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Clausewitz Condensed

Morale and Will

For Clausewitz, war is an inseparable marriage of physical and immaterial or "moral" forces such as will, but for him the moral forces are more fundamental to war. In his words, "Fighting...is a trial of moral and physical forces through the medium of the latter...." (127) The physical factors "seem little more than the wooden hilt, while the moral factors are the precious metal, the real weapon, the finely-honed blade." (185) Furthermore, if "moral forces" are the ultimate determinant of war, it then follows that the destruction of the enemy's will to resist should be the primary target in any conflict. "Battle is the bloodiest solution," observes Clausewitz, but it should be considered an act aimed as "killing...the enemy's spirit [rather] than ...his men." (259)