How far was Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig responsible for the failings of the British Armies on the Western Front in 1916 and 1917?
Field Marshall Douglas Haig was a British soldier and senior commander during World War 1. He commanded the ‘British Expeditionary Force,’ as he attained a position in December 1915 to the end of the war. Haig was most notably as he was a commander during the ‘Battle of the Somme,’ and the ‘3rd Battle of Ypres.’ Haig has become one of the most controversial figures in British military history as when he died in 1928, many remembered him as a ‘National hero.’
Haig was born in Edinburgh on 19th June 1861, the son of John Haig who was a wealthy Scotch whisky distiller from Fife. He attended Clifton College and then attended university studying at Brasenose College, Oxford for three years. He left without a degree due to sickness but later enrolled for being an officer in the Royal Military College in Sandhurst in 1883. He took part in the Omdurman campaign (1897 – 1898) and the Boer War (1899 – 1902). His position remained inspector of general cavalry in India from 1903 until 1906, when he became Director of Military Training at the war office.
In August 1914, when the war started Haig obtained the rank of Lieutenant General and was given command over the 1st Army Corps of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France and Belgium. Haig commanded his forces at Mons and was praised for his Ypres campaign in 1914. Later in the same year, Haig was promoted to full general and was given command of the recently enlarged BEF, under the supreme command of General Sir John French. The BEF was a small force of 100,000 men under the command of Sir John French, but it was well trained and equipped and had the advantage over the other armies as they had experienced field fire in the Boer War.
Britain joined the First World War when the Germans invaded neutral Belgium in August 1914. The BEF immediately were sent to France to...