ses van die beste broeke?

Blackadder: As jy bedoel, & quot Gaan ons almal doodgemaak word? & Quot Ja. Dit is duidelik dat veldmaarskalk Haig nog 'n yslike poging aanwend om sy drankkas ses sentimeter nader aan Berlyn te skuif.

Melchett: Nou het veldmaarskalk Haig 'n briljante nuwe taktiese plan geformuleer om die finale oorwinning in die veld te verseker. [hulle vergader om 'n model van die slagveld]

Blackadder: Sou hierdie briljante plan behels dat ons uit ons loopgrawe klim en stadig na die vyand toe stap?

Liefling: Hoe kan jy daardie Blackadder weet? Dit is geklassifiseerde inligting.

Blackadder: Dit is dieselfde plan as wat ons laas gebruik het, en die sewentien keer daarvoor.

Melchett: E-E-Presies! En dit is wat so briljant is! Ons sal die wakende Hun heeltemal onkant betrap! Om presies te doen wat ons agttien keer tevore gedoen het, is presies die laaste ding wat hulle van ons sal verwag om hierdie keer te doen! Daar is egter een klein probleem.

Blackadder: Dat almal altyd die eerste tien sekondes geslag word.

Melchett: Dit is reg! En veldmaarskalk Haig is bekommerd dat dit die mans effens kan druk. Hy soek dus 'n manier om hulle op te vrolik.

Blackadder: Wel, sy bedanking en selfmoord lyk die voor die hand liggende oplossing.

Black-Adder- Series 4, Episode 1

Liefling: Wat die generaal bedoel, Blackadder, is: Daar is 'n lek. Kortom: 'n Duitse spioen gee elkeen van ons strydplanne weg.

Melchett: Jy lyk verbaas, Blackadder.

Blackadder: Ek is beslis, meneer. Ek het nie besef ons het gevegsplanne nie.

Melchett: Wel, natuurlik het ons dit! Hoe anders dink jy is die gevegte gerig?

Blackadder: Ons gevegte is gerig, meneer?

Melchett: Wel, natuurlik, Blackadder - geregisseer volgens die Grand Plan.

Blackadder: Sou dit die plan wees om met totale slagting voort te gaan totdat almal dood is behalwe veldmaarskalk Haig, Lady Haig en hul skilpad, Alan?

Melchett: Groot Scott! (staan) Selfs jy weet dit! Bewaak! Bewaak! Skroef al die deure vas groot stukke skewe hout teen al die vensters! Hierdie sekuriteitslek is baie erger as wat ons ons kon voorstel!


Was sir Douglas Haig 'n goeie of slegte leier?

Die kwessie van Douglas Haig se rol as 'n algehele aan die Europese Front, deur die Slag van die Somme in 1916, is tot dusver deur baie historici bevraagteken. Deur verskillende sienings en idees is die vaardighede van Haig ernstig gevier en gekritiseer. Daarom word hy beskou as beide 'Slagter van die Somme' en 'Argitek van sukses', baie bewyse wat beide argumente ondersteun. Die grootste deel van die mense hou egter van die idee dat Haig 'n genadelose innoveerder is, wat heeltemal verstaanbaar is. Byvoorbeeld, die Challenge of the Somme het byna elke persoon in Brittanje baie geraak, en baie van die gesinslede verloor. Vir hulle sou dit maklik gewees het om die Britse verlies slegs op Standard Haig te blameer, en baie het dit gedoen. Maar baie mense het hom as 'n hoogs begaafde soldaat en leier gevind, en daar was 'n goeie rol in Haig, byvoorbeeld, hy slaag uiteindelik daarin om die Duitse weermag te verslyt en het 'n rol gespeel in die gevolg van Wêreldkonflik 1. Daarom het hierdie kontroversiële kwessie sal moontlik voortdurend bespreek word.

