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1 - Morale crisis and recovery

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2011

Jonathan Fennell
Affiliation:
King's College London
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Summary

The War is going to be won or lost on morale. We are too apt to leave the problem alone. Morale is a psychological problem like sex, and therefore the Britisher is almost ashamed to talk about it.

(General Ronald Adam, the Adjutant-General of the British Army, February 1942)

The defeats suffered by the British Army during the first three years of the war, in France, the Far East and North Africa, raised serious questions about the morale of the British and Commonwealth citizen army. Large portions of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) surrendered in France, while Singapore and Tobruk are names that have become synonymous with humiliation and capitulation. Historians have quite rightly contrasted the zeal and determination of German and Japanese troops with the apparent absence of these qualities among their British and Commonwealth foes.

Ronald Adam, the Adjutant-General of the British Army, believed that defeats, such as the loss of Malaya and Hong Kong and the withdrawal in Burma at the beginning of 1942, had all been ‘due to the low morale of our troops’. He considered the issue so crucial and the extent of the problem to be of such concern, that, in February 1942, he proposed the creation of a Morale Committee to the Executive Committee of the Army Council (ECAC).

Type
Chapter
Information
Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign
The Eighth Army and the Path to El Alamein
, pp. 12 - 49
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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References

McPherson, A. B., Army: Discipline (The War Office, 1950), p. 46.Google Scholar

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  • Morale crisis and recovery
  • Jonathan Fennell, King's College London
  • Book: Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign
  • Online publication: 24 February 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921513.003
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  • Morale crisis and recovery
  • Jonathan Fennell, King's College London
  • Book: Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign
  • Online publication: 24 February 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921513.003
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Morale crisis and recovery
  • Jonathan Fennell, King's College London
  • Book: Combat and Morale in the North African Campaign
  • Online publication: 24 February 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511921513.003
Available formats
×