Haig's views

Mine

On this page you will find some sources which are taken from Haig's reports, letters and diaries during the Battle of the Somme.

The Battle of the Somme started with the explosion of huge mines. The explosions were captured on film.

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The nation must be taught to bear losses. No amount of skill on the part of the higher commanders, no training, however good, on the part of the officers and men, no superiority of arms and ammunition [click for definition], however great, will enable victories to be won without the sacrifice of men's lives. The nation must be prepared to see heavy casualty lists.

SOURCE ONE:Written by Haig in June 1916 before the battle began.

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The men are in splendid spirits. Several have said that they have never before been so instructed and informed of the nature of the operation before them. 

The barbed wire has never been so well cut, nor the artillery preparation so thorough. All the commanders are full of confidence.

SOURCE TWO: Written by Haig on 30 June 1916, the day before the attack started.

Very successful attack this morning. All went like clockwork. The battle is going very well for us and already the Germans are surrendering freely. The enemy is so short of men that he is collecting them from all parts of the line. Our troops are in wonderful spirits and full of confidence.

SOURCE THREE: From a report by Haig on the first day of the attack, 1 July 1916

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