The Fight of the Somme was 'n tipies Skotse geveg, met drie Skotse afdelings wat betrokke was. Dit was ook van toepassing op Douglas Haig, wat eenvoudig in Edinburgh geseën is en opperhoof was. Hy het die skuld gekry vir die enorme slagting van die Slag van die Somme, waartydens daar op die eerste dag ongeveer 60 000 Britse eilande gesneuwel het, nog een wat uitgewis is. Dit saam is 'n bewys vir baie mense van die mislukking van Haig as 'n algemene idee. Baie van die onvolmaakthede in die leiding van die Slag om die Somme by Haig was egter die gevolg van die feit dat hy verskeie sestig afdelings beveel het, toe die algemeenste hoeveelheid slegs ses was. Dit toon die uiterste omstandighede waaronder Douglas Haig aan die bevel was tydens die Slag van die Somme.

The Fight of the Somme was 'n belangrike gebeurtenis in die geskiedenis, hoofsaaklik as gevolg van die absurde aantal sterftes, alhoewel dit 'nie groter was as wat verwag kon word nie', maar sommige mense vind die fout dat Haig die leër verhinder het selfs toe hy bewus word van die voortdurende hoogte van inligting oor ongevalle. Net soos elke basiese strewe, streef Haig na sukses, maar hy het 'n groot probleem: hy was uiters positief en het voortdurend aangeneem dat die Duitse weermag naby sou oorgee, en geglo dat 'n wins ook naby was. This positive personality is shown by a offer which Douglas Haig himself said at the beginning of the battle, 'The situation is never so good roughly bad as first reports show'. However, even though he experienced that his military was fully with the capacity of defeating the Germans, he wasn't correct, in fact, Haig's army didn't possess the huge amount of soldiers, which the German army were able to take benefit of this clearly demonstrates his targets were impossibly to attain, he was just too ambitious. Haig was also greatly criticised for the absurd amount of the battle, this is simply because it could have been ended much sooner than it was, and this would have even prevented Britain in constantly finding fault in Haig's leadership skills. The primary reason that Haig even allowed the challenge to keep because he wished to straighten his trenches, as this would experienced a great effect on his army's episodes. However Haig was also criticised for allowing the British army to battle in the appalling weather at the time of the Somme, although theoretically he cannot take the whole blame for this decision as the theory actually originated from the French military officer.

Haig was certainly one to override his army commanders, although this is understandable, as if he found their advice questionable then he had to trust himself to make the correct decision together. However at the start of the struggle of the Somme, Haig was overruled himself, by the governments of Britain and France, they asked Haig to strike the German military at that point in time, but Haig didn't acknowledge this was because he noticed that his armies weren't ready however his discussion wasn't effective, therefore he was dismissed. Haig realized that he'd have to plan an assault quickly, because if he took too much time to take action then the alliance which discontinued the French from attacking the English could be put in jeopardy, and this was a risk that Haig couldn't afford for taking.

At the beginning of the struggle, the British military looked to have no chance in defeating the German military, in fact, Standard History had written that the Somme was the very first time that the '. . . British line been presented with so few men therefore few guns. . . '. The British military were also overcome by the power of the Germans and after just one single day of struggling with there were an enormous variety of casualties, most of them credited to 'bite and carry attacks'. Initially, Haig was significantly short of makes and, trying to find a solution, ended up having to leave Gough's twelve divisions by themselves to guard 42 kilometers of leading, this led to some having hardly any soldiers. Haig could have maintained the Somme better, however by the end of the battle, the British were achieving success contrary to the Germans and eventually the Germans does surrender, in truth the German Standard Ludendorff mentions in his autobiography, My warfare memories, 'As a result of the Somme we were completely worn out on the Western Front'.

When considering Haig's skill as an army commander it needs to be remembered that the situation at the Struggle of the Somme was extremely unique, Haig was controlling ten times the quantity of forces, most of whom were learning the tactics of war as they gone along. Following the battle concluded Haig was compared to other generals who dispatched hundreds of troops to their fatalities, he was seen as uncaring and constantly making terrible decisions. Although Haig's view of the turnout of the warfare was never clarified, it was recommended that he agreed with the result, as in 1919, Haig defended the fact that the Germans were offered funds at the end of the battle.

