IBDP IAs and EEs on The Great War

IBDP History Internal Assessment                       

Was the Kindermord at Langemarck a fact?
Subject: History Standard Level
Total Word Count: 1944

A. Plan of Investigation

Was the Kindermord at Langemarck a fact? To investigate if a massacre of young students, as the German Oberste Heeresleitung claimed on 11 November 1914, did indeed occur a variety of sources will be consulted ranging from newspapers and official military communiqués from the time and books from both British and German authors. Key among these is Lagemarck: Legende und Wirklichkeit of Karl Unruh, a veteran from the Great War writing a detailed account of the battle that embraces the brutal truth of the battle at Langemarck decades after and the German communiqué stating that young regiments advanced against the enemies lines singing “Deutschland über alles” which was published in various newspapers as the Hochheimer Stadtanzeiger and was the origin of the myth at Langemarck. In order to investigate if the happenings at Langemarck were a myth or fact the analysis is going to concentrate on the specific age of the student soldiers, the number of student casualties and the fact that they are claimed to have advanced singing.

Word Count: 171
B. Summary of Evidence

Before the battle of Ypres the Germans were facing huge gaps in their western front lines between Lille and the Belgian coast since the III Reservecorp was the only force holding position after their victory at Antwerpen . In Germany many volunteers that also contained students were desperate to participate in World War One and wanted to be part of it. This was reflected in the command by the Prussian war ministry on 16. August 1914 to create six new Corps, which mostly consisted of volunteers that included students that were poorly trained and inexperienced . The total amount of German student volunteers in summer and winter of 1914 were 40,761. Therefore the XXII, XXIII, XXVI and XXVII Corps were sent to the western front and were made up of 120,000 soldiers . The four new Corps then joined together with the III Reservecorp and formed the new German fourth army, which was previously broken up and the troops were reinforcing the German fifth and sixth army .

The battle of Langemarck was part of the German attack on Ypres, which was launched on the 12th October 1914 . Ypres is a town located near the French border in the west of Belgium. The attack on Ypres intended to overtake British port channels and the Allied supply lines . As soon as the Germans and the Allies noticed the vital importance of this location they reinforced their troops rapidly which is known as “the race to the sea” . After the failure of the Schlieffen Plan in September 1914, which was marked by the German losses at Aisne and Marnethis this battle was the chance for German breakthrough into the French towns of Dunkirk, Boulogne and Calais . The opposing allied resistance was made up of four British Corps of the British Expeditionary Force, which were dragged out of the Arsainefront under the command of General French . Belgian troops were already present at Ypres and tried to resist the German attack as long as they could . Adding to that French military formations would join the battle during its course . At first the Allies tried to attack the Germans at various locations near the French border but since the German army largely outnumbered the Allied troops they dug themselves in the ground and tried to defend their position . Even though the Germans outnumbered the allies they suffered 100,000 soldiers casualties during the First Ypres.

The Langemarck battle itself occurred between the 21st and 24th October and was brutal . The battle was actually 5 km in the west of Langemarck in a town called Bixschoote, but the German Oberste Heeresleitung preferred Langemarck since it sounds more German . The German XXVI Corp under the command of the Commander-in-Chief Falkenhayn attacked Bixshoote from the east . The percentage of student soldiers at and around Langemarck was 18% of the whole army .  The German Corp advanced slightly at first but had to take in account huge losses thereafter and finally did not manage to break through the experienced Allied troops . Therefore the German army is claimed to be defeated in the battle . In the Langemarck battle 25,000 student volunteers died, which created the myth of the “Kindermord” . The British Expansionary Force recorded that they were facing school kids that ran into their machine guns at Langemarck .

The German Oberste Heeresleitung announced in a November 11, 1914 communiqué that, from October 22-24, young regiments advanced against the British, Belgian and French lines and achieved a breakthrough singing “Deutschland über alles”, later to become the German national anthem, in an incident known as the Langemarck “Kindermord“ . During the First Ypres German soldiers also sang “The Watch on the Rhein” while advancing against the enemies lines in order to prevent friendly fire .

Word Count: 637
C. Evaluation of Sources

The communiqué was published by the Hochheimer Stadtanzeiger on the 11.November.1914 and written by Guido Ziedler. Since it was published nearly two weeks after the battle, it sought to put a positive spin on what had been a disaster. The communiqué was "one of the most famous and repeated military bulletins of the war" in the words of Jaime Fisher. Therefore the source is very valuable since this communiqué was the origin of the Langemarck myth and I would not have been able to write this investigation without this essential primary source from the time. It is also the basis of any form of propaganda that aroused from the battle of Langemarck and ultimately encouraged patriotism in Germany. The “Kindermord” at Langemarck was especially used for propaganda during the rise of the Nazis . However the communiqué is also misleading since it is written in order to motivate the German population in the beginning of World War One and encourage patriotism. This is underlined by the emotive use of language in the communiqué. As an example it states “junge Regimenter” which emphasises the fact that the soldiers at Langemarck were of young age, which encouraged compassion within the German population.

Whereas the communiqué is the origin of the Langemarck myth the book Langemarck: Legende Und Wirklichkeit by Karl Unruh published in 1986 specifically intends to analyse the truth of the myth building on previous scholarship over seven decades  to provide "the most detailed account" of what actually happened at Langemarck. Unruh himself was a veteran of the war and served for Germany in the Second World War , providing him with a unique and intimate understanding supported by factual information to highlight the “brutal truth”  of the battle. He also uses a variety of sources ranging from military reports of the time to detailed accounts about Langemarck up to 1986, which emphasizes the detail Unruh works with in the creation of the book. His focus is specifically on the battle itself; indeed, the title states that he intends to challenge the “legend” of Langemarck. However, Unruh was also not a trained historian , which limits his research skills and historic understanding. Therefore the book concentrates on the battle of Langemarck without discussing politic and historic context to great extent.

Word Count: 382
D. Analysis

The Langemarck myth is of great historical importance since it was used as patriotic and nationalist propaganda during the First World War through to the end of the Second World War . Hitler writes about the battle in Mein Kampf, which was a key to Nazi propaganda, and portrays himself as one of the soldiers advancing against the enemy singing “Deutschland über alles” .

The defeat of the German army at Langemarck was demotivating and embarrassing already since they outnumbered the allies and if the population would gain knowledge of the happenings at Langemarck, they would start to feel ashamed. This was a reason to conceal the actual happenings and replace them with positive news from the western front, which would increase the Germans confidence during the war and create the myth . The German newspapers were covered with headlines about Langemarck after the 11th November 1914 . It appears very interesting that the battle of Langemarck was between the 21st and 24th October but the communiqué was only published on the 11th November, which underlines the questioning of Langemarck not being a fact but a myth.

The German Oberste Heeresleitung announced in the communiqué that the regiments at Langemarck advanced as they were singing “Deutschland über alles”. The historian Wilhelm Dreysse also states that the German soldiers were advancing singing this song . However the historian Karl Unruh states that there is no reference of the singing in contemporary descriptions of the battle, nor in a 1915 pamphlet about the List Regiment containing detailed battle reports about First Ypres . Adding to that there is only one account of soldiers singing during the battle of Ypres, which is noted in the official regimental history . However this is limited to the fact that the soldiers were singing “The Watch on the Rheine” and they did that to prevent friendly fire on Comrades . This limits the fact that the German national anthem under the Nazis was sung at the battle of Langemarck since there are no accounts other than the communiqué by the German Oberste Heeresleitung, which is clearly biased.

Furthermore the soldiers present at the battle of Langemarck were volunteers but these did not only include students. In the summer and winter of 1914 there were 40,761 student  volunteers . Even if all 40,761 student volunteers of summer and winter in 1914 were present at the battle of Langemarck they would only make up one-third of the four new created corps that were sent to the battlefield . Adding to that the 25,000 students who lost their lives at Langemarck seem to be a great amount of casualties at first. However when taking under consideration that the four created Corps contained 120,000 soldiers not counting the III Reservecorp that was already present in the north of Belgium it does not appear to be that big . Also the 100,000 casualties on the German side during the First Ypres, which lets us assume that there were many other soldiers present that were no students but fathers of families and recruited soldiers that lost their lives . However Unruh argues that the number of student volunteers appeared to be far more than it actually was inside the army because they were highly motivated and hence motivated the other soldiers . Also he points out the fact that the British stated that it appeared to them as if school kids ran into their machine guns because they looked so young, which again underlines the fact that many people thought that the German army almost only consisted of students . This would then result in the creation of the “Kindermord” at Langemarck.

Word Count: 613

E. Conclusion

The Kindermord at Langemarck portrays to us the image of young soldiers dying for their fatherland singing “Deutschland Deutschland über alles”. However this is not quite the case since there is no comprehensive account of the students singing, the students were not of a young age, the students only made up a part of the army and there were far more casualties of soldiers that were not students. This implies to us that the “Kindermord” was used by the Germans for propaganda reasons in World War One through to the end of World War Two, which increased nationalism and patriotism. On the other hand though the role of the students was vital in the battle of Langemarck since they were motivated and pushed the enthusiasm of the poorly trained army.

In conclusion the “Kindermord” at the battle of Langemarck is an exaggeration of facts that turned into a myth.

Word Count: 149

Total Word Count: 1944

F. Works Cited

Beckett, I. F. W. Ypres: The First Battle, 1914. Harlow, England: Pearson/Education, 2004. Print.

Dreysse, Wilhelm. Langemarck 1914; Der Heldische Opfergang Der Deutschen Jugend. Minden I.W.: W. Köhler, [193. Print.

Dithmar, Reinhard. Langemarck: Ein Kriegsmythos in Dichtung Und Unterricht. Ludwigsfelde: Ludwigsfelder Verl.-Haus, 2002. Print.

Fisher, Jaimey. Disciplining Germany: Youth, Reeducation, and Reconstruction after the Second World War. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 2007. Print.

Hirschfeld, Gerhard, Gerd Krumeich, and Irina Renz. Enzyklopädie Erster Weltkrieg. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2003. Print.

Hitler, Adolf, and Ralph Manheim. Mein Kampf,. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1943. Print.

Kester, Bernadette. Film Front Weimar: Representations of the First World War in German Films of the Weimar Period (1919-1933). Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2003. Print.

"Letzter Seufzer." Der Spiegel 9 June 1986: 89-91. Print.

Unruh, Karl. Langemarck, Legende Und Wirklichkeit. Koblenz: Bernard & Graefe, 1986. Print.

