The His­tory Man

The Al­lan Massie truth looks is out back there on the con­tover­sial WWI Field­Mar­shal, Dou­glas Haig

SCOTS Heritage Magazine - - Contents - Words Al­lan Massie

Al­most ninety years af­ter his death, al­most a hun­dred since the end of the Great War, Field-Mar­shal Dou­glas Haig, the Bri­tish Com­man­der-in-Chief dur­ing World War One, re­mains a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure. Some, mind­ful of the hor­rors of the Somme and Pass­chen­daele, think of him as a ‘butcher’ who cal­lously drove men to their death in these ter­ri­ble bat­tles.

Far fewer re­mem­ber the se­quence of bat­tles in the late sum­mer and au­tumn of 1918 that broke the Ger­man Army, and which, cou­pled with the Bri­tish block­ade, brought Ger­many to the point of re­quest­ing an Armistice. It’s a safe bet that this last cam­paign, one of the great­est feats in the long his­tory of the Bri­tish Army, won’t get any­thing like the at­ten­tion next year that the Somme and Pass­chen­daele have re­ceived.

As it hap­pens I’ve just read the ex­cel­lent Pass­chen­daele: A New His­tory by Nick Lloyd, Reader in Mil­i­tary and Im­pe­rial His­tory at King’s Col­lege, Lon­don. He doesn’t down­play the ter­ri­ble con­di­tions

Image: An ex­cel­lent new his­tory of Pass­chen­daele has led Al­lan Massie to re­visit the ques­tion of Haig’s cul­pa­bil­ity for the vast Bri­tish losses in The Great War.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.