2 Lesson ObjectivesDiscuss the ‘reliability’ of comedy as historical evidence.Analyse two different types of comedy, a film clip and a cartoon about the Battle of the Somme and General Haig.Finally, make a judgement about whether these two sources are useful to an historian.
3 How reliable is comedy as historical evidence? Satire and irony canbe very effective criticismEver a true word said in jest!Jokes often have hidden meanings!Comedy2 minutes to jot down some ideasIn order to get people to laugh, you have to exaggeratethe truth!You can learn a lot from comedy & jokes about peoples attitudesPeople who can't talk openly because of censorship, often do so through jokes
4 Blackadder Goes Forth, 1991Good Place to show a Blackadder clipWhat can we learn from this source about how many people viewed Haig’s tactics in 1991?
5 How accurate is Blackadder? Source 1: Private Williams‘We saw the bombardment the Germans were getting. We thought it was a chance of getting our own back. Everyone was wildly enthusiastic. Far less men went on sick parade. Nobody wanted to miss the fight.’The following sources are extracts taken from letters written by soldiers who witnessed the shelling of the German trenches before the Battle of the Somme in July1916.What can we learn from these sources about how accurate Lieutenant George’s view was of how soldiers viewed Haig’s before the Battle of the Somme?Source 2: Lieutenant John Parker‘We couldn't speak, but it was an amazing show. We stood behind the lines and watched the giant fireworks in the darkness. No one could live through that.’What evidence is therein these two sources to support Lieutenant George’s view of General Haig’s tactics?
7 The popular image of Haig in the Comedy series Blackadder, 1991 Positive: Lieutenant GeorgeNegative: Captain BlackadderLieutenant George is presentedthroughout the TV series as anover optimistic, fool ….Looking forward to going over the top and giving the Germans ‘a darn good thrashing.’Suggests that he expects Haig’s tactics will be successful.Blackadder expects that Haig’s tactics will be a disaster when he says: ‘You mean are we all going to get killed?’Sees Haig as an uncaring arm chair warrior who doesn’t care about how many men he sacrifices to: ‘more his drinks cabinet six inches closer to Berlin.’Get students to try and complete the table on their own or in groups for 4 – 5 minutes before feeding back.
9 Source E It appeared in a political magazine called Punch, Feb 1917 The ‘General’ looks like Haig it’s a caricatureDoes not directly mention or criticise HaigSource EOver 150 British Generals were either killed or captured during the FWWThe caption ‘The absence of the General Sir’ shows that people were beginning to criticise HaigIt’s a cartoon so it is designed to exaggerate the truth in order to get people to laugh.
10 OCR Question 3 Study Sources D & E. ‘These two sources are not about General Haig and the Battle of the Somme.’How far do you agree that these sources have no use to an historian studying Haig and the Battle of the Somme?
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