I would also point out that although the German occupation of Belgium was harsh, no denials, it would be unfair to paint Britain as a saint of nations having just fourteen years previously allowed the rounding up of women and children, the burning of their property and putting them in concentration camps with small rations and poor medical and sanitation supplies causing the deaths of tens of thousands. Britain's motivations for starting the Boer war was meant to be to protect the Uitlanders but was also massively driven because of gold found in the Boer republics and greed over rode this. Also a nation which had bombarded the harbour of Zanzibar in the shortest war in history (40 minutes) because the new Sultan was anti British and the British Government would have preferred an alternate candidate.
The British Empire had been exceptionally aggressive and expansionist in the preceding century as had Russia, France and now Germany who were exceptionally late to the Imperial party. It would be wrong to paint Germany as the sole bad guy of the First World War, an attitude that went a long way to starting the Second World War, as all the Imperial powers had been at it. Russia had been given a bloody nose by the Japanese, Italy fighting in Ethiopia, Britain and the Boers, Germany and Namibia. Foreign policy of all the European Imperial powers had been very expanionistic in Asia, Africa and even in parts of Europe for many, many years.
The fighting itself was indeed tragic and the notion of industrial warfare was causing horrific casualties. However, Mr Gove is saying that the Generals were not as much to blame as some suggest. This could be true but for the simple fact that this type of warfare had been seen before and a solution had already been reached.