Topics in History

"Grand Strategies in War and Peace"

This course explores the meaning of “grand strategy” in international politics. The course begins with some of the foundational texts of strategic thought by Thucydides, Machiavelli, and Clausewitz. We also study examples of leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Otto von Bismarck, Woodrow Wilson, Mao Zedong and George W. Bush. Many of the leaders we will study lived in extremely complex times, and faced unusually difficult sets of political, social, economic and geographical challenges as they set out to advance, or protect, the interests of their peoples. Which leaders were successful and which were not, and why? Which of these individuals developed a coherent “grand strategy” to help guide them and their states as they passed through times of serious crisis and global transformation? Final grade is based on three papers as well as extensive class discussion.

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts