Samuel Žilinčík

Relevantnosť Clausewitza pre súčasné občianske vojny

(The Relevance of Clausewitz for Contemporary Civil Wars)

Politické vedy, Volume 22, Number 3/2019, pages 192-212



Recommended form for quotation of the article / Odporúčaná forma citácie článku:
ŽILINČÍK, S. 2019. Relevantnosť Clausewitza pre súčasné občianske vojny. In Politické vedy. [online]. Vol. 22, No. 3, 2019. ISSN 1335 – 2741, pp. 192-212. Available at:


Civil wars are the dominant type of armed conflict in today’s world. However, classical strategists who have shaped the Western understanding of war, dedicated majority of their works to the topic of inter-state wars. The goal of this research was to find out whether the theory of the most famous classical strategist is still relevant to shed light on contemporary civil wars. The author employed methods of conceptual analysis and literature review to achieve this goal. The article first discussed the problems of continuity and change in the context of civil wars. Subsequently, the author examined the theory derived from Clausewitz. The literature review was then employed to find out what does the recent empirical and theoretical research say about the relevance of Clausewitz to contemporary civil wars. The results indicate that the theory derived from Clausewitz is still relevant in its entirety. These findings can be useful for both practical decision-making in (civil) war as well as to provide ground for further research. In terms of the decision-making, the Clausewitzian theory seems to remain the best tool we have to understand the multivariate and complex nature of contemporary wars. It is hence prudent to employ it when deciding about any use of force for political purposes.  In terms of the academic contribution, this study synthesized much of what we know about the relevance of Clausewitz and the findings can thus be employed for further investigation of similar research questions.

Key words: Clausewitz, Civil Wars, Classical Strategy, Theory of War

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