Haig, Sir Douglas Haig, First Earl (1861–1928), a British army officer. During World War I he was commander in chief of the British Expeditionary Forces in France and Flanders from December, 1915, until the Armistice. Haig believed that massive Allied offensives on the Western Front would break Germany's will to resist. Despite the heavy losses suffered by the British in the futile battles of the Somme (1916) and Passchendaele (1917), he remained in command.
Haig was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He attended Oxford University and Sandhurst, entering the army in 1885 as a cavalry officer. He served in the Sudan, 1898, and in the Boer War, 1899–1902. In 1913 he was knighted. At the outbreak of World War I Haig was given command of the I Army Corps. Soon after he was made a full general and head of the First Army. In December, 1915, he replaced Sir John French as commander in chief. Haig was promoted to field marshal in 1917.
Haig was made an earl in 1919. He was commander in chief of the home forces of Great Britain, 1919–21. A founder and the first president of the British Legion, Haig helped raise funds for disabled veterans.