Weber, Thomas. Hitler's First War: Adolf Hitler, the Men of the List Regiment, and the First World War. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2010. Print.

Williams, John Frank. Corporal Hitler and the Great War: 1914-1918 : The List Regiment. London [u.a.: Cass, 2005. Print.
Zeidler, Guido. "Die Kriegslage." Hochheimer Stadtanzeiger 163 (11 Nov. 1914): 02. Print.

IBDP History Internal Assessment

Examination Session: May 2013
Word Count: 1,982

A.    Plan of the Investigation
Was Captain Turner To Blame For The Torpedoing of the Lusitania? To answer this, books published then and now will be consulted, which discuss the events leading to the sinking and the messages sent from the Admiralty to the Captain of the Lusitania on that day will be used. The actions and decisions made by the Admiralty will also be researched to examine Turner’s actions during the end of the Lusitania’s voyage. This investigation will not consider the various conspiracies associated with the sinking.
A critical source used is the minutes of the Mersey Inquiry as it documents the events leading up to the sinking and shows the immediate answers to questions about the activity on the Lusitania before and during the sinking. The second crucial source is ‘The Lusitania’s Last Voyage’ by Charles E. Lauriat, Jr., an American passenger aboard the ship, whose personal experience and perspective will be used to compare with the official inquiry’s conclusions.

B.    Summary of Evidence
The RMS Lusitania was a British Cunard luxury liner, the “largest and fastest vessel of its time” and like the Titanic “…the ship line [believed it] … unsinkable.” The Lusitania began her last voyage on the 1st of May 1915 from New York to Liverpool with William Turner as her captain.
On the 6th of May, at 19:50pm, the Lusitania received the first of many submarine warnings. The ship had been sailing at 21 knots, however due to heavy fog around 6:00am, it slowed to 15 knots. At 11:00am the fog cleared and the ship sped up to 18 knots, which though not her top speed, was still faster than German submarines. After coming out of the fog, Captain Turner changed course to a 4 point-bearing to find their exact location as he didn’t “…navigate a ship on guess-work.” In addition, if faster they would reach the Liverpool bar before it could be crossed due to tidal conditions, making them a target to submarines.
The Admiralty’s order to sail a mid-channel course wasn’t followed as the Lusitania hadn’t reached a channel yet, but was in the Celtic Sea. Also, in previews wartimes cruisers escorted merchant ships to safety and Turner was told the Juno would be their escort. However, shortly after noon, May 7th, the Juno was signaled to abandon her duty by the Admiralty. Admiral Coke in Queenstown, Ireland was instructed to warn the Lusitania, however failed to do so, leaving the Lusitania without knowing they were alone. A message was also sent to Turner about a zigzagging course used to escape submarines. However it wasn’t clear and therefore Turner thought it was only to be done once a submarine was spotted.
At 2:10 pm the Lusitania “…turned into the path of a…German submarine off the coast of Ireland…” and was struck on her starboard bow. Captain Turner tried to get the ship closer to shore, however when he tried to, he found the hydraulics had failed, the rudder was stuck and the engine wasn’t responding. Due to its tilt, only 6 out of 48 lifeboats were successfully launched. Like the Titanic, the Lusitania’s stern stuck above the water’s surface, rose and then slid under. In 18 minutes she was on the seabed, 18km away from Old Head of Kinsale, Ireland with 472 of the 1,257 saved.

C.    Evaluation of Sources
The Mersey Inquiry, started on the 15th of June 1915 in Central Hall, Westminster, London.
The Mersey Inquiry was conducted to find out what exactly happened and who is culpable for the sinking. As the minutes were taken during the five-day court, eight days after the sinking of the ship, it documents the questioning by the Attorney General and the immediate answers from Turner and other survivors about the sinking of the Lusitania. It’s critical to this investigation as it clearly illustrates the events before and during the sinking of the ship. Because it was conducted in the middle of the war, it must be considered in light of the Government’s vulnerability in regards to any perceived negligence or its role in carrying munitions from a declared neutral country. Furthermore, one must realize that the only information gained is from the answers to the lawyer’s questions. The only witnesses questioned, were ones the Admiralty knew didn’t have condemning information in regards to them, and documents and orders were manipulated so that the blame would not fall on the Admiralty. Some documents are still classified to the public and researchers today, which leads one to believe them to being incriminating.

‘The Lusitania’s Last Voyage’ by Charles E. Lauriat, Jr., a 2nd class passenger aboard the Lusitania, was published by the Houghton Mifflin Company in Boston and New York in 1915.
    Written as a reflection of the sinking, as well to publically criticize the Mersey Inquiry, Lauriat, being American, was not prevented by the British government from openly criticizing the Mersey Inquiry. The first part accounts the five days prior to the sinking, written before reading the official inquiry so as not to be influenced by outside opinions when coming to his own conclusions. The second part, most importantly for this investigation, contains his reflections on the events whilst fresh in his mind and written to ‘add details…to…answer questions…from reading Part One.’ A republication of a translated article from the Frankfurter Zeitung is in the third part, for the purpose of showing, what Lauriat felt was a typical German perspective of the sinking and their opinions on it. Lastly was the full written report from the Mersey Inquiry accompanied by Lauriat’s disagreements with the court’s decisions of blaming the Germans instead of Turner. His criticism of the Inquiry has been vital for this investigation as Lauriat gives opinions on the Inquiry and Turner’s sailing not tainted by politics.  His account of the events during the sinking may however not be accurate due to panic and confusion from the passengers during the sinking, affecting his perception of the Captain and his actions.

D.    Analysis
As commander of the Lusitania, Captain Turner came in for special attack for his handling of the disaster in the subsequent Mersey Inquiry, defending himself from the Admiralty’s accusation that he disobeyed their orders saying: “I consider I followed them as well as I could.” While Turner did not follow all of the Admiralty’s orders, Lord Mersey felt “[Turner] exercised his judgment for the best. It was the judgment of a skilled and experienced man…”
One charge was that Turner did not travel a mid-channel course which, while true, ignores the fact she had not reached St. Georges Channel yet, but remained in the Celtic Sea; the Lusitania was not sunk in a channel.  Turner, a skilled seaman, argued he had not disobeyed orders due to their geographical position.
    A second accusation concerned Turner’s failure to sail at a zigzag course causing the ship to be sunk. Again true, but Turner had still to find the ship’s position while misinterpreting the message he had received from the Admiralty about that course of action, believing he was only to follow that course if submarines were spotted. During the inquiry a message was read to Turner, which was different and clearer to understand than the one he had received explaining the zigzag course; the message had been rewritten for the inquiry to exonerate the Admiralty.  When the fog lifted Turner needed to find the ship’s position thus taking a four-point bearing, which Lauriat was told would take 30 to 40 minutes. The Lusitania was struck during this operation. Though this accusation was emphasized during the inquiry, Lauriat stated in his book: “It may be (though I seriously doubt it) that had he done so his ship would have reached Liverpool in safety.”  Lauriat criticizes Turner throughout his book, however states that he doubts the zigzagging would have guaranteed a safe journey.
A third accusation was that Turner had not sailed at full speed (21 knots). The Lusitania had in fact slowed down to 15 knots due to fog and not wanting to run aground. Once the fog cleared, their speed increased to a steady18 knots as Turner wanted to verify their exact location. Turner also estimated that a faster speed would miss the crossing at the bars at Liverpool due to tidal conditions, resulting in circling for hours and becoming an easy target to submarines. The Admiralty focus on the Lusitania’s speed was again dismissed by Lauriat: “…the steamer’s speed was of no significance and was proper in the circumstances.”  as the ship was still one of the fastest ships at the time.
Though the inquiry stated Turner was a skilled seaman, acquitting him, Lauriat argued “It would seem that Lord Mersey measures ‘skill and judgment’ by the number that were lost…” and concluded that Turner and his crew acted and negligently. Turner himself admitted he didn’t follow all the orders, however felt he did the best he could. The orders the Admiralty gave didn’t leave room for leeway and did not consider natural conditions such as tide and fog, which affected Turner’s sailing significantly.

E.    Conclusion
Captain Turner was not responsible for the sinking of the Lusitania and the deaths of her passengers. He was an expert sailor affected by unsuspected fog that slowed him down, the lack of clear information from the British Admiralty and the inexperienced sailors he had. The Captain was further more confused by the lack of escorts supposed to be waiting for them which he was told would be there to guide the Lusitania safely into port.
He was forced to disobey the Admiralty by decreasing the ship’s speed out of necessity so as not to run aground and to not reach the Liverpool bar at low tide, which would have made them an easy target for submarines.
After being torpedoed, the Lusitania was going to sink whether the crew and its captain were skilled or not. During the inquiry the Admiralty continuously tried to make Turner the scapegoat while ignoring its own culpability through providing a lack of information and guidance. This investigation thus concludes that Turner is therefore not guilty for the sinking of the Lusitania and the deaths aboard.

F.    Works Cited

Bain, George G. ‘Lusitania.’ Digital image. Library of Congress. Library of Congress, n.d. Web.
‘British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry (Day 1): Captain William Turner – Recalled.’ Lusitania Inquiry Project. 2004-2006. Lusitania Inquiry. 1915. Web.
Bruskiewich, Patrick. Lucy, the Shell Crisis and Special Intelligence. n.p.n.d. Print.
Denson, John V. A Century of War: Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 2006. Print.
Freedman, Russell. The War to End All Wars – World War 1. New York: Clarion Books, 2010. Print.
Hickey, Des and Gus Smith. Seven Days to Disaster, The Sinking of the Lusitania. Collins, 1981. Print.
Jackson, Jack. The Wreck of the Lusitania. London. 2007.Print.
Lauriat Jr., Charles E. The Lusitania’s Last Voyage. Houghton Mifflin   Company,1915. Print.
‘Secret Lusitania Evidence Shows Captain Admitted He Disobeyed Admiralty
     Orders’ The New York Times. November 5, 1919.
 ‘The Lusitania.’ The Lusitania Resource. Ren-Horng James WangWeb. 2003-2012. Web. November 5, 2012.
‘The Lusitania Sunk Off The Irish Coast By German Pirates’ The New York Herald. European Edition – Paris. Saturday, May 8, 1915.

Was Winston Churchill to blame for the failings at Gallipoli?

