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