Combat Morale Podcast
Combat Morale Podcast
Dr Tom Thorpe
Dr Tom Thorpe interviews experts, academics and veterans to explore the morale and motivation of combatants to fight (or not) in armed conflicts.
S1E19 – Dr Waitman Beorn – The Wehrmacht & the Holocaust on the Eastern Front in WW2
Dr Waitman Beorn, Senior Lecturer in History at Northumbria University, talks about the Wehrmacht and motivation to participate in the Holocaust on the Eastern Front in WW2. In the interview, he talks about the extent and nature of Wehrmacht involvement in the Holocaust on the Eastern Front. He points out that while Nazi death squads routinely carried out mass executions on the Eastern Front, many units of the regular German army conducted and participated in such actions. Waitman explains what motivated them to carry out such actions which they frequently…
May 11, 2022
33 min
S1E18 – Dr Emanuele Sica – The Italian soldier in the Second World War
Dr Emanuele Sica, Assistant Professor at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, talks about the morale and motivation of the Italian soldier during the Second World War. Italy declared war on 10 June 1940 and initially the Italian Royal Army fought against France in the closing stages of the Battle of France. From 1941 to 1943, Italian forces battled British, Dominion, US and other nations in North Africa. After the defeat of Italian and axis forces in Tunisia in mid-1943, Italy was invaded by allied forces.…
May 4, 2022
51 min
S1E17 – Dr Jiri Hutečka – Czech soldiers in the Great War
Dr Jiri Hutečka, Associate Professor at the Institute of History, University of Hradec Králové, talks about the motivation and morale of Czech soldiers fighting in the Austro-Hungarian Army in the Great War. In July 1914, the Austro-Hungarian Army had 36,000 officers and 414,000 NCOs spread across regular and territorial defence force, the landwehr. During the conflict, the army expanded to around 7.8million in 1917. Like the Austro-Hungarian empire, the army was composed of many ethnic, religious and national groupings. Czech soldiers made up around 10% of the total force, the…
Apr 27, 2022
48 min
S1E16 – Dr Grant Harward – The Romanian ‘Holy War’ on the Eastern Front in WW2
Dr Grant Harward, a historian at the US Army Medical Department, US Army, talks about his recent book ‘Holy War’ on the motivation of Romanian combatants to fight and participate in the Holocaust on the Eastern Front in WW2. He corrects the widespread myth that Romania was a reluctant member of the Axis during World War II and that in Romanian-occupied Ukraine more than 64,000 Jews were killed by Romanian soldiers. Moreover, the Romanian Army conducted a brutal campaign in German-occupied Ukraine, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Soviet…
Apr 20, 2022
1 hr 34 min
S1E15 – Dr Damian Shiels – The Irish fighting for the Union Army in the US Civil War
Dr Damian Shiels, archaeologist, historian & writer, talks about the morale and motivation of Irish immigrants fighting in the Union Army during the US Civil War. Damian discusses why Irish immigrants, who came from Ireland and Britain were so enthusiastic to serve in Union blue in the conflict. He also discusses what kept them motivated to endure the rigours of campaign and the intensity of combat. More information on Damian’s work can be found at
Apr 13, 2022
34 min
S1E14 – Dr Spencer Jones – Combat motivations in the Boer War
Dr Spencer Jones, Senior Lecturer in War Studies at the University of Wolverhampton, talks about the combat motivation of the various sides fighting in the 1899-1902 Boer War. This conflict was fought between the British Empire and the two Boer Republics (the South African Republic and the Orange Free State) over the Empire’s influence in Southern Africa. The conflict lasted for three years and started off as a conventional conflict and morphed into an insurgency. It was bitterly contested with brutality on both sides that killed around 50k people. Spencer…
Apr 6, 2022
48 min
S1E13 – Dr Matthew Ford – Soldiers, guns and morale
Dr Matthew Ford, Senior Lecturer at the University of Sussex, talks about his research into soldiers, guns and morale. He explores the relationship between soldiers, their personal weapons and their will to fight. Central to the discussion is what he calls the socio-technical relationship between a combatant and their weapon. He considers the implications of the work of S.L.A. Marshall, who wrote after the Second World War wrote that only one quarter of infantry soldiers in combat actually fired their weapon at the enemy, and the challenges this research posed…
Mar 30, 2022
45 min
S1E12 – Prof. Ken Noe – What motivated ‘late’ enlisting Confederate soldiers to join up during the US Civil War?
Historian and author Prof. Ken Noe talks about his recent book on what motivated ‘late’ enlisting men to the Confederates Army during the 1861-65 US Civil War. In the interview, Prof Noe discusses those Confederate volunteers who were so-called ‘late enlisters’, those who joined the southern army after the initial surge of volunteers in 1861. He defined this group as enlisting from 1862 to the end of the war and estimated they numbered around 180,000 men. He aims to correct the stereotype that these men were hesitant non-slave owning farmers.…
Mar 23, 2022
21 min
S1E11 – Dr Linsey Robb – The motivation of the British civilian worker in WW2
Dr Linsey Robb, Associate Professor in Modern British History at the University of Northumbria, talks about the motivation of the British civilian worker in WW2. During the Second World War, The British government mobilised civilians more effectively than any other combatant nation. By 1944, a third of the civilian population were engaged in war work, including over 7,000,000 women. Linsey talks about what motivated these workers to contribute to the war effort and how this changed over the course of the war. She is a social and cultural historian of…
Mar 16, 2022
20 min
S1E10 – Dr Drew Ryder – British Army combatants in Korea, 1950-53
Recent doctoral graduate Dr Drew Ryder talks about the motivation and morale of the British Army combatant fighting in in Korea, 1950-53. In 1950, communist North Korea attacked its southern neighbour sparking a three year war that lasted until 1953 when an armistice was declared. Britain committed troops as part of a United Nations force and nearly 60,000 British combat troops saw action. They were both professional regular soldiers and conscript national servicemen of which 1,078 killed in action, 2,674 wounded and 1,060 missing or taken prisoner. Drew talks about what motivated soldiers…
Mar 9, 2022
33 min
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