Plan of investigation     

Was Winston Churchill to blame for the failings at Gallipoli? To investigate this, the leadership of allied forces at Gallipoli at the beginning of 1916 will be the main focus, specifically the significance of Churchill to the failings of the campaign. Key sources such as the Dardenelles Commission’s report of events entitled “Conclusions” and Dan Van Der Vat’s The Dardenelles Disaster, selected because of the author’s extensive knowledge of maritime history. Other sources written by noted historians incorporating extensive research such as Ekins’s Gallipoli, A Ridge too Far will be analysed and comparisons drawn to understand the nature of the Gallipoli conflict and where the blame lies.     
Word Count: 107

Summary of evidence  

On the 31st August 1914 the First Lord of the admiralty, Winston Churchill believed that Turkey would side with Germany and asked the Chief of the British Imperial General Staff to draw up a plan to “Seize Gallipoli”. This was the first inclination that Britain was hoping to open a second front. It is argued that this move was designed to stop Germany from buying oil from their allies to the south. However, Churchill never mentions oil in his book World Crisis.  It was thought that the Ottomans would be unable to deal with the second front however they were severely underestimated and prepared inadequately with limited numbers and minimal resources . It was designed to put further strain on the German lines because the Turkish army would need assistance causing the German military to have to split again.      

Admiral Carden was the head of the British fleet anchored off the coast of the Dardenelles; he warned Churchill that it wasn’t a sound plan , however Churchill pushed forward. Leading to the 27th September 1914, a fleet of British ships forced entrance in to the strait causing the Turkish to close the strait to all ships, laid mines and switched off lighthouses . However, now that the first assault had been made and the Turkish were fortifying the area, the plan was rushed through the war office. They again were halted when Carden became ill and Rear-Admiral Robeck was put in charge.      Under the command of Robeck on the 3rd November 1914, the British fleet opened fire on the Turkish forts . The next assaults went well and the forts of Sedd-el-Bahr and Kum Kale fell.  Hamilton and a group of hastily gathered staff then went to the Dardenelles to try to draw up a plan of attack by land these would involve English Australian French and troops from New Zealand . On he 18th March 1915, Eighteen French and British ships attacked the Dardenelles forts. The attack failed resulting in the death of seven hundred sailors and the loss of three ships .  This was when the army finally stepped in lead by Hamilton during this time the war council didn’t meet and wouldn’t meet for 2 months .  This resulted in further disaster however this is when Churchill’s role ended and it was Hamilton that took over as the navy had been exhausted and there was little they could do to support the movement of troops along the beaches .      
After the failed attacks by the navy, the army where then deployed with limited resources. Ian Hamilton was deployed to the region on 17th May 1915 however because of the “reconstruction of the government” which meant that reinforcements were postponed for “six weeks”  . When the troops finally arrived Sir Hamilton was greeted by “troops who had never been under fire”.   

Carden suggested that the troops should land immediately however it was rejected by Hamilton as he stated “My knowledge of the Dardenelles was nil; of the Turk nil” . Again showing how ill equipped he was to dealing with the Turkish and the Dardenelles . At this stage the navy was still operational in the area and Kitchener used this to reject the calls for more resources to be deployed in the region.  He asked for submarines and the latest aircraft, which Kitchener responded with “Not One” .    
Word Count: 560                  

Evaluation of Sources  

Vat, Dan Van Der. The Dardanelles Disaster: Winston Churchill's Greatest Failure. London: Duckworth Overlook, 2009. Print.   
 Published in 2010, Van der Vat provides a focused account of the event, using Churchill as one of the major instigators of the disaster. It is valuable because it is focused solely on Gallipoli. Van Der Vat is a naval military historian so this is his area of the book covers grand strategy and where it can conflict with tactical demands and short-term goals. One concern is that Van Der Vat begins by describing Gallipoli as  “Churchill’s greatest failure” which leads one to question if he is purely writing to justify his argument. Another concern is that the book does not include a map which makes it difficult to follow the events clearly, especially for one not acquainted with the area or strategic considerations. The purpose of Van der Vat’s book was to inform readers about what was happening and not provide a biased account. This is valuable throughout the book as the author takes into consideration both sides of the argument. A limitation of this is that no real conclusion is established; however this allows the reader to create his or her own opinions of the disaster.       

The Final Report of Dardanelles Commission, British Dardanelles Commision,1917      
The official Dardenelles report titled “Conclusions” was published in 1917. A benefit of the commissions report is that it includes an official map of the area, which allows the reader to visualize the scale of the operation. Another benefit is it is an official document of the events therefore does not allow for interpretation and focuses on the facts of Gallipoli. A limitation of the report was that Kitchener had recently died; this meant that the report included little about Kitchener’s failings at Gallipoli. The purpose of this source is to come to conclusion on who was to blame for the failings at Gallipoli and to inform the people of the events. The report does have evidence showing that the expedition was poorly planned and that not enough consideration was given. It focused on Churchill specifically and his decision to attack Turkish ships without permission. Nevertheless the report is limited because it doesn’t give a definitive answer to who was to blame. It is a limitation because it does not provide judgement on the issues and leaves some areas uncovered. Furthermore Van Der Vat spends the majority of book exploring the history of Gallipoli where as only 100 pages actually focuses on the battle.   
Word Count: 367  


Dan Van Der Vat argues that “Churchill was a central figure in the Dardenelles disaster of 1915” , highlighting how Churchill was involved in the operation as well as the planning stages. Prior to Churchill’s involvement in the situation there was a stalemate on the western frontier and this was seen as many as a good opportunity to open up the “underbelly of the Central Powers” . In the report it is stated, “ sufficient consideration was not given to the measures necessary to carry out such an expedition with success” . This again places Churchill in the limelight, as it was his responsibility along with others to carry out the planning stages of the operation, which according to the commission failed the soldiers deployed in the region.      
Another aspect which contributed to the failure at Gallipoli was the disagreements between other nations such as Greece and Russia over how they would split Constantinople. This was before the Greek government was taken by a pro German regime; this again disrupted the plans for Gallipoli. Another aspect, which is not mentioned in the official report “Conclusion”, is that Kitchener didn’t want to take away any troops away from the Western Front. This shows how blame may have been unduly put on Churchill, as the British Government weren’t willing to put blame on Kitchener because he had recently died. Due to the delays it allowed the Turkish to enhance their defensive positions, it also meant that German officers had time to take control of the situation. So arguably the demise of the English fleet and soldiers can be contributed to the slow planning of not only Churchill but also the foreign allies.   Churchill became involved at multiple levels during the operation, some of which he should not have been, particularly politically when acting beyond his powers to present “his Cabinet colleagues with faits accomplis,”  showing how he exceeded his designated role. The media also played a significant role in highlighting how Churchill was failing. Churchill’s colleagues leaking information about the fighting in Gallipoli supported this. The fiasco at Gallipoli almost ended his entire career as he was dismissed as Admiral of the navy .  
There were many issues with Churchill and the people he reported to, for example Lord Kitchener. Kitchener told Churchill before the operation that there were not enough troops available for the combined mission. This is supported by the commissions report in which was stated “resistance would be slight and advance rapid” . This was not the case as the troops involved didn’t have the necessary support to fully fulfil their role as they lacked the support from reinforcements or detailed reconnaissance of the area. Additionally Churchill’s blunders were when he ordered the navy to bombard the Turks giving “warning of a possible attack” . This then lead to “great strengthening of Turkish defences” .  At this stage it is extremely hard to look beyond Churchill for the failures at Gallipoli due to the lack of planning and overstepping in political jurisdiction.      
An issue supported in both sources is the lack of planning made by officers and especially Churchill. The commission stated, “the Turks were known to be led by German officers” ; during the planning stages this should have received much more attention. It became apparent that more resources would be needed ; Churchill believed that these resources would be forthcoming however the British government knew that they would have to “limit their expenditure in the Western theatre of war” . This condition was never fulfilled” showing how unprepared the allies were for the additional front.    
Churchill may have been able to prepare for war in a more effective manner or realized that it would have been better to put a halt to the mission all together. Dan Van Der Vat also writes about the lack of contingency plans that were available and that if the initial plan failed there was very little to fall back on which again places the blame back on Churchill.     
Word Count: 667      


This paper has come to the conclusion that the main reason behind the failings of Gallipoli was the lack of planning by Churchill. However saying this one must take into consideration that others contributed to the failings as well such as Lord Kitchener and Admiral Carden. With regard to the planning of the operation this must fall solely on Churchill because it was his lack of respect for the position and the “hands on” approach that caused the rushed air about the operation.  On the other hand it can be argued that Churchill was made into a scapegoat for what happened at Gallipoli. His allies such as Lord Asquith support this and Lloyd George offered no support and in the case of Lord Asquith even prevented him from speaking in his own defence, which was the standard procedure.      The planning stage of the operation was clearly not sufficient starting on the 31st of August until the invasion on 27th of September. Not only was there not sufficient planning on how to defeat the Turkish, the opposition was underestimated, when Churchill wrote “a good army of 50,000 men and sea power”  shows how the British thought of the Turkish and how they could be defeated. The failure to plan and provide sufficient support to the officers in charge giving them to few men caused the failure of this operation. These two roles were high on Churchill’s agenda, meaning that because both were done poorly, Churchill must take responsibility for the failings at Gallipoli.    
Word Count: 252
List of Sources

  Ekins, Ashley. Gallipoli: A Ridge Too Far. Wollombi, N.S.W.: Exisle, 2013. Print.  Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: H. Holt, 2001. Print.  Hart, Peter. Gallipoli. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.  Humphry, Derek. Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying. Eugene, Or.: Hemlock Society, 1991. Print.  Laffin, John. Damn the Dardanelles!: The Story of Gallipoli. London: Osprey, 1980. Print.  Massie, Robert K., and Robert K. Massie. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. New York: Random House, 2003. Print.  Overy, R. J. Why the Allies Won. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995. Print.  Putnam, George Palmer, and George Haven Putnam. Putnam's Handbook of Universal History; a Series of Chronological Tables Presenting, in Parallel Columns, a Record of the More Noteworthy Events in the History of the World from the Earliest times down to the Present Day, Together with an Alphabetical Index of Subjects. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1914. Print.  Simpson, Michael. A Life of Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham: A Twentieth-century Naval Leader. London: Frank Cass, 2004. Print.  Stanley, Peter. Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2005. Print.  Stevens, William Oliver, and Allan F. Westcott. A History of Sea Power. New York: Doubleday, Doran &, 1942. Print.  Stokesbury, James L. A Short History of World War II. New York: Morrow, 1980. Print.  Vat, Dan Van Der. The Dardanelles Disaster: Winston Churchill's Greatest Failure. London: Duckworth Overlook, 2009. Print.  Whitehouse, Arch. Amphibious Operations. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963. Print.