The marriage between Douglas Haig and David Lloyd George was a cause of major turmoil and acquired an overpowering effect on Haig's reputation. Lloyd George was clear in the fact that he previously no trust or liking for Haig, especially during the Somme, when he didn't realize why Haig was allowed the high casualty rates to continue, especially since this didn't give any advantage to the Uk. He found Haig simply as a guy with no cleverness, and no understanding, although he also never changed him, or even stood up to him. However, it was no top secret that a battle was waged between Haig and Lloyd George. An example of the tension between these characters was on the 1st Sept, when Haig received a telegram from Henry Wilson, designated 'personal', this taken a alert, that Haig was to stop preventable casualties during the battle of the Somme. The clear reason behind the telegram was for the security of Lloyd George however Haig had taken it that he could attack the Hindenburg brand if he sensed the necessity to do so. The strain between them grew when Lloyd George publicized his conflict memoirs, in which he unleashed an harm on Haig, both, simply as a man and as part of the army. This was one of the extremely little books that really cause chaos for an important information reputation, especially since when it became available, Haig possessed already passed and therefore he couldn't even protect his own reputation.

However Lloyd George isn't the one politician that Haig had a significant romance with, Haig and Winston Churchill also possessed a somewhat interesting marriage, in reality Haig helped out Churchill in the writing of his book, The World Turmoil, by sending him parts of his personal diaries which he stored during the conflict. The reason that this is interesting is the actual fact that Churchill often criticised Haig, especially as a General during the battle. However, Churchill did admit that when reviewing the warfare he began to believe 'a good deal better if Haig than I did so at the time'. Unlike Lloyd George, Churchill experienced that it might be impossible to find as good a general as Haig was to replace him. Haig didn't mind some criticism from Churchill in his publication, but it was that criticism which firmly effected Haig's reputation. The conflict between these politicians and Haig designed that Haig was required to fight the warfare against not only the Germans, but also those politicians.

It wasn't just Churchill's writing that affected Haig's reputation though there have been a variety of memoirs and accounts released after the conflict, by many different people, for example, David Lloyd George, Churchill and Gough. But when these files were released Haig brought up to Foch that he couldn't release a publication on the battle, as it was 'too soon to see the truth'. If he had written them however, they might havent only prevailed, but would have probably heightened his reputation. However Haig's Last Dispatch, posted in 1919 actually possessed only a tiny influence on the thoughts of the battle. Yet, decades later, a revisionist historian, John Terraine modified these arguments and tried out to re-build Haig's reputation. Actually, Terraine's 'Douglas Haig: AN INFORMED Soldier' firmly defended Haig's reputation, his main point being that it was Haig who eventually used down the German military. However historian, John Laffin, gets the opposite impression, he feels as though Haig should be accused because of his 'wilful blunders and wicked butchery'. This shows clear debate between your two recent historians, both looking to challenge Haig's reputation. Terraine passed on in 2003, however before his death, he did manage to change just how that some people found Douglas Haig, and he 'restored Haig to the positioning of serious commander'. Haig was criticised and celebrated by different historians, few ever before looking at both sides of things.

Haig's reputation was heightened the most due to his suggestions in assisting and celebrating ex-servicemen. Haig dedicated a large part of his life, following the warfare, to charity situations and war-memorials. This shows that people were even slightly wrong about the actual fact that he didn't care about the young men preventing in the war. For instance, in 1922, Haig travelled to Swansea and 4000 people turned out to see him place a stone for the town memorial, and in 1925, the Haigs toured Canada some 10, 000 people emerged to see Haig lay down a stone on the cenotaph in Toronto. Also, in Glasgow, in 1924, Haig uncovered a monument. These days' people may be stunned to learn that in 1925 Haig exposed the Newfoundland Memorial Park this was where the 1st Newfoundland harm occurred in 1916. The fact that Haig was sought after to handle the wedding ceremony by the government, demonstrates even though there exists constant discussion over Douglas Haig's reputation, at this time he must have been highly considered. That is why Haig was confused with large sums of requests to reveal all sorts of different memorials. Haig's speeches at these events were never completely neutral, the problems of sacrifice and the needs of ex-soldiers were constantly outlined. This made his reputation improve to a lot of people, because they experienced as though he was more caring.

