Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours


School of Arts and Humanities

First Advisor

Dr David Robinson


This thesis employs Carl von Clausewitz’s theory on moral forces to conduct an analysis of World War II’s 1944-1945 Ardennes Offensive. The literature largely focuses on presenting the physical components of the offensive, neglecting the moral. This thesis aims to fill this gap by presenting an analysis of the utilisation and effects of both physical and moral forces in the Ardennes Offensive and determining the importance of each to the outcome. Analysing the planning and execution of the offensive through this theoretical perspective reveals that moral forces played a significant part in Allied success in the Ardennes. The analysis exposed the German reliance on physical superiority yet failure to adjust initial plans to the geographical conditions in the area, in part due to Adolf Hitler’s total control of the armed forces. Following the offensive’s commencement, Allied military leadership demonstrated intuitive thought, good judgment, and determination resulting in swift defense of the area. German Forces were unable to break through this defense despite their great physical advantage. The analysis suggests that Allied moral forces greatly contributed to this initial defense, utilising psychological strength until the physical forces were able to be brought up to equal strength. As a reinterpretation of the Ardennes Offensive, this thesis contributes to the historical studies on battles of World War II and demonstrates the importance of moral forces in warfare


Thesis Location