The Haig Papers from the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh
Part 1: Haig's Autograph Great War Diary (NLS Acc.3155, Nos. 96, 97 and 141-153)
This new collection reproduces, for the first time in any form, the manuscript diary that Field Marshall Sir Douglas Haig kept throughout the World War I.
Provocative and wide ranging, the diary provides Haig's own firsthand account of events, his impressions of colleagues and his views on strategy--all without the omissions or ellipses apparent in his revised typescript version of the diary compiled after the war.
No study of high policy, the realities of war, the relationship between politics and strategy, Anglo-French foreign relations or the controversial role of Haig is possible without consulting this diary.
This edition also includes Haig's letters to Lady Haig from 1914-1919, which amplify, extend and personalize his diary observations.
Haig's general practice was to write in his diary every day, and every few days send a carbon copy of it by King's Messenger to Lady Haig. Intended as a safeguard to preserve what he regarded as an important historical document, it also gave Haig the opportunity to be even more frank in his comments--"What a wretched lot of weaklings we have in high places at the present time" (August 29, 1918). To the historian, it presents the personal side of a leader under immense stress.
Haig's original autograph diary of World War I is of great importance and its publication in full, all 750,000,000 words, is a landmark for researchers.