In the first 1920s Haig began to type up his wartime journal, he wished because of this to be published after his fatality. In 1928 a type of warfare diaries and memoirs started out being published, some attacking Haig's reputation very seriously, however Haig wasn't alive to see this, as on the 29th January 1928, Douglas Haig died of the heart attack. This death emerged as a surprise to Britain, many people in disbelief. Haig's wife believed that the 'tension of wartime demand had exhausted his heart', and the marketing began to print out headlines, 'field marshal a battle victim', Haig was cured exactly like any soldier who acquired fought in the war, and he too was regarded as a warfare casualty.

The real surprise after Haig's death was the amount to which the people mourned him his death was treated a lot more graciously than other British general. Therefore his coffin was escorted by the two future kings of Great britain, showing that he was definitely an important person in the nation, even though a lot of people seen him as a callous butcher. This is reinforced because St Pauls, Wren's great cathedral was suggested as where Haig would be buried and when he had been then he'd have been buried with Wellington and Nelson, two heroes from WW1, however Haig experienced wanted to be buried at home, in Edinburgh, therefore he body was dispatched north. A group of men and women waited for him to reach, to pay their respects. Eventually he was buried in the grounds of Dryburgh Abbey. Nevertheless the event of his loss of life just brought more conflict to the discussion of Haig's reputation. Again, Haig's reputation plummeted.

Therefore Haig's reputation is constantly debated, going in one extreme to the other, barely ever managing, or being good to the actions of Haig. However much debate is presented in favour of Haig, the data is overpowered by the casualty information of the challenge of the Somme, by Churchill's criticisms of Haig and by the tension in Haig's romantic relationship with David Lloyd George, they are the reality people can't just forget and therefore the points which effect Haig's reputation. Haig's reputation was most significantly analysed through memoirs and accounts, for exemplory case of Churchill, Lloyd George, Gough and Terraine, although his reputation required a severe strike after his loss of life also. It's clear that Haig will permanently be looked at as heartless basic, which is a fair judgement, considering the fact that he was the general in charge during the Challenge of the Somme, and allowed the horrific casualty numbers to provide, and the fact that he allow battle go on for much longer than it will have, for personal or no gain, and that's why Douglas Haig will permanently be condemned as 'Butcher of the Somme'.


Facts about Douglas Haig 9: the funeral

On 3 February 1928, he had an elaborate funeral ceremony. During his funeral, the crowds of people were lined along the street to pay respect for the last time on the soldier. Get facts about Deborah Sampson here.

Facts about Douglas Haig 10: the burial site of Haig

The grave of Haig is simple. It has white headstone. The burial site is located at Dryburgh Abbey in the Scottish borders.

Do you have any questions on facts about Douglas Haig?


Douglas Haig - donkey or genius?

Did Haig take a a bunch of civilians and by 1918 produce perhaps the most powerful British army of all time?

How could an incompetent commander defeat the 'ultra' proffessional Germans?

I do not think that Haig was perfect and he made mistakes but it is far too simplistic to write him off as a fool.

I was brought up with the 'Lions led by Donkeys' school of history but as I have read military history its apparant that it far to simplistic, I would like to think that the upper class were fools but it doesn't add up.

All commanders in WWI could not have been fools, Haig stands up in comparision with his peers.

Belisarius

Since you can't, or won't, provide a counter argument, why should any of us take you seriously?

Haig has been a controversial figure in the past but the latest research both in contemporary records and battlefield archaeology seems to validate his position. The arguments put forward by Haigs detractors in the past have been to a greater or lesser extent debunked authors like Denis Winter for example, have been proven to have even falsified events in their anti Haig polemics.

Belisarius

The BEF defeated the Germans at the Somme? By what measure? A few square miles of utterly useless mud, bought at the price of 450,000 casualties, nearly twice what the Germans suffered.

Linschoten

I was brought up on the black legend, but came to appreciate appreciate that matters were very much more complicated than that on reading John Terraine's book about Haig I found this account of changing attitudes to Haig, which seems to me to be very balanced:

Paulinus

Chookie

OK, I will. I too was brought up on the Lions / Donkeys idea, and for years I took this as gospel. Then I somehow found a German account of the Western Front (this was years ago, so I can't remember the title) which took a far different view.

