Carl Philipp Gottfried (or Gottlieb) von Clausewitz[note 1] (/ˈklaʊzəvɪts/; 1 June 1780 – 16 November 1831) was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the "moral" (meaning, in modern terms, psychological) and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War), was unfinished at his death. Clausewitz was a realist in many different senses and, while in some respects a romantic, also drew heavily on the rationalist ideas of the European Enlightenment.
Clausewitz's thinking is often described as Hegelian because of his dialectical method; but, although he was probably personally acquainted with Hegel, there remains debate as to whether or not Clausewitz was in fact influenced by him.:183–232 He stressed the dialectical interaction of diverse factors, noting how unexpected developments unfolding under the "fog of war" (i.e., in the face of incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement) call for rapid decisions by alert commanders. He saw history as a vital check on erudite abstractions that did not accord with experience. In contrast to the early work of Antoine-Henri Jomini, he argued that war could not be quantified or reduced to mapwork, geometry, and graphs. Clausewitz had many aphorisms, of which the most famous is "War is the continuation of politics by other means."
Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz
Portrait while in Prussian service, by Karl Wilhelm Wach
|Born||1 June 1780|
Burg bei Magdeburg, Prussia (now Germany)
|Died||16 November 1831 (aged 51)|
Breslau, Prussia (now Wrocław, Poland)
|Service/||Prussian Cavalry Officer Army|
|Years of service||1792–1831|
|Unit||Russian-German Legion (III Corps)|
|Battles/wars||French Revolutionary Wars|
Clausewitz's Christian names are sometimes given in non-German sources as "Karl", "Carl Philipp Gottlieb," or "Carl Maria." He spelled his own given name with a "C" in order to identify with the classical Western tradition; writers who use "Karl" are often seeking to emphasise his German (rather than European) identity. "Carl Philipp Gottfried" appears on Clausewitz's tombstone. Nonetheless, sources such as military historian Peter Paret and Encyclopædia Britannica use Gottlieb instead of Gottfried.
Clausewitz was born on 1 June 1780 in Burg bei Magdeburg in the Prussian Duchy of Magdeburg as the fourth and youngest son of a family that made claims to noble status which Carl accepted. Clausewitz's family claimed descent from the Barons of Clausewitz in Upper Silesia, though scholars question the connection. His grandfather, the son of a Lutheran pastor, had been a professor of theology. Clausewitz's father, once a lieutenant in the army of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, held a minor post in the Prussian internal-revenue service. Clausewitz entered the Prussian military service at the age of twelve as a lance-corporal, eventually attaining the rank of major general.
Clausewitz served in the Rhine Campaigns (1793–1794) including the Siege of Mainz, when the Prussian army invaded France during the French Revolution, and fought in the Napoleonic Wars from 1806 to 1815. He entered the Kriegsakademie (also cited as "The German War School", the "Military Academy in Berlin", and the "Prussian Military Academy," later the "War College") in Berlin in 1801 (aged 21), probably studied the writings of the philosophers Immanuel Kant and/or Fichte and Schleiermacher and won the regard of General Gerhard von Scharnhorst, the future first chief-of-staff of the newly reformed Prussian Army (appointed 1809). Clausewitz, Hermann von Boyen (1771–1848) and Karl von Grolman (1777–1843) were among Scharnhorst's primary allies in his efforts to reform the Prussian army between 1807 and 1814.
Clausewitz served during the Jena Campaign as aide-de-camp to Prince August. At the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October 1806 – when Napoleon invaded Prussia and defeated the massed Prussian-Saxon army commanded by Karl Wilhelm Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick – he was captured, one of the 25,000 prisoners taken that day as the Prussian army disintegrated. He was 26. Clausewitz was held prisoner with his prince in France from 1807 to 1808. Returning to Prussia, he assisted in the reform of the Prussian army and state.
On 10 December 1810 he married the socially prominent Countess Marie von Brühl, whom he had first met in 1803. She was a member of the noble German von Brühl family originating in Thuringia. The couple moved in the highest circles, socialising with Berlin's political, literary and intellectual élite. Marie was well-educated and politically well-connected—she played an important role in her husband's career progress and intellectual evolution. She also edited, published, and introduced his collected works.