How Significant was the Chinese Labour Corps in the Formation of China’s New National Identity leading up to the May Fourth Movement?  


The role of the Chinese Labour Corps is a topic curiously neglected in history, both in terms of its aid to the Allied powers as well as its impact on China. Rather than offering an analysis of their role in the Great War and their relationship with the West, this essay will concentrate on the role the Chinese Labour Corps played in China’s struggle to find foothold on the international stage. This results in the question “How significant was the Chinese Labour Corps in the formation of China’s New National Identity leading up to the May Fourth Movement?”
The investigation is structured in the following manner: first giving an introduction to China’s political situation and the background of the Chinese Labour Corps so as to set the question in context and provide information that is vital in the understanding of the circumstances. Secondly, the opposing motives of China and the Allies are illustrated, followed by the role of education in Europe and the impact of returning scholars and workers in China. Finally, the conclusion to the question is approached and described.
 A variety of sources are used, offering both Western and Chinese viewpoints from contemporary and modern times. Notably, Chinese historian Xu Guoqi’s Strangers on the Western Front prominently features, being the first and only comprehensive study into the Chinese Labour Corp’s impact on China itself. 
Additionally, given that most were illiterate peasants, there is a scarcity of primary sources from the labourers, while any work they may have produced in later years does not seem to have been recorded.

Western historians generally agree that China’s participation in the First World War was, for the most, insignificant. Chinese contribution as an Allied Power was not of value to the Allies, having joined the war in its later years and lacking military impact. What is often overlooked, however, is the role of the Chinese Labour Corps (CLC), and its involvement in shaping China’s national identity. Significantly, the May Fourth movement marked a fundamental turning point in history, in which a country previously set on Westernisation made a decisive turn against the West and towards Communism. While the cause of this decision is largely agreed to have been their betrayal at Versailles, one cannot understand the impact this duplicity had on the people and government, without understanding the changing national sentiment that was spreading in China, fuelled by the hope put into the CLC. Hence, this leads to the question “How significant was the Chinese Labour Corps in the formation of China’s new National Identity leading up to the May Fourth Movement?”

The impact of the CLC is still significant today – in a time where Chinese labourers are becoming increasingly undermined despite their importance in bringing the Communist party to power, their role in merging societal divides and making the first step towards internationalisation should not be overlooked. Moreover, the study of this seemingly obscure chapter in history is vital to understand the Chinese sentiment that was to shape the coming world order.

China’s Political Situation after the 1911 Revolution
The fall of the Qing dynasty after the 1911 Chinese Revolution marked an end to China’s time as an “embalmed mummy”, an imperial state with an unchanging society. The country witnessed an influx of ideas that were to shape their political motives during World War I. The Republic of China was founded, and, by 1912, Yuan Shikai ruled as president, later crowning himself emperor. 
Having effectively established a dictatorship, his death in 1916 left a political vacuum that left the Beijing government in a purely symbolic role, while the true power was seized by warlords, defined by James E. Sheridan as “one who commanded a personal army, controlled or sought to control territory, and acted more or less independently.” Politically speaking, the revolution had not been a success – C.P. Fitzgerald, living in China at the time, described the situation as “an incomprehensible confusion. No principles appeared to be in conflict; no contest between democracy and tyranny was visible, no climax and no conclusion.”
However, Harold Tanner, writing 90 years later, argues that in this confusion, there was newly found intellectual freedom that was to have a major impact in the formation of political ideologies.  As Tanner argues, “although the 1911 revolution failed to establish an effective government and did nothing at all to address rural poverty or other social issues, it did open the way for a period of intensified intellectual, cultural and social change. He argues that, “musicians, artists, educators and writers searched for the causes of China’s continued weakness and for ways to construct a robust modern Chinese national identity.” Students were sent to Europe and America to study; “their exposure to foreign countries only served to strengthen their nationalist consciousness.” Our Western understanding of nationalism did not exist as such. “Nationalism in its modern form was a Western import into China.” Heavily influenced by internationally educated students and intellectuals, China’s domestic policies took a pro-Western turn, with educational reforms that included Western studies, and a general westernisation that encouraged the rejection of Confucian values and instead promoted the idea of a new, “Young China”. The republic thus strived for equality with the Western powers, and saw the outbreak of World War I as potentially beneficial to this cause. As put by Rana Mitter, “The ideas of nationalism which had developed among a small elite exposed to European thought in the late nineteenth century had by now spread to many of the urban youth, who for the first time realised that their future lay in the modern, globalised world, utterly different from the old Confucian that lay in ruins.”

The Chinese Labour Corps
I) Background
China’s hands were tied in terms of the extent of the involvement they could have in the war, looking for ways to aid diplomatically that would, however, have enough impact to be recognised and benefit from. In June 1915, General Liang Shiyi and friend Ye Gong Chuo devised a scheme guaranteeing Chinese participation without officially breaking the country’s neutrality. Aware of the need for manpower on the Western Front, the General drew up a scheme he called “yigong daibing” , sending Chinese labour workers to aid the Allies. This move was to demonstrate China’s sincerity in its newly found internationalism, while hoping to benefit both financially and economically.  The plan was approved and officially put in place at the 1916 War Committee in London, where the “Chinese Labour Corps” was founded. The workers were to serve in France, supported by non-governmental foreign companies, to avoid any accusation of China’s end to neutrality.  
Previously, Chinese had travelled to work as so-called “coolies”, under contract or treaty provisions, “tempted to do so due to poor conditions in China and because of the comparatively high wages offered.” As one descendant recalls decades later, “They got no more than three to five silver dollars a year from toiling in the fields. Now, ten silvers for each month, who could resist the temptation?”  Additionally, it was a chance for sheltered locals to gain experiences overseas.
French and British organisations advertised the CLC through media and old British missionaries.
Those under French recruitment were offered a completed 5-year contract, after which the workers could decide whether to stay or return to their homeland, and were promised equal rights to French civilians. They were to be placed well behind the frontlines and work in camps and factories.  Those under British recruitment were disadvantaged – “each labourer was contracted to work for three years, but the army could terminate the contract after one year, giving six months notice. Compared to the contract workers signed with the French, the terms of the British were not at all favourable.”  Nevertheless, the prospective benefits for the workers overshadowed the unreasonable contract terms, and the plan was successful – over the two remaining years of the war, the Allies shipped an estimated number of 140 000 “coolies” to Europe.

II) China’s Motives
Historically, China had always sought distance from the West, considering themselves superior and regarding European materialism with contempt. As early as 1717, Emperor Kangxi noted “there is cause for apprehension lest in centuries or millennia to come China may be endangered by collision with the nations of the West.” As argued by Harry Gelber, “China’s rulers distrusted foreign traders, especially Western ones, as liable to disturb the empire’s domestic peace, however much China needed the flow of foreign earnings.” There had been a long history of struggles between China and the West, most notably the Opium Wars against Britain that spanned from 1839-1860. Consequently, the general feeling within the population was one of increasing hostility as Europe’s presence in its country became more pronounced, earning them the name of the “foreign devils.” Harrington argues that the Boxer Uprising in 1900 “can be attributed directly to Chinese hatred of foreigners and foreign interference in their country. (…) In short, the Boxer Rebellion was a last grasp attempt to throw off the foreign yoke and preserve the Chinese culture, religion and way of life once and for all.” However, Leifer argues it was  “necessary to adapt to Western ways if China were to strengthen itself and once again acquire the power and wealth to repel aggressors and re-establish its significance as a major centre of power and culture in the world.”
Chinese historian Xu Guoqi speaks in favour of this claim, arguing that “the Chinese (…) had been obsessed with one thing and one thing only since the turn of the century: how to join the world community as an equal member.” He point out the domestic benefits awaiting China through Westernisation: key figures in the Chinese government were seeking to work towards modern reforms for the Chinese population and its industry. “Social elites such as Li Shizeng and Cai Yuanpei believed that the nation needed citizens who had learned from abroad to propel reform.” The reason behind sending thousands of Chinese to France was the expectation that, upon return, “they would have an enormous impact on Chinese society.” The war provided the perfect opportunity for Li and his fellows to re-enforce their labour education plans. In their collective memo to the Chinese government, they argue that the recruitment programme would significantly develop Chinese national identity and secure a new position in the world. “Chinese labourers in France would be in the vanguard of this trend of learning from the West.”

As both sources confirm, China had faced a major shift in attitude and was now looking to re-establish itself. Disconnected from domestic European politics, China did not have any reason for an interest in what was happening on the European stage other than selfish motives. Consequently, this paradoxical reluctance to affiliate with Western materialism but longing for modernisation resulted in what Leifer calls an “anti-Western Westernisation.” By the outbreak of war in 1914, China was a country whose government was focused on international prestige to counteract their “historical frustrations” of inequality on the international scene. While obviously militarily inferior, regaining their status diplomatically seemed the best plan. The labour supply was important for Chinese international relations, not only as a means of winning a seat in the post war peace conferences, but to work towards equal treatment and respect, including the removal of foreign privileges in China.

III) CLC’s Role for the Allies
British historian Brian Fawcett emphasises the fact that Chinese labour overseas was not in the least uncommon, and was consequently considered a practical measure, rather than a symbolic gesture. Fawcett reasons that, “as the war progressed, Britain and her allies required more manpower for their forces, so releasing those men who were unloading necessary supplies and war material.” This is supported in a July 1916 speech by Churchill, Home Secretary at the time, addressing the House of Commons and laying out the reasons for British support of the labour plan: “I would not even shrink from the word Chinese for the purpose of carrying on the war. These are not times when people ought in the least to be afraid of prejudices. At any rate, there are great resources of labour in Africa and Asia, which, under proper discipline, might be the means of saving thousands of British lives and of enormously facilitating the whole progress and conduct of the war.” Clearly, the Allies saw no consequent obligations in the matter, lacking to give a clear indication or settlement of potential Chinese repayment for their efforts.

