The beatings will continue until morale improves refers to a popular ironic expression, mostly known in the United States.
The phrase is mostly seen on merchandize due to its contradictory and humorous meaning and it is used accordingly in various situations.
Despite the numerous attributions of “The beatings will continue until morale improves” persisting despite a lack of evidence, the exact origin of the phrase is not known.
There are some who claim it was said by Captain William Bligh of the Bounty, while others say it originates from an unnamed Japanese Commander of the Submarine force.
These claims, however, are all unsupported by sources.
The first written citation of the phrase in a similar form can be linked to a 1961 publication of All Hands, published by the Bureau of Naval Personnel, where the phrase “All liberty is cancelled until morale improves”.
A similar case, which resembles the titular expression more appears in a 1984 print of the industry newsletter Supervision, where “The firings will continue until morale improves” is written.
Hence, “The beatings will continue until the morale improves” most likely originates from the late 80’s and early 90’s.
“The beatings will continue until morale improves” became a popular expression in the 2000’s, appearing on countless military-related websites, as well as countless merchandise, especially T-shirts.
Its popularity was boosted in August 2021, when the band Exodus released their song “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves).
- Quoteinvestiagor.com – The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves
- Grammarhow.com – The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves (9 Examples)
- Huffpost.com – The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves