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Churchill's Cabinet Memorandum, Aug 1916

This confidential Cabinet memorandum written by Winston Churchill was circulated to the Cabinet on 1 August 1916. In the memorandum Churchill expressed his views on the effectiveness of the Somme offensive. He analysed the ground gained, the lack of strategic advantage in the territory obtained, the amount of munitions used, British casualties and the number of men fighting. Churchill concluded, “In personnel the results of the operation have been disastrous; in terrain they have been absolutely barren…therefore, the British offensive per se has been a great failure.”

The last two pages are a response to Churchill's memorandum by Walter Hulme Long, 1st Viscount Long, on 4 August 1916. Long held a Cabinet position as President of the Local Government Board. Long respected Churchill's experience of warfare, however he expressed concern over Churchill's suggestion that the Cabinet should interfere with decisions of the War Committee and Chief of the Imperial General Staff.