When compared with Chinese sources, however, a misunderstanding between China and the Allies, and Chinese over-expectation, is revealed.  In an emotional attack against the Allies, a 2009 documentary on the CLC, commissioned by the government-run China Central Television (CCTV) takes a stance against the Allies. Claiming that China’s vehemence in its engagement with the Allied powers had no impact on their view of China, CCTV goes on to say that Britain and France accepted their proposal of the CLC for purely practical reasons without consideration of China’s diplomatic aims. This is not untrue - initially, Liang Shiyi’s proposal had been turned down on the grounds that any Chinese participation would only complicate matters. Similarly, Xu Guoqi adopts a cynical attitude towards the Allies, consistently portraying them as selfish and inconsiderate. While France saw the plan as hugely beneficial, Britain feared China’s involvement in a victory, perhaps entitling them to land previously occupied by Germany and the allies – “Chinese participation would therefore only cause geo-political complications and was ultimately detrimental to British interest.” 
Unsurprisingly, both Chinese sources focus particularly on what they deem racist and inhumane behaviour against the Chinese labourers, striving to find fault in Allied conduct. While there is reason to suspect an exaggeration of facts, particularly in the case of CCTV, being under governmental control, the sources valuably illustrate the strong emotional ties that China had, and continues to have, to the idea of the CLC – and the implications this popular sentiment may have had in the build up to the May Fourth Movement.

Treaty of Versailles and the Controversy of their Impact in WWI
While China’s military participation in the war had indeed been minimal, their labour aid proved arguably successful for the Allied advantage. Particularly sensitive towards the role of the CLC in China’s first steps towards internationalisation, high hopes were riding on the sacrifices the CLC had made for the war and their significance in the country’s future. “In a telegram to the Chinese minister in London on January 25th, 1917, the Foreign Minister openly linked its labour scheme with its larger plans,” stating a list of conditions, of which the most important was that “Britain would help China secure a seat at the post war peace conference.” The Chinese arrived at the Paris Peace Conference with high expectations to regain its lost territory of Shandong, which included the port city of Qingdao, and finally enter the international scene as equals.

However, in his memoir, Lloyd George called China’s war contribution “insignificant.” Unknown to China, Japan had made a secret deal with Britain and France in 1917 that transferred German colonies in China to Japanese control in the case of an Allied victory. Indeed, the Allies never saw China’s role as important or worthy of acknowledgement. The few primary sources available, such as the derogatively named book “With the Chinks”, by former CLC lieutenant Daryl Klein, reveal a patronising attitude towards what Klein calls an unthreatening “race of Peter Pans, never having grown up.” More recent sources, such as Michael Summerskill’s “China on the Western Front” tend to gloss over the unpleasantries, elaborating instead on intercultural friendships.

A study of Chinese sources reveals an utterly different approach towards the importance of the CLC. Regularly emphasising the Chinese “betrayal” and their national importance, China refuses to comply with the Western view of the CLC’s insignificance. In the first extensive study of the CLC, only recently published in 2011, Xu Guoqi claims that, “from the day the labourers were recruited, France and Britain were not honest with them. They were promised by France and Britain that they would not be sent to the battle zones. But many Chinese died from the hostile bombing, precisely because they worked near the front. Nowhere in their contracts was it suggested that they would be subject to military rule, yet military supervision was exactly what they had to deal with.”  He goes on to argue that, “Chinese labour and Chinese sacrifices in the war were brushed aside by the West.”  Both Xu’s book and the CCTV documentary not only strive to justify their claim for territorial compensation, but also endeavour to highlight the CLC’s influence on Chinese nationalism.

Consequently, there was a monumental outcry in the country when the Treaty of Versailles denied China Shandong, instead transferring the territory to Japan. After an official protest, the Chinese delegation refused to sign the document.  There was a strong feeling of betrayal by the West, particularly by the American President Woodrow Wilson, whose promise of the right of self-determination in his Fourteen Points had been interpreted as a reference to the Shandong problem.
In Beijing, students met in the capital and drafted a series of protest resolutions in what would be the start of the May Fourth Movement. As argued by Michael Dillon, “These controversial Shandong clauses of the Treaty of Versailles were to become the cause célèbre for patriotic Chinese and led to the radicalisation and politicisation of members of the intelligentsia who had hitherto been focusing on cultural, linguistic and literary reform.” This was the turning point for China’s future politics, turning its back on its strive towards westernisation – ultimately, it had been due to “Wilson’s failure to resolve the Shandong question, that Chinese intellectuals first decided to turn to Soviet Russia.”

The CLC’s Impact on China after WWI

I) Worker’s Education in Europe
Marilyn A. Levine argues the workers “did not fulfil the expected foreign policy objective” set out by the government, having achieved no further recognition by the Allies. However, Levine’s view is limited – not looking at the broader picture, namely the impact of the CLC on Chinese society. While having failed internationally, the CLC was to shape national identity by integrating scholars and labourers. The social divide between intellectuals and uneducated workers was great, with the majority of the population illiterate and ignorant to world affairs. The CLC marked the first organised contact between scholars and labourers. The Chinese YMCA, an “independent organization allied with the world movement” coincided with China’s pursuit of national identity and early efforts to join the world community as an equal member. The YMCA saw themselves in an imperative role for the workers in their global education and literacy. As written in one of the Association’s volumes, “They (the workers) would exert great influence upon China on their return. To help them to imbibe the true Christian spirit is to lay a good foundation for China’s future, which means so much to the future of the world.” In 1918, the International Committee of the YMCA recruited Chinese students who had been educated and lived in France, Britain and the United States to come and work for their fellow countrymen. The focus was less on theology, but on the teaching of the current world situation and the workings of international relations to the workers. Organised efforts, including lectures by Chinese scholars, were made to explain the Allied reasons behind war, China and the Chinese workers role in it, Western civilisation and the relationship between China and America. 
To encourage labourer participation, workers wrote and submitted pieces on topics like “Chinese labourers in France and their relation to China”, “What is the Republic of China?”, “Why is China weak” and “How to improve education in China.”  When the Shandong question came up, many labourers submitted letters using “rational words or angry sentences to express their strong opposition to giving Shandong to Japan.” Most importantly, the collaboration between scholars and workers would be revolutionary. Scholar Yan Yangchu recalls: “I had never associated with labourers before the war … we of the student class felt ourselves altogether apart from them. But in France I had the privilege of associating with them daily and knowing them intimately. I found that these men were just as good as I, and had just as much to them. The only difference between us was that I had had advantages and they hadn’t. During the war in France, it seemed that I was teacher to the labourers, but actually it was they who educated me.”

With a large percentage of workers illiterate and oblivious to the world and China’s history, their education in Europe was a turning point for the education of the poor working class, and the relationships formed with the scholars proved mutually beneficial. Both groups had always lived fundamentally separate, lacking contact or understanding of each other. Historians such as Summerskill and Levine only provide restricted analysis of the CLC, focusing primarily on their war contribution or their failed international impact, with only brief mention of the intelligentsia’s presence. It is only Chinese sources like Xu who extend the view to focus on their true importance, namely the domestic impact of this new relationship. Undoubtedly, this link was of vital importance for the formation of the workers’ and scholars’ ideas, with which they would both return to their homeland.

II) Action Taken by Workers and Intellectuals in China
Upon their return to China, the workers worldview had been effectually altered, having experienced the West at war, first hand. Influenced by ideas that they had picked up in Europe from Chinese intellectuals and locals, the labourers were cognizant of new political and social ideologies.  Xu Guoqi claims that, “as a consequence, they wanted to do their share in shaping the new world order and improving China’s status in it.” Labourer Fu Shengsan wrote an article entitled “Chinese Labourers in France and their Contribution to the Motherland”, published in the “Chinese Labourer’s Weekly”: Chinese labourers “had not really understood the relationship between an individual and a nation before they came to Europe. When they witnessed the Europeans fighting for their country in the Great War, their own nationalism and patriotism was aroused as well.” Labourers were determined to educate others with the knowledge gained in Europe – Their experiences “helped them realize that Westerners were not superior to the Chinese, making them confident that China might become as strong as the West.” Upon their return to China, the politically awoken labourers took active interest in their domestic politics and their rights. CLC returnees had a profound effect in China itself. In Shanghai a syndicalist group called the Chinese Wartime Labourers Corps was formed. In Canton, returnees created 26 new unions “regarded as the first modern unions in China” These unions had a significant impact on local workers, influenced by the returnees’ ideas that inspired them to fight for their rights. In the early 1920s, union members frequently held strikes. The government was requested to make systematic plans for returnees, and devised a plan called “Anzi Huiguo Huagong Zhangcheng “ which made use of the technical skills workers had acquired in Europe and assigned them suitable jobs as a means of driving their economy. 
However, while the workers had changed attitudes and new political motivation, being mere labourers, their impact was only felt locally. The spread of their national influence was therefore left up to the CLC intellectuals. Returning scholars had not been left untouched by their experiences, and it was ultimately them, inspired by the labourers, who changed China’s national identity. As Xiaorang Han argues, “Chinese intellectuals in the revolutionary period were deeply concerned about rural China and the Chinese peasantry, believing that villages and peasants were at the heart of their political programs for changing both rural China and China as a whole.” Most notable is the famous educator Yan Yangchu, known for his work in mass literacy and rural construction in China. Yan returned from the CLC convinced of the worker’s potential power and feeling responsible for their further education. What distinguished CLC intellectuals, whether Communist or not, from other scholars, was their political, rather than purely academic, drive.  Unlike previous education plans, their campaigns were politically motivated. The mass education of those underprivileged was, in their eyes, the solution to China’s “acute national crisis.”
Essentially, the labourers were tremendously significant on China, but primarily through their contact with the intelligentsia. Comparing the achievements of returned workers with accomplishments of the intellectuals, the impact of the latter is clearly greater. While undoubtedly the workers supplied the foundation for the scholars’ political agenda, the influential changes were made by those with greater capability to do so.

The CLC represented China’s drive for internationalisation and the changing national identity, in which workers played an increasingly important role. The May Fourth Movement marked the beginning of a new national era. Workers and intellectuals alike fuelled the sentiment during that time, spreading patriotism and learning through China. Nevertheless, one must keep in mind that the workers were, ultimately, only workers. Upon their return, they could exert no monumental changes except to spread the word to fellow labourers and organise local campaigns. That is not to say they were insignificant–the CLC was a symbol of nationalism and political entity.  Their main importance lay, however, in their influence over intellectuals who were to transform the country. The CLC bridged the gap between the labourers and scholars in a way that merged society closer than it had ever been. The study of this affiliation shows the irony of how the intelligentsia laid the foundation for worker’s political strength. Thanks to this relationship, workers gained an education that only reinforced their growing power, allowing them to become politically involved and helped them realise their strength – an attitude that would prove essential in the rise of Chinese Communism.