Opposed to Prussia's enforced alliance with Napoleon I, Clausewitz left the Prussian army and served in the Imperial Russian Army from 1812 to 1813 during the Russian Campaign, taking part in the Battle of Borodino (1812). Like many Prussian officers serving in Russia, he joined the Russian-German Legion in 1813. In the service of the Russian Empire, Clausewitz helped negotiate the Convention of Tauroggen (1812), which prepared the way for the coalition of Prussia, Russia, and the United Kingdom that ultimately defeated Napoleon and his allies.
In 1815 the Russian-German Legion became integrated into the Prussian Army and Clausewitz re-entered Prussian service as a colonel. He was soon appointed chief-of-staff of Johann von Thielmann's III Corps. In that capacity he served at the Battle of Ligny and the Battle of Wavre during the Waterloo Campaign in 1815. An army led personally by Napoleon defeated the Prussians at Ligny (south of Mont-Saint-Jean and the village of Waterloo) on 16 June 1815, but Napoleon's failure to destroy the Prussian forces led to his defeat a few days later at the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815), when the Prussian forces unexpectedly arrived on his right flank late in the afternoon to support the Anglo-Dutch-Belgian forces pressing his front. Clausewitz's unit fought at Wavre (18–19 June 1815), preventing large reinforcements from reaching Napoleon at Waterloo. After the war Clausewitz served as the director of the Kriegsakademie, where he served until 1830. In that year he returned to duty with the army. Soon afterwards, the outbreak of several revolutions around Europe and a crisis in Poland appeared to presage another major European war. Clausewitz was appointed chief of staff of the only army Prussia was able to mobilise in this emergency, which was sent to the Polish border. Its commander, Gneisenau, died of cholera (August 1831), and Clausewitz took command of the Prussian army's efforts to construct a cordon sanitaire to contain the great cholera outbreak (the first time cholera had appeared in modern heartland Europe, causing a continent-wide panic). Clausewitz himself died of the same disease shortly afterwards, on 17 November 1831.
His widow edited, published, and wrote the introduction to his magnum opus on the philosophy of war in 1832. (He had started working on the text in 1816, but had not completed it.) She wrote the preface for On War and by 1835 had published most of his collected works. She died in January 1836.
Clausewitz was a professional combat soldier who was involved in numerous military campaigns, but he is famous primarily as a military theorist interested in the examination of war, utilising the campaigns of Frederick the Great and Napoleon as frames of reference for his work. He wrote a careful, systematic, philosophical examination of war in all its aspects. The result was his principal book, On War, a major work on the philosophy of war. It was unfinished when Clausewitz died and contains material written at different stages in his intellectual evolution, producing some significant contradictions between different sections. The sequence and precise character of that evolution is a source of much debate, as are exact meaning behind his seemingly contradictory claims (discussions pertinent to the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war are one example). Clausewitz constantly sought to revise the text, particularly between 1827 and his departure on his last field assignments, to include more material on "people's war" and forms of war other than high-intensity warfare between states, but relatively little of this material was included in the book. Soldiers before this time had written treatises on various military subjects, but none had undertaken a great philosophical examination of war on the scale of those written by Clausewitz and Leo Tolstoy, both of which were inspired by the events of the Napoleonic Era.
Clausewitz's work is still studied today, demonstrating its continued relevance. More than sixteen major English-language books that focused specifically on his work were published between 2005 and 2014, whereas his 19th-century rival Jomini faded from influence. The historian Lynn Montross said the outcome, "may be explained by the fact that Jomini produced a system of war, Clausewitz a philosophy. The one has been outdated by new weapons, the other still influences the strategy behind those weapons." Jomini did not attempt to define war but Clausewitz did, providing (and dialectically comparing) a number of definitions. The first is his dialectical thesis: "War is thus an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will." The second, often treated as Clausewitz's 'bottom line,' is in fact merely his dialectical antithesis: "War is merely the continuation of policy by other means." The synthesis of his dialectical examination of the nature of war is his famous "trinity," saying that war is "a fascinating trinity—composed of primordial violence, hatred, and enmity, which are to be regarded as a blind natural force; the play of chance and probability, within which the creative spirit is free to roam; and its element of subordination, as an instrument of policy, which makes it subject to pure reason." Christopher Bassford says the best shorthand for Clausewitz's trinity should be something like "violent emotion/chance/rational calculation." However, it is frequently presented as "people/army/government," a misunderstanding based on a later paragraph in the same chapter. This misrepresentation was popularised by U.S. Army Colonel Harry Summers' Vietnam-era interpretation, facilitated by weaknesses in the 1976 Howard/Paret translation.
