Dimanche 30 juin 2013, 17 H
The Last Day of the Somme
Lecture in English / Conférence en anglais
Professor William PHILPOTT
King’s College London
Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, Somme
Museum of the Great War at Peronne, Somme
Conventionally the Battle of the Somme ended in November 1916 with a final successful if small-scale assault on the river Ancre. Approaching the battle from its apparently anti-climactic end, rather than its notorious and traumatic beginning, offers a broader perspective on the central battle of the First World War. This lecture challenges the widely held view that the Somme offensive was a failure and that it contributed little to the outcome of the war. It explains the Battle of the Ancre, contrasts it with what came before and after, and evaluates the achievements of the Allied armies in four-and-a-half months of attritional fighting. It suggests that the battle was the strategic turning point of the conflict, an essential stage in the defeat of the German army, and a battle in which the Germans felt they were defeated.