Word Count: 3989 

 Mackerras, 110  Roberts, 6  ibid, 355  Fitzgerald, 52  Tanner, 420  Mitter, 36 – 37  Wasserstrom, 85  Roberts, 335  Mitter, 36  Fawcett, 34  Literally translated as “labourers in the place of soldiers” Xu, 15  “Chinese Labour Corps During World War I.” New Frontiers. 
China Central Television. CCTV 9, Beijing. 3 December 2009. Television.  Fawcett, 33  “Chinese Labour Corps During World War I.” New Frontiers. 
China Central Television. CCTV 9, Beijing. 3 December 2009. Television.  Britain’s history with China proved helpful – up to 1906, Shandong had had a small armed 
force of 533 locals set up by the British called the “Chinese Corps” that had played a role in many 
of Britain’s Asian conflicts. Furthermore, the recruitment centres the British had used for Chinese labourers to South Africa were located there and still in good condition. Ibid.  Interestingly, the Chinese word for “coolie” is the Chinese kǔ (meaning “suffering”) 
and lì (meaning “power”)  Fawcett, 34  “Chinese Labour Corps During World War I.” New Frontiers. 
China Central Television. CCTV 9, Beijing. 3 December 2009. Television. A former teacher from Shandong recalls the reason behind his decision to become a coolie:
“Who was winning the war did not interest me. I saw in this notice an opportunity I had not 
dreamed would be mine. Then and there I resolved to become a coolie myself in order to visit 
these foreign countries. Xu, 50  “Chinese Labour Corps During World War I.” New Frontiers. 
China Central Television. CCTV 9, Beijing. 3 December 2009. Television  ibid  Xu, 124  A British governmental report claims that out of all contracts made with the Chinese, this one “was, from our point of view, the most satisfactory. It gave us power to hold them for a long period of time with the option of getting rid of them in a moderately short time” Summerskill, 94 – 95  Kuß “Rezension von: Guoqi Xu, Strangers on the Western Front: 
Chinese Workers in the Great War”  Wasserstrom, 96  Gelber, 155  ibid  Hanes, Sanello, 13  Bickers, 5  Harrington, 7  Leifer, 26  Xu, 2  As an intellectual and politician who had studied and lived in France, Li praised France 
as a “model republic”, and encouraged Chinese to go overseas to learn from the West. 
In 1902, Li and fellow politician Wu Zhihui had already considered sending ordinary Chinese 
to Europe, seeing the education of common people as the best way to reform China. Xu, 200  ibid  ibid  Chen Duxiu, later to be one of the first leaders of the Chinese Communist Party,
 regarded the war “as a struggle against imperialism – an issue, he felt consistently, 
that was the most pressing matter facing China. Elleman, 142  ibid  Xu, 2 . Already in 1914, Yuan Shikai had offered to aid Britain in joint operations 
against German positions in Shandong, including the port city Qingdao, only 
to be turned down by the Allies. Tanner, 440  Xu, 125  Tanner, 441  Fawcett, 33  Xu, 27  “Chinese Labour Corps During World War I.” New Frontiers. 
China Central Television. CCTV 9, Beijing. 3 December 2009. Television.  ibid  In fact, only after the staggering 400,000 casualties at the Battle of the Somme did Britain decide to take up the offer. Crampton, Lee, 21  “Chinese Labour Corps During World War I.” New Frontiers. 
China Central Television. CCTV 9, Beijing. 3 December 2009. Television.  ibid, 125  Xu, 125  Lloyd George, 134  Macmillan, 342  Klein, 31  Xu, 241  Xu, 240  There is still major controversy surrounding the amount of Chinese labourer casualties, 
with Summerskill writing of 1834 deaths in France, 279 at sea, and 32 untraceable, out of 
94,500 recruitments. (Fawcett, 50)
The Sunday Times however, quotes British government figures saying that out of the 93,474 
workers, 91,452 returned to China, 1949 died in Europe and 73 on the ship back home.
(Hamilton-Peterson. Chinese Dig Britain’s Trenches. The Sunday Times. in Fawcett, 50) 
Meanwhile, the Chinese government claims 145,000 recruitments and over 20,000 deaths. 
(CCTV. “Series: The Chinese Labour Corps during World War I” China Central Television, 
2009. 5. November 2012. )  The delegation had requested to sign the treaty “with reservations”, however Clemenceau turned this down on the grounds that Germany may ask to do the same. Andelman, 276  On first hearing the news, David Andelman provides an account of a Chinese delegate “flinging himself on the floor in a fury of frustration” whilst quoting Wilson: “You can rely on me.” ibid.  ibid  Dillon, 176  Elleman, 137  Xu, 241  ibid, 195  ibid, 175  ibid, 177  ibid, 185  “The education programme included classes on subjects such as English, 
French, history, mathematics, Chinese, and geography, among other subjects.” 
Ibid, 190  One of the most prominent and effective tools in their education was the 
Chinese Labourers’ Weekly, founded by scholar Yan Yangchu. This included short 
news bulletins in Chinese that kept the labourers informed of international events 
and later reported on what was happening at Versailles for the many who remained
 to clean up the battlefields after the armistice. Ibid, 206  ibid, 207  ibid, 208  Xu, 209  Obviously, their location in Europe gave them direct contact with locals and Allied soldiers 
and officers. While they were mostly confined to their camp, the Chinese workers still came into 
contact with Westerners from nearby villages. “Some labourers formed attachments with French 
women and often times children were born. At a later date they returned to China with their wives 
and children. The exact number is not known, but French sources quote 30 000, which appears 
excessive.” Fawcett, 50  ibid, 153  ibid  ibid  Lamb, 47  ibid  ibid  Translated as: “Regulations on Employment of Returned Labourers”  Xu,  Han, 1  Also known as James Yen, Yan later also went on to engage in mass education 
and rural reconstruction in other parts of Asia, gaining popular recognition for it. 
The China-raised American author Pearl S. Buck published a book of interviews with
Yan called “Tell the People; Talks with James Yen About the Mass Education Movement” 
In 1985, the Chinese government officially acknowledged Yan’s contribution to Mass 
Education and Rural Reconstruction in China. Hayford, 30  Han, 1 

IBDP Extended Essay
Research Question:
To what extent was Haig responsible for the massive casualty count on the Somme?

Exam Session: May 2018
Word Count: 3988


The Somme was an imperative offensive to the British war effort to prevent a French collapse at Verdun and break the deadlock in Europe. It totaled a devastating 420,000[1] casualties to 620,000 casualties which was a total of 21%-31% of the total British casualties in the Great War in a relatively short period of time (less than 5 months)[2]. Orthodox views generally paint this loss at the Somme as devastating and detrimental to the British war effort, and put the blame on Field Marshal Haig, citing Strategic incompetence, callousness and logistical failures. This essay will investigate to what extent Haig’s contribution to the body count can be acquitted through four main issues as argued by Hew Strachan and Gary Sheffield. These issues entail an untrained army, artillery issues, new technologies and a lack of communication, with analysis of Haig’s strategies as supporting evidence. I will be using Pritzker Literature Award Winning Historian Hew Strachan in particular in this essay to analyze the impact of Haig on the Somme as I was able to interview him personally about the subject.  I will be investigating this as it has been a great point of contention for many decades and has massive historical ramifications if the BEF actually did employ a donkey to lead their lions.

Untrained Army:
The BEF at the Somme was as Sheffield described, “an army that went from being a professional force to an army of inexperience soldiers” in the span of a few weeks. [3] Sheffield attributes this to Kitchener’s call for volunteers to join the army and the introduction of conscription, which meant that people who had been normal people weeks earlier were now expected to be a highly trained and organized unit. [4] This issue was compounded by a staff meeting between the British and French generals that  decided that the battle would start on “July 1st at the absolute latest”[5]  instead of Haig’s planned date of august, giving him much less time to prepare and train his soldiers. Even Haig himself explicitly argued with other officers for a later date of august for this very reason, as he cited one of the three of his main goals to be “train the divisions” and he continued to argue that more time was needed to effectively prepare the soldiers.[6] However, due to the state of the French army in Verdun it was deemed impossible to postpone the date of the assault any longer, leaving Haig to command an army of barely trained soldiers. Haig even contacted Kitchener warning him that the soldiers he commanded were not an army “but a collection of divisions untrained for the field”[7]. Even Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson, two very vocal critics of Haig agree that the men that would fight for Britain at the Somme were inadequately trained, citing the lack of resources, officers and equipment as the issues that plagued preliminary training programs in the UK.[8] What was arguably the most detrimental factor however when it came to the lack of training was when it was applied to artillerymen, who were so poorly trained that when it came to the day of the assault, many of their shots were often off target.[9] This as Prior and Wilson argue was highly detrimental due how imperative the bombardment was to the success of the Somme offensive, outlining how the barrage was intended to subdue German machine gun placements and provide cover for advancing British infantry.[10] Prior and Wilson speculate that the poor training on the parts of the gunners in tangent with the limited number of guns and proper ammunition meant that a favorable “creeping barrage” was unable to be adopted, and thus caused a great deal more casualties.[11] However Prior and Wilson do criticize Haig for not halting all the large scale assaults the artillery issues had been remedied and cite his insistence on a continued assault as one of the main reasons for the high body count.[12] However as explained before, Haig in this situation was forced to mold his strategy based on the contextual limitations of the time, as Hew Strachan argues that France was pushing for continual assaults on German lines as to ease up pressure on Verdun.[13] Here it can be seen that Haig’s “army” was not properly prepared for the Somme, and that some of the casualties can be attributed to the lack of preparation and not Haig’s strategic incompetence. Haig was limited in the options that he had and due to the date of the assault being far closer than he had originally anticipated, he did not have the time properly train and organize the army that he had been given. Despite this Haig has still been criticized for his lackluster use of artillery and his inability to adapt to new technologies.
Artillery Issues
The introduction of large scale artillery usage at the Somme was subject to some growing pains, as the British had only recently started incorporating artillery operations of this scale at the beginning of the war.[14] These issues were very apparent at the battle of the Somme, with one of them being just the general lack of artillery. Anthony Richards explains that the BEF did not have enough Artillery to provide a devastating “storm-like attack” that Rawlinson and Haig desired, instead settling for a long drawn out bombardment, which of course as Richards states “eliminates the element of surprise” which gave the Germans a long time to prepare for any assault that was preceded by this bombardment. [15] The issue of the scarcity of artillery is exemplified by there being a gun for every 20 yards at the Somme, whereas in previous battles there had been as much as 5 per yard.[16] Compounding this many of the high explosive shells used were of extremely poor quality, so much so that according to the Andrew Roberts and Simon Norfolk around 35% of all British shells fired were duds, which they explained may have been caused by overworked contractors who were pressured by the recent 1915 Shell Crisis.[17] Due to the poor quality of shells however many failed to go off, which meant nowhere near as much damage was caused to German entrenchments that could’ve been done, making the bombardment that was so imperative to a successful British assault so much less effective. Hew Strachan also argues that the British shell crisis of 1915 cause an overwhelming reliance on shrapnel to target infantry in the open, which caused shortages in high explosive shells, further exacerbating the already paling situation to which the artillery was facing.[18] As Strachan explained to me, the abundance of shrapnel shells in contrast meant that Haig was forced to use these shells to bombard the enemy instead of using explosive rounds, which as earlier reconnaissance revealed, would be highly ineffective due to the German usage of concrete shelters.[19],[20],[21] These things together meant that the preliminary bombardment even though effective in some areas, where the enemy artillery and defenses had been subdued, was largely ineffective and failed to completely silence the Germans. To make it even worse the bombardment had displaced the wire in such a way in some areas that made it more difficult for the English and French forces to advance, it also made them easy targets for the German defenders.[22] Prior and Wilson cite a combination of lack of planning on Rawlinson’s part in the secondary stage of the bombardment, pressure from General Head Quarters and a generally poorly supplied artillery branch.[23]           

