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Thread: Field Marshal Douglas Haig Would Have Let Germany Win, Biography Says

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    Field Marshal Douglas Haig Would Have Let Germany Win, Biography Says

    He is the most pilloried military leader in British history, caricatured as a butcher and a bungler who sent hundreds of thousands of men over the top to their deaths. Now a new biography pins a further damning indictment on Field Marshal Sir Douglas Haig. Late in the final year of the First World War, it argues, he was pushing for a peace that would have left Germany as the real winner of the war.

    According to Dr J. P. Harris, senior lecturer in War Studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Haig was not quite the uncaring monster of popular myth but nor was he, as some recent studies have suggested, a clear-sighted and imperturbable leader who should take the credit for Britain’s ultimate victory. Rather, he was a poor battlefield commander who “didn’t have the sort of intellect that could penetrate the fog of war”.

    In Douglas Haig and the First World War, published today on the 90th anniversary of the Armistice, Dr Harris argues that Haig’s failings led him to misread the strength of the German armies, counselling aggression when they were strongest in the middle of the war and caution as they weakened spectacularly in its final weeks.

    Haig became the leading advocate of a compromise peace in Britain, Dr Harris said yesterday. “He wanted to offer the Germans very, very, easy ceasefire terms in late 1918.” This would apparently have left Germany armed and in possession of its territorial gains in Eastern Europe.

    “He seemed to show no realisation of just what a serious defeat for Britain such a peace – which might have left Germany as the hegemonic power on the Continent – would actually be.”

    Among the arguments he cited were the weakness of the other Allied armies (the French were “worn out” and the Americans “disorganised”) and the threat of Bolshevism overrunning Germany if the peace terms were seen to be too humiliating. By 1918 Haig was “rather shaken, somewhat confused, subject to mood swings, oscillating in his strategic judgments and, at times, willing to abandon the pursuit of clear-cut decisive victory”.
    More:
    http://entertainment.timesonline.co....cle5123293.ece

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    Quote Originally Posted by Todesengel View Post
    “He seemed to show no realisation of just what a serious defeat for Britain such a peace – which might have left Germany as the hegemonic power on the Continent – would actually be.”
    Huh? Britain's empire was a colonial one, having a Germany as the hegemonic empire in continental Europe wouldn't have been a threat to them, if anything it would have helped them by distracting France and other potential colonial rivals.
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    The German Reich could have knocked out both France and Russia, the latter being reduced to a regional power and the former probably losing her independence. A lack of disunity, i.e. balance of power, on the continent would have immediately threatened the British Isles with a renewed naval arms race and, ultimately, a successful invasion attempt. This turned out to be a lesser threat than the glorious march into the abyss that followed two hollow victories and the dissolution of the British Empire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hauke Haien View Post
    The German Reich could have knocked out both France and Russia, the latter being reduced to a regional power and the former probably losing her independence. A lack of disunity, i.e. balance of power, on the continent would have immediately threatened the British Isles with a renewed naval arms race and, ultimately, a successful invasion attempt. This turned out to be a lesser threat than the glorious march into the abyss that followed two hollow victories and the dissolution of the British Empire.


    Maybe Haig remembered where his name came from.

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    I have read parts of a biography on Haig and he is always complaining of the incompetency of the commanders of both the British and French. Quite often, he says, command simply orders assaults with impossible deadlines and then will not release any reserves.

    Germany didn't even really "lose" WW1 from a military standpoint, but from a lack of unity and strong leadership within Germany.

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