In my essay, I shall be interpret ting why so many people believe “Lions led by Donkeys” was just idiotic generals leading his own soldiers in to a cold blooded war, which led to thousands of deaths and even more distraught families. But in fact the generals could have done more good than the bad since we the British soldiers had successfully won the battle at the western front furthermore the Great War. Throughout my essay, I will argue each source that supports the Lions led by Donkeys and find out that if the statement or evidence explains that either the generals was confused as well as not knowing how to win the war or was it just a mere tactic.
In the first section, I will argue why so many people are positive that the Lions were led by Donkeys and how they was incapable of leading soldiers into War. I will argue using a variety of sources to show either they are reliable or unreliable.
In source (A4) it shows it’s from a newspaper article, the Times newspaper which was published in November 1914 thus meaning many people read the newspaper and that this article was published during the western front. The quote “day after day butchery of the unknown by the unseen” is very clear and direct explaining people are dieing endlessly day after day, it shows that war is scary and lots of lives are lost in addition to this less people will be joining the war but this source is surprising as it contradicts popular opinions of the time and also given some information on how to attack the Western front “Fresh troops brought up under cover of a tremendous artillery fire which opens by surprise may effect a breach. But only with a heavy loss can such an attack be carried through”. This source is quite reliable since the newspaper is trying to tell the truth to the readers but it could also be quite biased furthermore there is no picture to back up the evidence.
Source (D5ii) is part of a letter in reply to the article in the Daily Mail that was written on November 10th 1998 it describes many opinions made be during and after the war, the article show peoples opinions of the generals that were in charge at the western front, the people which were and weren’t affected by the war still negative thoughts even though the war is over and the British won, this shows that many people thought the war was a big mistake since they still debate and argue over something that was 89 years ago. I believe this source is quite reliable since the article was issued in The Daily Mail and again after the following years, this shows that the Western front war is important to people lives. This source important because people still read it and it has the opinions of many people but its also unreliably because its published in a newspaper as a result it could be biased towards the readers.
Source (C3) is from two soldiers called Fred Pearson and Private P. Smith who both fought on the Western front, the source shows the two soldiers personal opinions about the general(Haig) that was commanding at the Western front. Although Fred Pearson is bitter, he and Private P. Smith both say the generals are lazy and never took part physically during the war “He lived almost 50 kilometres behind the line and that’s about as near as he got” the source tells us that some generals never experienced the trenches. I believe this source is reliable to a certain point because both men were probably under command by General Haig at some point during war. However it could be argued both sources are bitter and it’s their interpretation, but it is possible that these men could hold a grudge against Haig because he never took part in war physically and also he received an Earl and 100,000 pounds. I believe this source is very reliable because it’s to opinions of men which had both been in the war and they didn’t like the conditions their general forced to fight in. This source supports the argument that the soldiers were “Lions led by Donkeys.
Finally source (c2) shows the official figures, issued in 1920 just after the war. The source shows that most soldiers during the war had died at the western front meaning that either the soldiers lagged or generals was not doing their job correctly; compared to the other fronts most men had died in the Western front. The source is very reliable because they are official figures in August 1914 – 30 November 1919.
Although many people argued that “Lions led by Donkeys” were in actual fact true but some believed it was an invalid interpretation and that the generals indeed tried their best throughout the war. I will be analysing each statement and source to see how they are reliable and unreliable as well as how they relate to “Lions led by Donkeys”.
Firstly in source (B1) it shows an official portrait of Sir Douglas Haig with a extract from his biography that appears in a modern history book, in the extract it says “married a lady-in-waiting to the queen” which tells us he has links with royalty furthermore he has served in the South African (1899-1903) and later in India, the information given makes more logic for him becoming a general; by the end of Western Front he was promoted to Field Marshal and was awarded ï¿½100,000 by parliament because of his strategies during the war. I believe this source is unreliable because it’s Haig’s own interpretation which could be biased.
Secondly source B2 is about a letter from King George V to Sir Douglas Haig talking about how well Haig did during the war and that he has the full support of his soldiers. Sir Douglas Haig had a connection with the royalty as shown in source (B1) “married a lady-in-waiting to the Queen” this could be argued that his connections with the king may have aided his career. This evidence is unreliable because it is a letter from the king which could have been forged but also it’s reliable since the letter wants to know everything that had happened in the war.
In source (A5ii) shows a statement written by a person who is a war hero but from Victoria Cross (1918) the source shows that the Captain in A.O Pollard had already won the battle at Victoria Cross and it was just a matter of time before the Western front battle finished. The source talks about how the battle was at a stalemate and it gives valid facts “The element of surprise was always missing” it shows that the Captain A.O Pollard didn’t have much faith in the battle because they kept missing but it also shows that the author believed in the battle. This source is reliable because it was written by a war hero which had a positive attitude towards the soldiers at the western front.
Source (B4ii) Haig gives his own opinion on how the battle went which were Germans have surrendering freely and the troops are full of confidence. Haig’s opinion was published the day after the battle which makes his opinion very reliable but also it is unreliable because his opinion which could be biased since on the first day Haig lost approximately 60,000 soldiers, which could make Haig’s statement a lie; to make him sound like a good general.
Finally source (D5i) was a newspaper article written by a military historian and was published in The Daily Mail; which is very popular and many people read. Military historian, John Keegan describes all the positive things to stop the readers and mainly families that have grudges towards the generals but instead they should be cherishing he generals since they had tactics which lead us the British army to victory. I believe that this source is very reliable because it speaks about all the truth that the generals had done but unreliable for the reason that there maybe biased towards the generals side.
In conclusion there cannot be a right answer because the question is based purely on opinion. I believe the Generals were not donkeys because Haig must have been good because we won the war. And at the time the tactics they used by keep on sending men didn’t work but no one new a different way.