Underlying messages portrayed by Blackadder Goes Fourth of WW1

Sources D and E are not directly about Haig and the battle of The Somme, but in places the sources either make reference to Haig and The Somme or imply something about them. This means that they will be quite useful for a historian studying Haig and the battle of The Somme, even if their use is limited. Source D is relatively useful to historians studying Haig as it will give historians some kind of idea of what attitude captains and lieutenants had towards Haig.

Source D doesn’t mention The Somme therefore it isn’t that helpful when studying The Somme. Source D is a still taken from the T. V series “Blackadder Goes Fourth”. It shows the two men (a captain and a lieutenant) discussing an imminent attack. From the source, historians could see what uniform soldiers were wearing before the battle, so in that respect it is useful. Although as it is a T. V series we have to question whether the uniforms worn are correct, this would rely on how much the producers researched it.

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Also Source D makes reference to Haig and an attack Haig is about to direct. This makes it useful to historian as it will show people attitudes towards Haig. The attitude from Blackadder towards Haig is that he is a fool, we know he means this as he says “Clearly Field Marshall Haig is about to make yet another giant effort to move his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin”. This suggests that Blackadder doesn’t think that they will gain a lot out of the attack, we knows this as he refers to only gaining another “Six inches”.

Also as Blackadder is being sarcastic and making fun of Haig, for example “To move his drink cabinet”, we know that he doesn’t agree with what Haig is doing. This is useful to historians as it tells them about captain’s attitudes towards Haig. The source also implies that Blackadder is a lot more intelligent and realistic than George; we know this as Blackadder replies when asked about the battle “We are all going to get killed”. George is portrayed to be more simple and idealistic.

Also George implies that he is looking forward to going, we know this as he says “You mean the moment has finally arrived”. This suggests that not everyone dreaded going over the top and therefore Haig didn’t force them to fight, this is useful for historians studying Haig. When deciding whether Source C is useful to historians, we have to take in to account the reliability of the source. Because the programme was created in the 1990’s it won’t really represent the views of the people at the time it is set in, it will only represent views from people in the 1990’s.

Also the realism of it can’t really be trusted because it is made purely for comedic value, which means that it wasn’t created to inform. We also have to take into account how much preparation research had been done. As well when using the attitudes towards Haig and the battle we have to take in to account are they the attitudes of the officers from the day or are they the attitudes from producers and directors. Source E is useful to historians studying Haig and The Somme depending on which way you interpret it. This is because the picture doesn’t specify the name or battle its referring to.

Source E is a picture of a Major General addressing the men before practising an attack behind the lines. It is from a cartoon from a British magazine published in February 1917 (After the Somme). The Major General really resembles Haig, however if the picture isn’t meant to be Haig the source is completely useless to historians studying Haig as it would be nothing to do with him. The source tells us that the Major General is never on the front line, we know this as the Sergeant Major say’s “The absence of the General”.

This would be useful if the picture was about Haig as it would tell historians that Haig is never at the front line. Also the source tells us that the Major General is stupid. We know this as when he describes the difference of a rehearsal and the real thing he says firstly a stupid reason that is obvious “The absence of the enemy”, then secondly he forgets the second reason and has to ask the Sergeant Major and the Sergeant Major sarcastically replies “The absence of the General, sir”, he is making a reference that the general doesn’t know what it is like on the battle field.

Then finally the last reason that suggests that the Major General is stupid is the fact he said “Three essential differences” and only mentions two. This would be useful if the picture was about Haig as it would tell historians that Haig was stupid. The general message in the source is to imply that Haig’s tactics are stupid and why are we still using them, also if they didn’t work before why should we use them now.

Source E is useful to tell us the attitudes of what the cartoonist thought towards Haig and his tactics. Source E might not be useful to historians as the picture could be about any battle or about any Sergeant Major and if so it is useless to historians studying Haig and the Somme. Also as it is an opinion it could be biased. In conclusion I believe that even though the sources weren’t directly linked to Haig they still could tell historians a lot about the attitudes of people towards Haig.

Source D is limited in its use but can tell us about the attitudes of what Captains and Lieutenants had towards Haig, also Source D can tell us about modern attitudes as it was written in modern times. But it is practically useless for historians studying the Somme. Source E in my opinion is utterly useless as it could be nothing to do with the Somme or Haig. If we assume it is to do with Haig and the Somme it would be slightly useful as it represents the view of people from the war time period, although it was created for comical values and therefore could be useless.

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