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Douglas Haig


Douglas Haig
(1861—1928)

First World War commander

This Sandhurst-educated son of a Borders landed family rose to become commander of the British armies on the Western Front in the 1914—18 war; as such, he was responsible for the policy of attrition which was followed to the exclusion of any other strategy by the British forces on the Western Front for three years. It cost the lives of almost a million British troops alone, and its use has been the subject of great controversy ever since. Haig was honoured after the war. His family had interests in the whisky industry, and he became a director of the Distillers Company Ltd until his death.

Field Marshal Earl Haig (Cassell... A biography of the commander-in-chief of the British Army during World War I, Field Marshal Earl Haig. The commander of the British Forces on the Western Front from late 1915 to the end of the war, Haig has been reviled and revered in equal measure. Was he a cold, aloof and oddly articulate man who was unconcerned by the staggering losses sustained during his offences on the Somme and Passchendaele? Or was he actually the best man for the job, a single-minded individual whose unwavering strength of purpose was crucial to eventual victory over Germany? Often critical of Haig, Philip Warner's biography nonetheless seeks to be fair. The portrait that emerges is of a flawed but, after his fashion, courageous individual who almost certainly achieved as much as anyone could have done under the circumstances - a man who was ground down by the burdens of leadership and who, in the years after the war, may well have hastened his own death by dedicating himself to the welfare of his former soldiers.

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