The War on the Western Front and Why It Was so Lengthy

The War on the Western Front and Why It Was so Lengthy

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The War on the Western Front and Why It Was so Lengthy


1. Both sources A and B show similarities in the way that they show
the soldiers having to fight in the trenches (often filled with water
as shown in source A) and source A outlines the basics of what the
soldiers had to do "…You get peppered day and night…" Both sources
show the soldiers in their uniforms and armed with their weapons. In
source A the soldiers are shown smiling and sharing a joke whereas in
the photograph (source B) there is no smiling nor the sharing of
jokes. Source A is written for a cartoon and therefore would be
exaggerated so as to make it humorous. The sources are written at
different times so would be at different stages in the war. As source
A is written earlier this is when nobody really understood how the war
was no laughing matter with the amount of people dying and is perhaps
why the soldiers are shown happy and smiling. I would say that source
B is more reliable as it is an actual photograph from the time,
showing actual soldiers in an actual trench. However it sort of
contradicts with source A because of the happy vibe but in order for
the sources to agree further more information would be needed about
the conditions of the trenches.

2. Advertisements like this would have been published in 1915 as this
is when things on the western front wouldn't have been going too well
(Ypres, November 1915) and so this sort of advertisement would
encourage people to volunteer to serve in the war in order to make up
the lost numbers. Source C shows soldiers preparing for battle with
the caption 'Time for on more'. This is a form of propaganda as this
isn't really a battle scene but an ideal battle scene as you don't see
the bad conditions of the trenches that soldiers had to endure, so not
as to put off people from joining the war nor destroying peoples high
morale.

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The ideal battle scene makes the soldiers look brave and
heroic and if you smoke this brand of cigarettes you are like heroic
soldiers and would want to join the army, thus allowing the government
to accomplish their plans of getting people to volunteer to join the
army. The government would have wanted people to volunteer as
conscription was not introduced till 1916, a year later.

3. Source E supports D as they both Say how the tactics weren't good
enough for the opposition. Source D says 'Our war doctrine was thus
too summary…' and source E says 'Attempts at mass break-through…
cannot be regarded as holding out prospects of success…' Here both
sources are


saying that the British and French tactics weren't going to work well
against the opposition. Both sources say about how the Germans were
well equipped and strong. Source D says 'In the face of fire poured
upon them from every direction by invisible weapons' and source E
backs this up by saying 'A well-armed enemy whose morale is sound and
who is not seriously inferior in numbers.' Also source E backs up
source D by saying how there wouldn't be much chance of the war plan
succeeding. However source D is about the French tactics and source E
is about the British tactics. Nevertheless source E doesn't contradict
any of the information in source D yet source E only backs up source D
to a certain extent as much of the information in source D such as
actual tactics and about how the army were attacked 'from every
direction', therefore if more information was included in source E it
would back up source D even more.

4. This source from the diary of Field Marshall Haig is reliable in a
number of ways such as it being written for a diary. This would have
been his own private thoughts, not intended for publication so why
would he need to exaggerate? The source is written at the time of the
war so the memories would be fresh, not hazy and made up to fill in
the gaps. We already know that Haig was the leader of the army on the
western front at the Somme and he reckoned that if they carried on at
this rate Germany would fall within six months. This would have been
the situation at the time in 1917 as Politicians would have been
worried about the battle of Sommeand would have wanted to devise a new
offensive for the war.

Ways that this source is unreliable is that this is all Haig's opinion
and therefore doesn't make it correct. He thinks that Germany will
fall within the next six months, whereas the war didn't end until the
11th November 1918, over a year afterward. Haig doesn't want a new
attack as he thinks that this would be too costly.

I think that this source is more reliable than not because none of it
would be exaggerated as this is from a diary and it backs up our
knowledge of the Somme and how it was alarming Politicians and the
public back home, giving a reason for why Haig met the War Cabinet in
London. Also, it's not all just Haig's own opinion as he also includes
Lloyd George's opinion of 'The decisive moment of the war would be
1918.' Therefore this account isn't just one-sided.

5. There are a number of strengths of Source G as an interpretation of
the war on the western front, such as Black Adder gives a good insight
of how the soldiers would prepare for a battle such as The Somme. The
BBC would have had to have done a fair amount of research into the War
in order to make the programme as accurate as possible making this a
strength of the source. The characters in the programme are based upon
real people such as Geoffrey Palmer as Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig,
and so it is not all completely made up. Source D says 'Many troops
were put into action at once; they were feebly supported by artillery
fire…' and this was shown in the episode of Black Adder where the
soldiers 'went over the top' where they all went over through no-mans
land altogether without being sufficiently equipped.

This source had weaknesses such as it is a comedy programme and
therefore it has been exaggerated in order to make it funny. Another
weakness of this source is that the programme isn't from around the
time of the war and so it wouldn't be one hundred percent accurate
like perhaps a film such as 'The Battle of the Somme' which would have
been made at the time of the battle. Another weakness of this source
is that it doesn't cover anything about the actual battle of the
Somme, the fighting and how many men were killed.

I think that on the whole the source has more strengths than
weaknesses as it is also good visually to see what the trenches were
like and it is fairly accurate and doesn't contradict with our own
knowledge from the war and the other sources.

6. Sources H and I are useful in giving evidence of war on the western
front as source H goes into detail about how it was difficult to get
messages across the trenches without the use of a 'walkie-talkie'. It
goes on to tell us about how the soldiers had to cross enemy
boundaries dodging the shells that were constantly fired. They were by
then at that stage unreachable by the generals and so the soldiers
would face the same doom as the men before them as no message to stop
them could be passed on. Source I tells us about the British army
being 'Lions led by donkeys' implying that the generals had no idea
what they were doing and that the army who had the most ammunition and
most men were most probable to win the war. These sources give a lot
of additional information about the western front, about the faults
during the war.

However, it doesn't mention anything about the conditions the soldiers
had to put up with such as the trenches, nor the deaths people endured


which would all be evidence about war on the western front. Source H
is written in a book and could therefore be exaggerated, were
communications really that bad? Both sources are written a fair time
after the war and some information would have been forgotten which
would make these sources more useful.

7. The war on the western front lasted so long due to a number of
reasons. Firstly, the conditions of the trenches as shown in sources A
and B would have made many men ill and infected with all sorts of
diseases and so many men died in the trenches let alone the
battlefield plus these trenches would have taken so long to dig out,
at this point there would be no fighting.

Secondly, as source I shows, the generals weren't really sure on what
they were doing, such as the Battle of the Somme where they just
marched thousand of men across no-mans land in order for them to all
get killed.

Another reason for why the war lasted so long was that communications
between the trenches were a problem (source H). The generals found it
difficult to send orders to the soldiers before it was too late. The
generals also thought that the army with the most men and ammunition
would win the war which didn't really get any side anywhere.

Both sides lost many men in battles such as Ypres and The Somme so the
damage done to both sides would be equal and nobody would be winning
the war. The same was also with territory. Whatever one side lost they
would regain it back.

I think that it's not just reason that caused the war to last so long
but all of them contributed to the duration of it.
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