Although I'm still a bit ambivalent about him, I think he was among the best generals of WWI.

All-in-all, he was a victim of high casualty rates, jealous subordinates, incompetent politicians and the fact that he was from "trade".

Paulinus

Belisarius

[ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/German-Army-Somme-1914-1916/dp/1844152693"]The German Army on the Somme 1914-1916: Amazon.co.uk: Jack Sheldon: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51H4NDEBBJL[/ame]

Botully

Robin and Trevor's book is basically an "anti-Haig polemic" of dubious historical value or accuracy. For instance, they argue that it was never Haig’s intention that the Somme should relieve pressure on Verdun and that throughout the battles Haig vainly hoped to win the campaign at a stroke and that his claim that he realised the war could be won only by attrition was a later rationalisation.

Unfortunately for their argument, they completely ignore the primary records of the period in which Haig himself states in official correspondence that his policy was to draw off pressure from Verdun and, "not to think that we can for a certainty destroy the power of Germany this year we must also aim at improving our positions with a view to making sure of the result of a campaign next year." hardly winning the war at a single stroke.

On the plus side their coverage of the political dimension is more balanced. All in all, there are much better books out there about the Somme campaign.

I think it is far more than an "anti-Haig polemic". In fact they merely argue that the offensive was conceived before Verdun was launched, which is true. The Verdun battle moved the schedule up. Relieving pressure on Verdun became important as planning progressed.
Of course the Germans ended Verdun in August, and the BEF continued to hammer away at the Somme until November, Haig apparently believing that he was killing Germans faster than his own men. In fact he was killing his own men at nearly twice the rate.
Haig also initially claimed that the offensive would result in breaking the front, and not until August did he claim that attrition was the actual objective, in response to outcries against the casualty lists. This is where the myth that the Germans suffered as many losses as the BEF started.
The piecemeal attacks were not coordinated by high command, and that falls on Haig.
Although British artillery doctrine was superior, that advantage was offset by the need to target pinpoint objectives, while the Germans could target masses of troops. It was also offset by the fact that 3/4 of the guns were the inferior 18 pounder, firing anti-personal charges. The Germans by this point had learned that a short, fierce bombardment was better than the massive week long bombardment that preceded the Somme, which chewed up the ground and gave ample warning of what was to come.


Toekennings

"Paul Harris has not only written the definitive biography of Field Marshal Douglas Haig, but the most important book on the First World War to appear in over a decade. His judicious use of sources and impeccable research has placed Haig in the context of the terrible challenges that that terrible conflict raised. The resulting portrait presents his considerable strengths along with the fatal flaws that were to prove so disastrous in terms of the lives of British soldiers in the battles of 1916 and 1917. Above all Harris' biography underlines that it is individuals who make history, not obscure social trends."
-Williamson Murray, Institute for Defense Analysis

"This is a superb book. Deftly sidestepping caricatures of Haig as either a callous, incompetent butcher or as a clear-sighted, imperturbable Great Captain, Harris offers a nuanced picture of a complex personality in hopeless times. Haig was not purblind, but open to technical and tactical innovation. Yet he was responsible for the massive casualties so disproportionate to the results achieved and for the near collapse of British civil-military relations by the end of 1917. He went from the nervous, battle-shy corps commander of Mons 1914 to the confident ‘tyde-what-may’ army commander of 1915–17, and to the shaken and confused soldier-statesman of 1918. Bold and masterful, this book will become the standard biography of Haig."
-Holger H. Herwig, Professor of History and Canada Research Chair in the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, University of Calgary

"Ninety years after the end of the Great War and eighty years after his death, Haig still has the capacity to arouse extraordinary extremes of vilification from his detractors and praise from his defenders. There have been many biographies of Haig over the years, but few have matched Paul Harris’s mastery of both the original archive sources and also the most recent scholarship, which has so transformed our understanding of the nature of command and the conduct of operations on the Western Front. Here, then, is an informed and thoroughly modern re-assessment, balancing Haig’s undoubted qualities against his manifold weaknesses."
-Professor Ian F. W. Beckett, University of Northampton

