Morale as a principle of war.

This is not generally considered one of the principles of war, but morale has always been one of those crucial items that overrule all others. Often taken for granted until it’s too late, morale is the attitude of the officers and troops. It is generally much higher at the beginning of the battle than during and after. Once morale declines to a certain point, the troops loose their desire to fight. If this breaking point is reached during the battle, the side suffering from it loses.
Take, for example, the occupying forces of the Persian Gulf War. They were so ill-equipped and ill-trained that morale was almost non-existent. This explains the outrageous number of P.O.Ws that were taken by coalition forces.

France also learned a powerful lesson in morale during World War I when French troops mutinied and refused to attack (they did. however, defend). The French command decimated their army in an attempt to regain control. To this day it is the largest mutiny in history.

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Mo`rale" (?), n. [F. See Moral, a.]

The moral condition, or the condition in other respects, so far as it is affected by, or dependent upon, moral considerations, such as zeal, spirit, hope, and confidence; mental state, as of a body of men, an army, and the like.


© Webster 1913.

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