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Definition: Haig, Douglas, 1st Earl from Philip's Encyclopedia

British field marshal. In World War 1, he served as commander-in-chief (1915-18) of British forces in France. His policies led to appalling losses on British troops. Under the supreme command of Marshal Foch, he led the final assault on the Hindenburg line. In 1921 he helped establish the Royal British Legion.


Summary Article: Haig, Douglas Haig 1st Earl from The Columbia Encyclopedia

1861–1928, British field marshal. He saw active service in Sudan (1898) and in the South African War (1899–1902) and upon the outbreak of World War I (1914) was given command of the 1st Army Corps in France. In Dec., 1915, he became commander in chief of the British expeditionary force. Under pressure from the French commander, Joseph Joffre, he undertook the battle of the Somme (July–Nov., 1916), which resulted in very heavy casualties and little territorial gain. The British prime minister, David Lloyd George, constantly antagonistic to Haig and unreceptive to his requests from the field, exacerbated the situation by putting the British troops under the orders of the French commander in 1917. Haig thus conducted the Passchendaele campaign (July–Nov., 1917; see Ypres, battles of) under orders from Gen. Robert Nivelle, while the French army was being reorganized after a mutiny. Haig was under continual French pressure to take over more of the front, and until the joint command of himself and Gen. Ferdinand Foch was instituted (1918), the strategy and conduct of the war were tragically mismanaged. Haig has been much criticized for the staggering casualties sustained. He was made an earl (1919) and devoted the remainder of his life to organizing the British Legion and raising funds for disabled ex-servicemen.

  • See his private papers, ed. by R. Blake (1952);.
  • biography by D. Cooper (2 vol., 1935–36);.
  • Duncan, G. S., Douglas Haig as I Knew Him (1967);.
  • D. Winter Haig's Command (1991);.
  • Harris, J. P., Douglas Haig and the First World War (2008).
The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2017

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