What were the sources of morale and combat motivation in the late Victorian army campaigning in Africa?

Shepperd, Leslie William (2022). What were the sources of morale and combat motivation in the late Victorian army campaigning in Africa? University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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The historiography relating to the late Victorian army’s Ashanti and Zulu campaigns of 1873- 1874 and 1879, fully covers all the physical details of the Victorian army’s campaigns and exploits. But it contains virtually no information as to how morale and motivation were generated. That is understandable in the contemporary writing because it was before psychological knowledge; but the subsequent writing is the same and there is no mention of morale or motivation as specific subjects connected with behaviour or performance. The psychological aspects of how the army fought and performed, built morale, became motivated and overcame stress and trauma is not mentioned and is completely unknown. Fear and stress can be completely disabling, and this work establishes how the soldiers coped with the negative psychological issues that were encountered in the course of duty and continued to be successful. However, reviewing the literature through a modern ‘lens’ using current theory and knowledge shows that references to issues that clearly were matters of morale and motivation can be found couched in the different terms and language of the time. They are open to interpretation, and this thesis uses them to build a picture of morale and motivation at the time, and in doing so, fills a gap in the understanding of the way the Victorian army worked.
The thesis concludes that some units were motivated by the older model of strict discipline, but alongside that was a version of modern unit cohesion, generated by the actions of some senior commanders, which motivated but also raised esprit de corps. Those two systems were the main drivers of morale and motivation in Ashantiland and Zululand.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Department of History
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/12787


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