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World War I
British General Haig



British General Haig
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.75

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    posed, questionable, controversial, theory, cavalry, homeland, effective, reality, tested, highly, impressed, born, title, history, flying, powerful
     content words:    Sir Douglas Haig, World War I., Royal Military Academy, Military Training, First World War, Army Corps, British Expeditionary Force, Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, British Home Forces


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British General Haig
By Jane Runyon
  

1     Sir Douglas Haig was born in Scotland in 1861. He would grow to be one of the most powerful and controversial generals in World War I. He attended the Royal Military Academy in England only one year. He went from there to the 7th Hussars as a cavalry officer. The cavalry believed that the only way to win a war was from the back of a horse, riding into battle. He served nine years of his early military career in India. He came back to his homeland at the beginning of the century. In 1906, he became the Director of Military Training in London. It was his job to put together an army. Rumors were flying throughout Europe of a threat being posed by German forces. He was to make sure the British army was ready in case the German threat became a reality. Having accomplished this task, he was sent back to India where he took charge of the Indian army.
 
2     The First World War began in August of 1914. Haig returned to England where he took charge of the 1st Army Corps, a branch of the expeditionary army Haig had formed. After the first year of the war, it was decided that the commander of the expeditionary army was not going to be very effective. This commander was replaced by Haig. His title was Commander in Chief of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force). Haig was a horse soldier. He was not impressed with stories of German machine guns and tanks. He thought their effectiveness was highly overrated. He believed that if he were to bring enough British soldiers up against the German forces that the Germans would crumble under British fire. His theory was tested at the Battle of Sommes in 1916. On the very first day of battle, the British experienced 60,000 casualties, the highest number of casualties suffered in one day in history. Believe it or not, when the smoke cleared, the British were considered to be the winner of the battle. The question was still raised, "Was the loss of life worth it?"

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