"Morale" has been an abused word. The eager desire of citizens to be of more service to their country, in this hour of great danger, tends to concentrate on something supposedly having to do with "morale." Baseball, sermons, night clubs, redwhite-and-blue posters, uniforms, vitamin pills, martial music, V symbols, boys' clubs, morning calisthenics, news reels of enemy atrocities, and hundreds of other activities have been defended as "building morale." Some thoughtful people have come to wonder whether it might not be better to drop the word entirely.
With all the talk, there has been too little scientific understanding. No one can doubt the basic importance of morale. Our whole national effort -- in factories, in Washington, on ships at sea and in air, and in the army lines -- depends upon morale. If the war is long drawn out, the importance of sound morale will increase. Only we shall need facts and sound analysis, not loose propaganda, pep talks, and rationalization of whatever may be traditional, pleasant, or profit-bringing.
The main purpose of this book is to tell America what scientific investigation of morale has thus far demonstrated. The research is still, of course, unfinished. It is hoped that this book may itself stimulate more and better studies of morale. But we cannot wait until the facts are all in. Research has a frontier but no final boundary. Meanwhile a war must be won. Here then, is an interim report on what psychologists now think about morale problems.
The book appears as the second yearbook of the Society for Psychological Study of Social Issues . . .