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Morale and Discipline in the Royal Navy during the First World War


Part of Studies in the Social and Cultural History of Modern Warfare

  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108419055

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • In contrast to the voluminous literature on trench warfare, few scholarly works have been written on how the First World War was experienced at sea. The conditions of war challenged the Royal Navy's position within British national identity and its own service ethos. This challenge took the form of a dialogue, fuelled by fear of civil unrest, between the discourses of paternalism from above and democratism from below. Laura Rowe explores issues of morale and discipline, using the contemporary language of discipline to shed light on key questions of how the service was able to absorb indiscipline with marked success through a subtle web of loyalties, history, ethos, traditions and customs, which were rooted in older notions of service but moulded by the new conditions of total war. In so doing, she provides not only a new methodological framework for understanding morale, but also military discipline and leadership.

    • The issues of morale and discipline are considered within a naval context, rather than the typical trench warfare one
    • Military and civilian naval history are looked at in tandem to give a more overarching historical reading of the period
    • Uses both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to lessen the limitations of taking only one approach
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Laura Rowe's book fills major gaps in the multidisciplinary study of military endurance and in the historiography of the First World War. A meticulously researched examination of the Royal Navy's resilience during the hard war years, this is among the first modern in-depth analyses of morale in maritime conflict. Essential reading.' Alexander Watson, author of Enduring the Great War. Combat, Morale and Collapse in the German and British Armies, 1914–1918

    'Laura Rowe's book makes us rethink the relationship between British society and the Royal Navy during the First World War. An important contribution to the 'new naval history'.' Jan Rüger, author of Heligoland: Britain, Germany, and the Struggle for the North Sea

    'This careful, eloquent study of morale and discipline shows how, and why, the Royal Navy had its own, effective ways of handling the stress of war in 1914–18. At last, we have a study that places British sailors where they belong – at the heart of the Great War.' John Horne, Emeritus Fellow, Trinity College Dublin

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108419055
    • length: 276 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 8 b/w illus. 16 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Ethos on the eve of war: the foundations of paternalism and democratism
    2. The structure of discipline and the spectre of indiscipline
    3. 'Addressing' pay and conditions
    4. Lower-deck societies, trade unions, and representation
    5. Counting unrest

  • Author

    Laura Rowe, University of Exeter
    Laura Rowe is Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Exeter.

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