The podcast seeks to explore the dual aspect of motivation and morale; why people fight and why they may not. For example, why do individuals enlist in military forces, endure the tribulations of life on active service and why they may commit war crimes. It also seeks to consider the ‘flip side’ of morale and examine why some people refuse to serve or enlist in armed forces and also study why people in combat may desert, mutiny or reject military authority.

It will explore all types of military force and conflict from non-state actors in asymmetrical campaigns to uniformed personnel in standing armies fighting in conventional battles.

The discussion will focus on why combatants enlist, fight and serve (or not) in particular conflicts with an emphasis exploring on how individual and group actions in armed conflicts are shaped and moulded by contextual factors. These factors will include examining the role of society, culture, ideologies, religion, socio-political environment or system, group dynamics, individual motivators, organisational policies and inter-personal relationships.

Interviews are sought with individuals from a range of multi-disciplinary experts including policymakers, service personnel, former combatants, sociologists, psychologists and historians. If you are interested, contact engage@combatmoralepod.com

About the host/producer

The host and executive producer for the podcast is Dr Tom Thorpe (website, @kensingtons). He is an independent scholar and public historian with an interest in combat motivation, morale and the ‘will to fight’ can be shaped by institutional, personal and contextual factors to shape outcomes on the battlefield.

This podcast is a personal project driven by an interest in the subject and a desire to investigate the subject in greater depth. It has a voluntary independent venture with no institutional affiliation (yet) and no remuneration is received.

Thorpe has significant experience in producing podcasts as he established, hosts and edits the Western Front Association’s weekly podcast Mentioned in Dispatches. This podcast was set up in February 2017 and covers all aspects of the Great War; from generals, regiments and battles to nannies, widows and poets. Between its establishment and the end of November 2021, it has transmitted 230 episodes that have been downloaded over 420k times. These can be accessed for free on ACAST.


The audience for the podcast are people with a general interest in military affairs, history and war; not specifically academics, scholars or experts.

Podcast objectives

  • Promote discourse: to help build a community of scholars, professionals and interested individuals with a curiosity about combat motivation and morale to share and communicate scholarship and learning across the subject.
  • Generate discussion: to connect with the wider public to promote popular understanding of motivation and morale of combatants in conflict.
  • Encourage debate: to promote the multidisciplinary dissemination and discussion of research and scholarship into combat morale and motivation across multidisciplinary audiences.

Why launch the podcast?

  • Understanding of the ‘human domain’ of warfare, especially around motivation and morale, is often neglected and poorly understood dimension of victory or defeat on the battlefield.
  • Podcasts are becoming increasingly popular and there is considerable public appetite and interest in podcasts covering history, combat and warfare.
  • There is currently no podcast that examines motivation or morale, for instance like the Urban Warfare Project or the Irregular Warfare Podcast.
  • This podcast aims to be a platform on which members of the community who have an interest in morale and motivation can talk and discuss their work to an audience of like minded individuals.