Thesis Title

Centers of Gravity: An Understanding of Clausewitz in the Context of America's Past, Present, and Future Wars

Date of Graduation

Summer 2005


Master of Science in Defense and Strategic Studies


Defense and Strategic Studies

Committee Chair

C. Walton


Calusewitz’s On War has been and continues to be one of the most influential works on the theory and practice of strategy. This work has been highly influential in the formation of strategies ranging from the German Blitzkrieg to the shock and awe of the Second Gulf War. The purpose of this thesis is to gain an understanding of key aspects of Clausewitz’s theories, most notably centers of gravity and moral forces, and then to examine these factors in the context of the major wars which the United States has fought, most notably the current Iraq War and War on Terror. The thesis will argue that many American strategists and politicians past and present have not always appreciated nor properly addressed the centers of gravity and the impact of moral forces in regard both to the enemy and the United States itself. A sound understanding of Clausewitz’s concepts can aid the United States in formulating effective strategy in the present and future.


center of gravity, moral forces, decisive victory, Clausewitz, war

Subject Categories

Defense and Security Studies


© Shane D. Faris