The degree to which Clausewitz managed to revise his manuscript to reflect that synthesis is the subject of much debate. His final reference to war and Politik, however, goes beyond his widely quoted antithesis: "War is simply the continuation of political intercourse with the addition of other means. We deliberately use the phrase 'with the addition of other means' because we also want to make it clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different. In essentials that intercourse continues, irrespective of the means it employs. The main lines along which military events progress, and to which they are restricted, are political lines that continue throughout the war into the subsequent peace."
Clausewitz introduced systematic philosophical contemplation into Western military thinking, with powerful implications not only for historical and analytical writing but also for practical policy, military instruction, and operational planning. He relied on his own experiences, contemporary writings about Napoleon, and on deep historical research. His historiographical approach is evident in his first extended study, written when he was 25, of the Thirty Years War. He rejects the Enlightenment's view of the war as a chaotic muddle and instead explains its drawn-out operations by the economy and technology of the age, the social characteristics of the troops, and the commanders' politics and psychology. In On War, Clausewitz sees all wars as the sum of decisions, actions, and reactions in an uncertain and dangerous context, and also as a socio-political phenomenon. He also stressed the complex nature of war, which encompasses both the socio-political and the operational and stresses the primacy of state policy.:viii
The word "strategy" had only recently come into usage in modern Europe, and Clausewitz's definition is quite narrow: "the use of engagements for the object of war." Clausewitz conceived of war as a political, social, and military phenomenon which might — depending on circumstances — involve the entire population of a nation at war. In any case, Clausewitz saw military force as an instrument that states and other political actors use to pursue the ends of policy, in a dialectic between opposing wills, each with the aim of imposing his policies and will upon his enemy.
Clausewitz's emphasis on the inherent superiority of the defence suggests that habitual aggressors are likely to end up as failures. The inherent superiority of the defence obviously does not mean that the defender will always win, however: there are other asymmetries to be considered. He was interested in co-operation between the regular army and militia or partisan forces, or citizen soldiers, as one possible — sometimes the only — method of defence. In the circumstances of the Wars of the French Revolution and with Napoleon, which were energised by a rising spirit of nationalism, he emphasised the need for states to involve their entire populations in the conduct of war. This point is especially important, as these wars demonstrated that such energies could be of decisive importance and for a time led to a democratisation of the armed forces much as universal suffrage democratised politics.
While Clausewitz was intensely aware of the value of intelligence at all levels, he was also very sceptical of the accuracy of much military intelligence: "Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain.... In short, most intelligence is false.":Vol. I pg. 38 This circumstance is generally described as part of the fog of war. Such sceptical comments apply only to intelligence at the tactical and operational levels; at the strategic and political levels he constantly stressed the requirement for the best possible understanding of what today would be called strategic and political intelligence. His conclusions were influenced by his experiences in the Prussian Army, which was often in an intelligence fog due partly to the superior abilities of Napoleon's system but even more to the nature of war. Clausewitz acknowledges that friction creates enormous difficulties for the realisation of any plan, and the fog of war hinders commanders from knowing what is happening. It is precisely in the context of this challenge that he develops the concept of military genius, whose capabilities are seen above all in the execution of operations. 'Military genius' is not simply a matter of intellect, but a combination of qualities of intellect, experience, personality, and temperament (and there are many possible such combinations) that create a very highly developed mental aptitude for the waging of war.
Key ideas discussed in On War include:
Clausewitz used a dialectical method to construct his argument, leading to frequent misinterpretation of his ideas. British military theorist B. H. Liddell Hart contends that the enthusiastic acceptance by the Prussian military establishment – especially Moltke the Elder, a former student of his  – of what they believed to be Clausewitz's ideas, and the subsequent widespread adoption of the Prussian military system worldwide, had a deleterious effect on military theory and practice, due to their egregious misinterpretation of his ideas:
As so often happens, Clausewitz's disciples carried his teaching to an extreme which their master had not intended.... [Clausewitz's] theory of war was expounded in a way too abstract and involved for ordinary soldier-minds, essentially concrete, to follow the course of his argument – which often turned back from the direction in which it was apparently leading. Impressed yet befogged, they grasped at his vivid leading phrases, seeing only their surface meaning, and missing the deeper current of his thought.