"Paul Harris is one of our very finest military historians of the Great War. He combines great depth of scholarship, research - and especially of psychological perception - with a highly readable style. In this, his highest masterpiece to date, he has cut straight through a horribly tangled thornbush of pro-Haig hagiography inter-twined with anti-Haig propaganda of the 'Butchers and Bunglers' variety. His ultimate conclusion is that the anti-Haig camp has very much the right of it, although much of the hysteria attaching to this issue has been lamentably over-done. This, surely, has got to be the long verdict of History."
-Paddy Griffith, author of Battle Tactics on the Western Front 1916–18 (1994)

"This work of meticulous scholarship is certain to reenergize the debate over Haig’s command. It also in many important ways expands our understanding of military operations in France and Flanders and the BEF’s evolution into a formidable offensive machine. It is highly recommended to both academics and general readers." - American Historical Review

"This is a most impressive book… Douglas Haig and the First World War is unreservedly recommended for all students, from the first year to doctoral candidates, and it should be in all university libraries." - Antoine Capet, H-Diplo

"Harris himself deserves unqualified praise for producing a thoroughly researched biography of a controversial figure and for resting his judgments on a careful analysis of his material. This work is a model of dispassionate scholarship and is essential to any student of the British Army in the First World War."
Canadian Journal of History, Mitchell McNaylor

"This work will likely remain the definitive account for decades to come." -Parameters

"a formidable achievement. Not the least of Harris's strengths is his impressive grasp of the literature, and his synthesis of recent research (of which there is a great deal, such is the dynamic nature of the subject) is extremely valuable. Not surprisingly it has been acclaimed by a battery of historians, and has been awarded, at the time of writing, two major prizes". - English Historical Review, Gary Sheffield


Douglas Haig – butcher or hero? By Rupert Colley

Douglas Haig, Britain’s First World War commander-in-chief from December 1915 to the end of the war, is remembered as the archetypal ‘donkey’ leading ‘lions’ to their death by the thousands. But, almost a century on, is this a fair judgement?

Born in Edinburgh, 19 June 1861, Douglas Haig was the eleventh son of a wealthy whiskey distiller. An expert horseman, he once represented England at polo. In 1898, he joined the forces of Lord Kitchener in the Sudan. Asked by Kitchener’s superiors in London to report back in confidence on his commander, Haig did so with relish, taking delight in criticising the unsuspecting Kitchener. In 1899, Haig served under Sir John French in Kitchener’s army during the Boer War in South Africa.

At the outbreak of the First World War, in August 1914, Douglas Haig served as a deputy to John French who had become commander-in-chief of the British Expeditionary Force. Haig’s actions at the Battle of Mons and the First Battle of Ypres earned him praise while, conversely, John French’s fortunes plummeted as the British failed to make any headway on the Western Front. Haig helped manoeuvre the mood-swinging French out of power and was appointed by Prime Minister Herbert Asquith as French’s replacement in December 1915.

Cavalry man

A Presbyterian and firmly believing that God was on his side and therefore his decisions had to be right, Haig insisted on full frontal attacks, convinced that victory would come by military might alone. Still a cavalry man at heart, he believed the machine gun to be a ‘much over rated weapon’. It is one of the criticisms levelled at Haig – that he was adverse to new technology. The evidence is contradictory. Almost a decade after the war, Haig still believed in the use of cavalry: ‘I believe that the value of the horse and the opportunity for the horse in the future are likely to be as great as ever. Aeroplanes and tanks are only accessories to the men and the horse, and I feel sure that as time goes on you will find just as much use for the horse—the well-bred horse—as you have ever done in the past.’

But Douglas Haig did champion the new ‘landship’, as the prototype tank was originally known. On 15 September 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, Haig had insisted on their use, despite advice to wait for more testing. He got his way and the introduction of 32 tanks met with mixed results – many broke down but a few managed to penetrate German lines. Haig was impressed and immediately ordered a thousand more.

Butcher Haig?

Haig has often been criticized of being profligate of men’s lives, while many defend him stating that Haig had no other alternative. Historian, Basil Henry Liddell Hart, who fought during the war, described Haig as ‘not merely immoral but criminal’. Yet the very nature of warfare during 1914-1918 meant that offense was no match against deeply entrenched defence the weapons of defence during the First World War were much superior to the weapons of offense. Haig was not alone – generals on all sides puzzled over this uncomfortable truth.