Here we can see that the concept of the bombardment was sound, and that it was weighed down by logistical issues from poor quality shells, to the lack of correct shells. Andrew Roberts argues that this was the main reason as to why the Somme took such a turn for the worse, and he explains that it should not be Haig that should be blamed, as he limited in terms of resources. This was all while he was still being pressure by the French to keep the attack going, it would seem that the failure artillery bombardment had very little to do with Haig, but more the poor quality control on the shells, and the impacts of the British shell crisis of 1915.[24]  Worryingly however, it appeared that Haig was unaware of the issues plaguing the artillery. Stating that “the wire has never been so well cut, ‘nor artillery preparations so thorough” the eve before the battle, providing a concise testimony to Haig’s ignorance[25]. John Terraine offers a relatively controversial explanation to this as stated by Phillip Langer, in that Haig appeared to be delusional by the fatal British tendency to “look on the bride side” when it came to conflicting reconnaissance reports[26], many Historians including Hew Strachan however view this explanation as rather puerile.[27] This does somewhat present Haig as rather far too optimistic, or incompetent, as he himself was not able to notice that the artillery preparations would be inadequate in supporting the infantry assault. Regardless of why Haig either refused to recognize these shortcomings or didn’t, it wouldn’t have mattered.[28] Hew Strachan explains that the BEF was essentially under the control of the French army at that time and even if Haig had noticed an issue with the artillery assault he couldn’t have remedied the situation, both due to previously mentioned supply issues and Haig’s obligation to continue the assault.[29]  However further indicating to Haig’s possible ignorance is that Haig had sent trench heavy repair equipment with his troops in anticipation of the capture of the trenches on the first day of the Somme, as he assumed they would’ve been damaged by the artillery strikes[30]. This led to a bloodbath. The English forces that had been sent out to capture the German positions were caught in no man’s land on the barbed wire that Haig’s bombardment had failed to destroy, this meant the slow walking British infantry were easy pickings for the well positioned German gunner placements that had been unaffected by the ineffective bombardment[31]. The heavy equipment made it difficult for any advance and even retreat, a soldier-historian General Edmonds wrote that the equipment made it “difficult to get out of a trench, and impossible to move much quicker than a slow walk, or to rise, or lie down quickly”. [32]As a result of this the casualties were immense, ranging up to 64,000, with at least 18,000 killed. [33] This particular mistake made by Haig has been criticized for decades, even by popular culture such as the show Blackadder, who reserved some of their satire to explicitly mock Haig’s stupidity:[34]

Melchett: Now, Field Marshal Haig has formulated a brilliant new tactical plan to ensure final victory in the field.
Blackadder: Now, would this brilliant plan involve us climbing out of our trenches and walking slowly towards the enemy sir?
Darling: How can you possibly know that Blackadder? It's classified information.
Blackadder: It's the same plan that we used last time, and the seventeen times before that.
Melchett: E-E-Exactly! And that is what so brilliant about it! We will catch the watchful Hun totally off guard! Doing precisely what we have done eighteen times before is exactly the last thing they'll expect us to do this time! There is one small problem.
Blackadder: That everyone always gets slaughtered the first ten seconds.

This source being rather valuable as it outlines how Haig’s infamous strategies at the Somme
So it would seem that although Haig was unable to change the overall issues that plagued the artillery and was forced to work with it, he still made some errors that potentially cost the lives of even more soldiers. Here it can be seen that he was in fact responsible for some of the casualties, but mainly the criticisms of Haig when it came to the logistical failures of the Somme, were largely out of his control. However Prior and Wilson do outline how Haig at some early points throughout the Somme campaign made detrimental decisions, for example in an assault on Gommecourt on July 1st 1916 in which his decision to ignore Rawlinson’s warnings of insufficient artillery support and the likelihood of disarray and disorganization led to a significant loss and little ground gained.

Lack of Communication
Haig and Rawlinson had a number of disputes when it came to strategy, exemplified by the ‘grind strategy’ Haig is criticized so heavily for after being forced to be adopted by Haig after Rawlinson failed to adhere by Haig’s “clearly expressed concept of operation” and failure to capture key territories that were at the times poorly defended by the Germans such as the High wood and the Delville wood[35]. In addition, Rawlinson failed to draw upon Hubert De La Goughs reserve forces and ignored him completely upon the prospect of being able to capture key territories that could’ve turned the deadlock. Rawlinson essentially “hung aimlessly in the fourth army HQ” and failed to brief his generals on potential threats and opportunities[36]. This thusly does take some of the blame away from Haig, and makes his actions seem reactionary. Hew Strachan however does explain that this strategic dissonance between Haig and Rawlinson with their discrepancies in “bite and hold” and “penetration” tactics may have affected losses “beyond the end of September as the weather worsened”[37] and this is where the losses “become harder to justify”[38]. This Strachan explains is one of more justifiable accusations of Haig due to his inability to co-ordinate and communicate on an “operational level”[39] as Haig continued heavy bombardments that were most affective for the bite and hold strategy “even though the breakthrough still affected Haig’s thinking”[40].  Another communicational issue that plagued the Somme was the length of the lines of command, as Sheffield explains it, “orders had to be relayed to thousands of men across hundreds of miles of frontline”[41] manually. This mode of giving orders was highly inefficient and hampered operational synergy, due to it being impossible for commanders to lead at the same time because the orders would never be given to all the commanders simultaneously. This made parts of the battle extremely disjointed, as men in the trenches would rarely use radio or telegraph to communicate with their local commanders, generally using runners or carrier pigeons to carry orders from place to place.[42] This is very clearly exemplified by Prior and Wilson in their book The Somme, where they source a highly valuable first-hand account of one of the skirmishes at Contalmaison, outlining the various communicative issues that resulted in the failed capture of the area.[43] The officer cited disjointed co-ordination between neighboring units, who failed to mount a simultaneous assault and “no proper liaisons between units and those on their flanks”. He also explained that they were unable to co-ordinate with artillery to form a coherent plan as how to provide proper suppressing fire in tangent with the attacking infantry, this was mostly put down to archaic artillery officers that were present with each unit, yet had trouble actually reaching artillery command. [44] In addition to this, there were false reports given by the observation balloons that could not be verified due to the lack of portable radio on the battlefield, Sheffield attributes the seemingly incoherent loss of lives at the Somme to this, and not Haig.[45][46] Haig could do very little in terms of coherently giving orders, due to the technological limitations of the times, he was unable to micromanage the front lines and mount organized offensives of this scale due to this.
New Technologies

Haig’s critics outline that he very rarely used modern tactics or equipment e.g. Tanks and Mustard gas, they say that Haig was very stubborn in this aspect, and since he was a cavalryman stuck to traditional methods. However, this is simply untrue. Haig, according to Edward M. Spiers, an expert of chemical warfare requested both tanks and gas shells, yet received them in insufficient quantities during the Somme offensive and thus was unable to effectively utilize them.[47] Haig noted that the French had had a gas shell since 1916, and pressed for one, apparently ‘badgering’ the British government for one according to Spiers, yet as mentioned received minimal quantities, thus putting British forces at a technological disadvantage against an already well entrenched enemy.[48] This effectively debunks the notion that Haig was so stubborn not to use modern technology or equipment, the notes that Haig didn’t use these may just originate from the fact that Britain couldn’t or wouldn’t supply an apt amount of modern equipment.  The other major issues were with reconnaissance planes, although they were highly important to determining enemy positions, strengths, trench locations and combatant locations they were also highly limited. William Philpott explains that success rates of air reconnaissance and the general usefulness and clarity of the photography captured by these aircraft were highly variable, and when coupled with weather limitations, they were exceptionally difficult to use.[49] Philpot argues that for a majority of the war reconnaissance data had to be had to be handed to artillery emplacements manually, meaning after a recon run pilots would have to land, process the images and then hand them off to artillery officers for them to start bombardments again.[50] This is another reason as to why Haig was forced to adopt a more intermittent and less constant artillery barrage strategy, due to the technological limitations of the time. This did mean that casualty counts were usually higher, yet again the variables were out of his control and he was incredibly limited by these factors.