One of the main sources of confusion about Clausewitz's approach lies in his dialectical method of presentation. For example, Clausewitz's famous line that "War is a mere continuation of politics by other means," ("Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln") while accurate as far as it goes, was not intended as a statement of fact. It is the antithesis in a dialectical argument whose thesis is the point – made earlier in the analysis – that "war is nothing but a duel [or wrestling match, a better translation of the German Zweikampf] on a larger scale." His synthesis, which resolves the deficiencies of these two bold statements, says that war is neither "nothing but" an act of brute force nor "merely" a rational act of politics or policy. This synthesis lies in his "fascinating trinity" [wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit]: a dynamic, inherently unstable interaction of the forces of violent emotion, chance, and rational calculation.
Another example of this confusion is the idea that Clausewitz was a proponent of total war as used in the Third Reich's propaganda in the 1940s. In fact, he never used the term "total war": rather, he discussed "absolute war," a concept which evolved into the much more abstract notion of "ideal war" discussed at the very beginning of Vom Kriege--the purely logical result of the forces underlying a "pure," Platonic "ideal" of war. In what he called a "logical fantasy," war cannot be waged in a limited way: the rules of competition will force participants to use all means at their disposal to achieve victory. But in the real world, he said, such rigid logic is unrealistic and dangerous. As a practical matter, the military objectives in real war that support political objectives generally fall into two broad types: "war to achieve limited aims"; and war to "disarm" the enemy, "to render [him] politically helpless or militarily impotent." Thus the complete defeat of the enemy may not be necessary, desirable, or even possible.
In modern times the reconstruction of Clausewitzian theory has been a matter of much dispute. One analysis was that of Panagiotis Kondylis, a Greek-German writer and philosopher, who opposed the interpretations of Raymond Aron in Penser la Guerre, Clausewitz, and other liberal writers. According to Aron, Clausewitz was one of the first writers to condemn the militarism of the Prussian general staff and its war-proneness, based on Clausewitz's argument that "war is a continuation of politics by other means." In Theory of War, Kondylis claims that this is inconsistent with Clausewitzian thought. He claims that Clausewitz was morally indifferent to war (though this probably reflects a lack of familiarity with personal letters from Clausewitz, which demonstrate an acute awareness of war's tragic aspects) and that his advice regarding politics' dominance over the conduct of war has nothing to do with pacifist ideas. For Clausewitz, war is simply one unique means that is sometimes applied to the eternal quest for power, of raison d'État in an anarchic and unsafe world.
Other notable writers who have studied Clausewitz's texts and translated them into English are historians Peter Paret of the Institute for Advanced Study and Sir Michael Howard, and the philosopher, musician, and game theorist Anatol Rapoport. Howard and Paret edited the most widely used edition of On War (Princeton University Press, 1976/1984) and have produced comparative studies of Clausewitz and other theorists, such as Tolstoy. Bernard Brodie's A Guide to the Reading of "On War", in the 1976 Princeton translation, expressed his interpretations of the Prussian's theories and provided students with an influential synopsis of this vital work.
The British military historian John Keegan attacked Clausewitz's theory in his book A History of Warfare. Keegan argued that Clausewitz assumed the existence of states, yet 'war antedates the state, diplomacy and strategy by many millennia.'