Haig’s tenure as c-in-c saw the horrendous losses at the Battle of the Somme (July-November 1916) and the Third Battle of Ypres, otherwise known as Passchendaele, (July-November 1917), for which Haig earned the sobriquet the ‘butcher’. David Lloyd George, prime minister of a coalition government from December 1916, had questioned the point of launching another costly offensive at Passchendaele but Haig had got the backing of the Conservatives within the coalition and so got his way. But Haig was often under pressure of his French allies to act, bringing forward, for example, the Somme offensive by six weeks to help take the pressure off the French at the long slug that was the Battle of Verdun. The question remains however would the extra six weeks to prepare made a difference? – the answer is probably not.

While Douglas Haig is remembered for the losses at the Somme and Passchendaele, it is often forgotten that from August 1918, Haig oversaw Britain’s advance during what became known as the Hundred Days Offensive, the Allies’ great push, in partnership with the overall Allied commander, the French c-in-c, Ferdinand Foch. The offensive ultimately led to victory and the surrender of the Germans on 11 November.

A land fit for heroes

Despite having a personal rapport with the king, George V, Haig never enjoyed the confidence of Lloyd George, who was openly critical of Haig’s cavalier attitude with his men’s lives. Lloyd George, in his War Memoirs, published in 1936, accused Haig of being ‘second rate’. But by then Haig was dead and unable to defend himself.

It was Lloyd George, who during the election campaign of 1918, had promised a land ‘fit for heroes to live in’. But it was Haig who did much to help veterans. In 1921, Haig was one of the founders of the Royal British Legion, becoming its first president, a post he held until his death, and helped introduce the poppy of remembrance into Britain. He championed the rights of ex-servicemen and refused all state honours until the government improved their pensions, which duly came in August 1919. (Only then did Haig accept an earldom).

On 29 January 1928, Douglas Haig died from a heart attack brought on, according to his widow, by the strain of wartime command. He was 66.

Haig’s reticence certainly didn’t help his own cause – prone to long silences and often coming across as callous. But at war’s end, Haig was hailed as a hero, and his death saw much public grief, especially in his hometown of Edinburgh, and London, where up to a million people turned out to pay their respects.

Earl Haig Memorial‘Beastly attitudes’

Haig’s only son, Dawyck Haig, who was imprisoned in Colditz during the Second World War and who died in 2009, was a staunch defender of his father. In an interview to the BBC in June 2006, the eve of the 90th anniversary of the first day of the Somme, he said, ‘He was not a brutish man, he was a very kind, wonderful man and by God, I miss him… I believe it has now turned full circle and people appreciate his contribution. But it saddens me my three sisters have not survived to see it. They died suffering from the beastly attitudes of the public towards our father.’

In 1937, a statue of Earl Haig, the Earl Haig Memorial, was unveiled on London’s Whitehall (click on the picture to enlarge). Designed by sculptor, Alfred Frank Hardiman, and eight years in the making, it won many plaudits and prizes but unfortunately, the stance of the horse is that of one in the process of urinating.


The Best Man for a Bad Job?

Stretcher bearers recovering wounded during the Battle of Thiepval Ridge, September 1916. Photo by Ernest Brooks.

It has been argued that Haig was the best man for the terrible job of commanding the BEF through a gruelling war. Certainly his peers in the British army held many of the same misguided views, but without the education and strategic oversight to refine their work. Ultimately, the British won under his command, apparently vindicating him.

The war was won less through strategic brilliance than through Germany’s economic exhaustion. Even when the British saw victories in the last year of the war, this was primarily down to commanders on the ground, freed up to use their initiative by Haig’s hands off approach.

Field Marshal Haig unveiling the National War Memorial in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Memorial Day 1 July 1924.

A more open minded commander might have adapted to the new style of warfare, saving hundreds of thousands of men from the meat grinder of relentless offensives. Was there such a man ready to lead the British army between 1914 and 1918?


Kyk die video: Advanced World War I Tactics with General Melchett