Haig’s Strategy

       Many of Haig’s critics were those of a political background. Lloyd George, Prime Minister at the time and the Secretary of State for war, criticized Haig as being rather tactically simplistic, going so far as to say “I never met a man in a high position who seemed to me so utterly devoid of imagination”. Paul Ham argues with access to British National Archives however, that according to letters between the two and documents concerning their affiliation that Lloyd George had an ongoing feud with Haig and may be biased in this aspect and that he continually “frustrated his plans without actually stepping in”[51], and wrote that George Lloyd was “scheming, untruthful and self-serving”[52] in regards to Haig, as George knew that he would be blamed for the human cost of the battle if it were to come as Nick Lloyd puts it[53]. In short, the intended purpose of George Lloyds public criticisms of Haig was to divert blame from him onto Haig instead to save face.  Linking from this historians including Sheffield and Hew Strachan have distanced themselves from the political agendas of those who criticized Haig at the time. They argue, as he did himself, that the massive loss of life was completely necessary and was unavoidable, and that he was unable to alter his strategies in short time frames due to French pressure.  To possibly support this, according to several German accounts of the battle of the Somme, the constant unperturbed offensive that Haig was insistent on continuing thoroughly wore out the opposing German forces. So much so that even General Ludendorff noted that “The German army had been fought to a standstill and had been worn out”[54]. His assault was also not without German casualties, as historians such as Prior and Wilson argue that the casualties were 230,000 men however this is hard to take at face value since it is taken from a controversial source “The Unthinkable: The Military Dead of the Great War” which does not source any tangible evidence to support the argument[55],[56]. However it is important to note that Prior and Wilson are regarded by many historians including Sheffield to be very reputable and well researched historians.[57] Montefiore however, argues with access to British and German military archives that the allied losses were around 623,000 while German losses numbered around 680,000[58]. Sheffield argues with this data that it is safe to say that Haig’s offensive was not a complete failure, as he managed to drain Germany of well-trained soldiers, the will to continue fighting and perhaps most importantly, the loss in faith in German high command. Even Captain von Hentig of German General staff noted the dramatic fall in confidence within the army, considering the Reichsleadership[59]. Sheffield in fact argues that the BEF offensive on the Somme wore out the German fighting force faster than the Germans wore out the French at Verdun and “its overall quality had declined” due to the offensive[60]. The war had become a war of attrition, in which Haig had to cripple Germany, a state with limited resources due to British blockades. In this sense his offensive was successful, as Germany lost vital manpower, in which they could not sufficiently resupply and retrain due to the attritional constraints. These attritional restraints being the lack of raw materials present within German occupied territories, and the fact that the Allies had innumerable forces from their colonies that could easily be conscripted, while Germany was left with only its core states.[61]  This of course led to far higher casualties, as the grind strategy that Haig had adopted called for a constant barrage of men to break up German front lines and drain them of resources. Going against most other accounts however Prior and Wilson argue that at no point except for early august in the Somme campaign did Haig ever adopt a “wearing out” strategy. Haig believed that offensives were won by decisive battles, which goes against his own attritional warfare at the Somme, showing that Haig may have been attempting decisive victory’s, yet showing up short and achieving very little. In effect Prior and Wilson say “Haig was in denial” about the reality of warfare on the western front. He believed in swift cavalry offensives, and due to the fact that that was nigh impossible in a war riddled with trenches, barbed wire and machine gun placements was essentially backed into the only corner that netted results, constant assaults. In this we can see Haig not as an attritional general by choice, yet one by circumstances and that he originally intended to utilize a far outdated method to fight in the Somme.[62]  Many apologists for Haig also make it clear that merely replacing Haig, would almost certainly, not have led to a more favorable outcome. Since of course, he was merely a cavalry commander that only had experience in Colonial conflicts, yet that was the case for all the Commanding Officers of the British Army. They had never experienced a war of this scale, and certainly had no more experience with the new technology and industry being implanted into the war. Thus simply, ‘replacing Haig with someone cleverer’ would probably not have resulted in “minimal losses” as Hew Strachan explained to me[63]. The Allies had to apply constant pressure to Germany, in a feverous war of attrition and essentially not let them advance an inch and gain momentum, thus any other Field Marshal would very likely taken the same approach as Haig did, since he would have also been pressured by the French to mount an assault.


In conclusion Haig can be partially acquitted from being completely responsible for the casualty count at the Somme. Haig was forced by his allies to commence an assault that his army was not prepared for, with artillery that was not equipped or trained to deal with enemy fortifications. The technological limitations of the time made it difficult for Haig to micromanage the battlefield and effectively direct artillery support, while also being forced to adopt a grind strategy due to the nature of trench warfare. Nevertheless, this coincidentally would ultimately be the best course of action. Haig however can be blamed for a distinct lack of operational aptitude, as Hew Strachan explained to me and for being “far too imaginative” with his unrealistic battle plans that perhaps caused even higher casualties, and finally for his disagreements with Rawlinson that cost many thousands of lives.[64][65]

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[1] Sheffield, G.D The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army. London: Aurum Press 2011. Page. 194, 197.  [2] Sheffield, G. D. “The Aftermath.” The Somme: a New History, Cassell Military, 2004.  [3] Sheffield, Professor Gary. “Has History Misjudged the Generals of World War One?” BBC IWonder, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq2y87h#zy3wpv4.  [4] Sheffield, Professor Gary. “Has History Misjudged the Generals of World War One?” BBC IWonder, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq2y87h#zy3wpv4.  [5] Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. Page 50  [6] Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. Page 50-51  [7] Philpott, William James. Bloody Victory: the Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century. Abacus, 2010.  [8] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 57  [9] Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. 53  [10] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 155  [11] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 155-6  [12] ibid. Page 156  [13]  Strachan, Hew. “The Effects of Haig's Leadership.” The Effects of Haig's Leadership, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 7  [14] Sheffield, Professor Gary. “Has History Misjudged the Generals of World War One?” BBC IWonder, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq2y87h#zy3wpv4.  [15]  Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. 53  [16]  Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. 53  [17] Roberts, Andrew, and Simon Norfolk. “A Bold New History of the Battle of the Somme.”Smithsonian.com, Smithsonian Institution, 1 July 2016,  [18] Strachan, Hew. The First World War. Vol 1: To Arms. Oxford Univ. Press, 2001. Pages 992-1105  [19] Strachan, Hew. “The Somme: Haig.” The Somme: Haig, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 05  [20] Sheffield, G. D. The Somme: a New History. Cassell Military, 2004.  [21] Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. 82  [22] Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. 74  [23] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 155-56  [24] Addington, Scott. “The Battle of the Somme.” Scott Addington, Scott Addington, 1 July 2010,  [25] Pois, Robert August, and Philip Langer. Command Failure in War Psychology and Leadership. Indiana University Press, 2004. Page 130  [26] Pois, Robert August, and Philip Langer. Command Failure in War Psychology and Leadership. Indiana University Press, 2004. Page 130-31  [27] Strachan, Hew. “The Somme: Haig.” The Somme: Haig, 5 Oct. 2017.  [28] Strachan, Hew. “The Somme: Haig.” The Somme: Haig, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 3  [29] Strachan, Hew. “The Somme: Haig.” The Somme: Haig, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 7  [30]Taylor, A. J. P. The First World War: an Illustrated History. Penguin Books, Limited, 2012.Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence  [31] Taylor, A. J. P. The First World War: an Illustrated History. Penguin Books, Limited, 2012.Based on Official Documents by Direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence  [32] Gilbert, Martin. The First World War: a Complete History. Phoenix, 2008. Chapter 14  [33] Richards, Anthony. Somme: a Visual History. Imperial War Museum, 2016. 89  [34] Boden, Richard, director. Blackadder: Back & Forth. Roadshow, 1999.   [35] Sheffield, Gary. The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army. Aurum Press, 2012. Page 172  [36] Sheffield, Gary. The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army. Aurum Press, 2012. Page 171  [37] Strachan, Hew. “The Effects of Haig's Leadership.” The Effects of Haig's Leadership, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 15  [38] Strachan, Hew. “The Effects of Haig's Leadership.” The Effects of Haig's Leadership, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 16  [39] Strachan, Hew. “The Effects of Haig's Leadership.” The Effects of Haig's Leadership, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 12-13  [40] Strachan, Hew. “The Effects of Haig's Leadership.” The Effects of Haig's Leadership, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 14  [41] Sheffield, Professor Gary. “Has History Misjudged the Generals of World War One?” BBC IWonder, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq2y87h#zy3wpv4.  [42] Sheffield, Professor Gary. “Has History Misjudged the Generals of World War One?” BBC IWonder, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq2y87h#zy3wpv4.  [43] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 124  [44] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 124  [45] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 124  [46] Sheffield, Professor Gary. “Has History Misjudged the Generals of World War One?” BBC IWonder, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/guides/zq2y87h#zy3wpv4.  [47] Spiers, Edward M. Chemical Warfare. Palgrave, 2014.  [48] Spiers, Edward M. Chemical Warfare. Palgrave, 2014.  [49] Philpott, William James. “Three Armies.” Bloody Victory: the Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century, Abacus, 2010.  [50] Philpott, William James. “Three Armies.” Bloody Victory: the Sacrifice on the Somme and the Making of the Twentieth Century, Abacus, 2010.   [51] “Did the Hideous Carnage of Passchendaele Gain the Allies Anything?” The Spectator, The Spectator, 27 July 2017, www.spectator.co.uk/2017/07/did-the-hideous-carnage-of-passchendaele-gain-the-allies-anything/. Paul Ham  [52] Ham, Paul. Passchendaele: The Battle That Nearly Lost the Allies the War. Vol. 1, Bolinda Audio.  [53] Lloyd, Nick. Passchendaele: a New History. Viking, 2017.  [54] Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh. Somme: into the Breach. Viking, 2016. Page 512  [55] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 301  [56] Afflerbach, Holger. “THE UNTHINKABLE: THE MIILITARY DEAD OF THE GREAT WAR / L’IMPENSABLE: LES MORTS MILITAIRES DE LA GRANDE GUERRE.” European Science Foundation, 2 July 2008. (Note the document has since been removed from its web address)  [57] Sheffield, G. D. The Somme: a New History. Cassell Military, 2004. Title Page  [58] Sheffield, G. D. “The Aftermath.” The Somme: a New History, Cassell Military, 2004.  [59] Hentig, Hans von. Psychologische Strategie Des Großen Krieges. Carl Winter, 1927.  [60] Sheffield, Gary. The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army. Aurum Press, 2012. Page 34  [61] Sheffield, Gary. The Chief: Douglas Haig and the British Army. Aurum Press, 2012. Page 34  [62] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. Page 307  [63] Strachan, Hew. “The Effects of Haig's Leadership.” The Effects of Haig's Leadership, 5 Oct. 2017. Line 18  [64] Prior, Robin, and Trevor Wilson. The Somme. ReadHowYouWant, 2016. 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