thesis abstract

The aim of this thesis is to determine if there is a connection between British and German officer cadets’ perceptions of their respective country’s history and their motivation to enlist for the professional, all-volunteer forces in Britain and Germany. The research question is approached through a comparative analysis of data gained from quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews conducted at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and the Offizierschule des Heeres (the German Army Officer School) in Dresden.

Sarah Katharina Kayß

The research presented in this thesis suggests that motivational factors for enlistment involve a mixture of occupational, institutional and individual goals that are heavily influenced by the cadets’ subjective perceptions about the officer profession. The results of this thesis add to the idea of pragmatic professionalism by detecting history-oriented reasons as a new incentive for enlistment in the area of recruitment research. The hypothesis investigated was that history plays a central part in some cadets’ occupational decision and should therefore become an element of analysis in future recruitment research.

Different perceptions of history can give insight not only into the British and German cadets’ thinking, but also into their future actions. As such, the data analysis in this thesis reveals what place history has in the British and German cadets’ understanding of the past, present and future. By detecting the relevance of motivational factors which are history-oriented, this study develops an understanding of the officer cadets’ values, beliefs and wider cultural appreciation of the past as much as an understanding of the current impact of the past in the present.