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'the Lions Were Led By Donkeys'

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#1 Guest_Lottie18250_*

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 07:04 PM

The statement:

'The Lions were led by Donkeys'

I think, is a fantastic sum up of the organisation of World War One.

What it means is that the 'Donkeys' are representing the generals. Consequently the statement is trying to get across that the generals which sent the soldiers to war were cowards. Their resemblance to donkeys almost says that they were 'fools' or 'asses'. The 'Lions' however, symbolise the soldiers. The soldiers' resemblance to such a powerful and strong animal is a compliment. Lions are known as the 'King of the Jungle', so, it shows that the soldiers were brave and patriotic.

I think this is such a perfect way of metaphorically summarising the organisation of World War One.
We were shown it in my History Lesson and I thought I would share it with others here!

What is your opinion of it? Do you agree with it? Also..can you see another meaning to it?

I'll look forward to reading your views! Lottie18250 :)

#2 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 23 October 2005 - 07:23 PM

Those interested in following up Lottie's 'starter' ought really to read this article too - especially if they don't really have too much knowledge of the topic.


Indeed, Lottie might like to read it herself since it presents 'the other side' to the view she expresses ... and good historians are always open-minded . It is very easy (especially when perhaps one's knowledge is limited) to reach an unbalanced conclusion. ;)

A more detailed and academic article is here:

Edited by Mrs Faithorn, 23 October 2005 - 07:47 PM.

#3 Guest_Lottie18250_*

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Posted 24 October 2005 - 06:13 PM

Just a quick note to say thanks for the further links!
Lottie18250 :)

#4 Mrs Faithorn

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Posted 25 October 2005 - 02:07 PM

There's a great activity on the Learning Curve website here:

Just the thing for those who would like to form their own views and to take part in discussion.

Posted Image Even today, people hold strong opinions about the commanders of the British and Allied forces in the Great War. There is a range of different views:

  • The commanders were 'donkeys'. They were incompetent and didn't take care of their soldiers, the 'lions'. They sat in safety behind the lines while they sent their troops charging against machine guns and barbed wire. Their men resented them and only obeyed because they would be shot otherwise.
  • The commanders didn't do a great job and the soldiers paid the price. However, we shouldn't blame only the military commanders, since the politicians shared in the big decisions and ordered the commanders to try to win the war.
  • The commanders did a remarkable job while facing tremendous challenges. They had to create a huge army from ordinary civilians in a short space of time. They also learnt new tactics and used new weapons as they became available. They took as much care of their men as they could and relations between officers and men were good.
Have a look at the sources in this gallery. The key question is: What do you think about the military commanders?

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