Haig: The Evolution of a Commander (Military Profiles)


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He is the author of numerous books, including Passchendaele and the Royal Navy. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Would you like to tell us about a lower price?

If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. For years, Douglas Haig has been considered perhaps the most controversial military leader in British history.

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Today his career is at the center of a swirling historiographical debate concerning the nature of the First World War. The traditional school contends that Haig, like the majority of generals from both sides, were overmatched, hidebound relics of a bygone military age who could not come to grips with modern war. A new revisionist school contends that many Great War leaders, including Haig, were central to a phenomenal period of military innovation that laid the foundations for modern war.

This so-called learning curve led from the killing fields of the Somme to the protoblitzkrieg tactics of the Days Battles. However, as Andrew Wiest points out, in Haig was instrumental in winning one of the greatest victories in British military history. While the Days Battles often go unnoticed or unappreciated in the history of World War I, obscured by the failures of earlier campaigns, it was here that modern war came of age.

Read more Read less. Prime Book Box for Kids. Review "Andrew Wiest's brief and balanced analysis reaffirms both Haig's limitations and his significant contributions to Britain's greatest-ever victory on land. June 1, Language: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video.

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Please try again later. British General Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force in France for most of the First World War, was long reviled by historians of that conflict as a butcher and a bungler. More balanced recent scholarship suggests he, like the British Army, underwent a painful learning curve in transitioning from a small pre-war imperial policing force to the demands of a mass army engaged in total war on the Western Front.

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Andrew Wiest's extended essay is a summary of his evolution as commander of the BEF. Wiest runs at a brisk pace through Haig's pre-war career, that of a promising and well-connected cavalry officer who appeared to be open to innovation. Haig began the war as a corps commander; Wiest kindly gives Haig a pass on his involvement in the political machinations that resulted in his appointment as Supreme Commander of the BEF in December Haig applied a combination of stubborness and studied optimism to the nerve racking task of training an essentially new army in and while mastering the necessary tactics of trench warfare; of holding off the German Army while the French Army struggled with mutiny in ; and leading the series of offensives that broke the German Army in Wiest does not spare Haig his responsibility for battlefield mistakes and horrendous casualties, but insists he receive his fair share of credit for victory.

Haig was a revered figure to his veterans after the war, an attitude affirmed to this reviewer by the extensive display in his honor at the Edinburgh City Museum.

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A previous book that I read calls Haig a butcher. As the author states, this is a revisionist history, and it shows Haig as a thoughtful commander who was loved by his troops.

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It is a nice rebuttal to the negative image Haig has received. While the Hundred Days Battles often go unnoticed or unappreciated in the history of the First World War, obscured as they were by the failures of earlier campaigns, here modern war came of age.

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Haig's role in that transformation makes him the central figure of the war on the Western Front. Includes bibliographical references p. View online Borrow Buy Freely available Show 0 more links Related resource Table of contents at http: Set up My libraries How do I set up "My libraries"?

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