Steven Broomfield, on 03 August 2012 - 12:08 PM, said:
I've only just read this.
What an extremely unpleasant and un-necessary post.
Agreed Broomers, but it is typical of those with a closed mind and who, for some reason, believe Haig was directly responsible for every British death on the Western Front. One has to wonder how Steenie would have coped had he been CinC of the BEF; not very well I would think.
The whole controversy on Haig centers around the casualties the BEF suffered, with no recognition that the German Army, one of the best In the world, played a major part in causing that terrible death roll, or that every other army in the Great War suffered enormous casualties in the first of the industrial wars where weaponry had far outpaced the means of overcoming them.
It seems some people believe a major war can be won with minimal casualties; what Brian Holden Reid calls the "Vietnam Syndrome". A view he suggests is one in which people believe the main object in war is to minimize casualties, rather than win it. As a former soldier I am bemused at those who have never served in the services or fought in a war believe they are competent to pass judgement on those who have. Whether we like it or not, major industrial wars involve huge casualties on both sides, and to blame the generals shows an abysmal, or at best shallow, understanding of what is involved. To go to war with the aim of minimizing casualties is a false strategy with little hope of victory, and a waste of soldiers' lives.
Haig may not have been the perfect general, but he shouldered the awful responsibility of having to fight against one of the best armies in the world holding a very strong defensive system, on a front that had no flanks to turn, against the dreadful lethality of modern weapons, and yet made a major contribution to a victory that many Brits seem to ignore. He does not deserve the opprobrium heaped upon him by such ignorant, biased and dishonest authors such as Alan Clark and Denis Winter, who seemed more concerned with making a name for themselves than writing sound history.
Fortunately, more erudite and balanced works from Reid, Harris, Sheffield and others - including GAC - have redressed the balance based on sound research and an understanding of the issues confronting Haig, and have put paid to the views of Clark,Winters and Steenie.