Known infamously as one of the bloodiest days in British history, the Battle of the Somme saw more than one million men die. Historians have debated thoroughly the shortcomings of the British military in the Battle of the Somme, coming to a general consensus that a large majority of the losses can be attributed to inadequate military intelligence, outdated field equipment and the hubris of the British military leadership. While the official consensus tends to be that the battle was an indecisive stalemate, many British historians have in fact argued that it can be considered a German defensive victory, simply for the fact of how many British and French lives were lost at the expense of so little territory gained.
Today, the Battle of the Somme is one of the central memories of World War I. The devastating losses suffered by the British and French armies were a fierce wake-up call, marking the start of all-out modern warfare. Improvements were made in infantry strategy, artillery equipment and new vehicles were introduced, such as tanks and planes, which were soon integrated into the British Army’s methods. The lessons of the Somme were invaluable contributions to victory on the western front, but the question always remains: at what cost?