A Statistically Robust Way to ‘Measure’ Military Morale!



There are relatively few reliable primary or secondary sources that assess levels of morale in armies. As I discussed in a previous post, this makes it extremely difficult for historians to make connections between battle outcomes and that most nebulous of military factors – morale. Considering the great and the good, from Machiavelli to Clausewitz to Foch all argue that morale is, to quote Montgomery, ‘the big thing in war’, this does appear to create a significant problem for historians of war and IR specialists alike.

Those scholars who do try to scientifically measure morale, such as Morris Janowitz and Edward Shils, S.L.A. Marshall and Samuel A. Stouffer et. al., in the context of the Second World War, and Leonard Wong et. al., in relation to the 2003 Iraq War, make extensive use of contemporaneously recorded attitudinal surveys. These sources provide historians with valuable information for…

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