Clausewitz died without completing On War, but despite this his ideas have been widely influential in military theory and have had a strong influence on German military thought specifically. Later Prussian and German generals, such as Helmuth Graf von Moltke, were clearly influenced by Clausewitz: Moltke's widely quoted statement that "No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy" is a classic reflection of Clausewitz's insistence on the roles of chance, friction, "fog," uncertainty, and interactivity in war.:20–21
Clausewitz's influence spread to British thinking as well, though at first more as a historian and analyst than as a theorist. See for example Wellington's extended essay discussing Clausewitz's study of the Campaign of 1815—Wellington's only serious written discussion of the battle, which was widely discussed in 19th-century Britain. Clausewitz's broader thinking came to the fore following Britain's military embarrassments in the Boer War (1899–1902). One example of a heavy Clausewitzian influence in that era is Spenser Wilkinson, journalist, the first Chichele Professor of Military History at Oxford University, and perhaps the most prominent military analyst in Britain from c. 1885 until well into the interwar period. Another is naval historian Julian Corbett (1854–1922), whose work reflected a deep if idiosyncratic adherence to Clausewitz's concepts and frequently an emphasis on Clausewitz's ideas about 'limited war' and the inherent strengths of the defensive form of war. Corbett's practical strategic views were often in prominent public conflict with Wilkinson's – see, for example, Wilkinson's article "Strategy at Sea," The Morning Post, 12 February 1912. Following the First World War, however, the influential British military commentator B. H. Liddell Hart in the 1920s erroneously attributed to him the doctrine of "total war" that during the First World War had been embraced by many European general staffs and emulated by the British. More recent scholars typically see that war as so confused in terms of political rationale that it in fact contradicts much of On War. One of the most influential British Clausewitzians today is Colin S. Gray; historian Hew Strachan (like Wilkinson also the Chichele Professor of Military History at Oxford University, since 2001) has been an energetic proponent of the study of Clausewitz, but his own views on Clausewitz's ideas are somewhat ambivalent.
With some interesting exceptions (e.g., John McAuley Palmer, Robert M. Johnston, Hoffman Nickerson), Clausewitz had little influence on American military thought before 1945 other than via British writers, though Generals Eisenhower and Patton were avid readers. He did influence Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky :233–60 and Mao Zedong, and thus the Communist Soviet and Chinese traditions, as Lenin emphasised the inevitability of wars among capitalist states in the age of imperialism and presented the armed struggle of the working class as the only path toward the eventual elimination of war. Because Lenin was an admirer of Clausewitz and called him "one of the great military writers", his influence on the Red Army was immense. The Russian historian A.N. Mertsalov commented that "It was an irony of fate that the view in the USSR was that it was Lenin who shaped the attitude towards Clausewitz, and that Lenin's dictum that war is a continuation of politics is taken from the work of this [allegedly] anti-humanist anti-revolutionary." The American mathematician Anatol Rapoport wrote in 1968 that Clausewitz as interpreted by Lenin formed the basis of all Soviet military thinking since 1917, and quoted the remarks by Marshal V.D. Sokolovsky:
In describing the essence of war, Marxism-Leninism takes as its point of departure the premise that war is not an aim in itself, but rather a tool of politics. In his remarks on Clausewitz's On War, Lenin stressed that "Politics is the reason, and war is only the tool, not the other way around. Consequently, it remains only to subordinate the military point of view to the political".:37
Rapoport argued that:
As for Lenin's approval of Clausewitz, it probably stems from his obsession with the struggle for power. The whole Marxist conception of history is that of successive struggles for power, primarily between social classes. This was constantly applied by Lenin in a variety of contexts. Thus the entire history of philosophy appears in Lenin's writings as a vast struggle between "idealism" and "materialism". The fate of the socialist movement was to be decided by a struggle between the revolutionists and the reformers. Clausewitz's acceptance of the struggle for power as the essence of international politics must have impressed Lenin as starkly realistic.:37–38
Clausewitz directly influenced Mao Zedong, who read On War in 1938 and organised a seminar on Clausewitz for the Party leadership in Yan'an. Thus the "Clausewitzian" content in many of Mao's writings is not merely a regurgitation of Lenin but reflects Mao's study. The idea that war involves inherent "friction" that distorts, to a greater or lesser degree, all prior arrangements, has become common currency in fields such as business strategy and sport. The phrase fog of war derives from Clausewitz's stress on how confused warfare can seem while immersed within it. The term center of gravity, used in a military context derives from Clausewitz's usage, which he took from Newtonian mechanics. In U.S. military doctrine, "center of gravity" refers to the basis of an opponent's power at the operational, strategic, or political level, though this is only one aspect of Clausewitz's use of the term.
The deterrence strategy of the United States in the 1950s was closely inspired by President Dwight Eisenhower’s reading of Clausewitz as a young officer in the 1920s. Eisenhower was greatly impressed by Clausewitz’s example of a theoretical, idealised “absolute war” in Vom Krieg as a way of demonstrating how absurd it would be to attempt such a strategy in practice. For Eisenhower, the age of nuclear weapons had made what was for Clausewitz in the early 19th century only a theoretical vision an all too real possibility in the mid-20th century. From Eisenhower's viewpoint, the best deterrent to war was to show the world just how appalling and horrific a nuclear “absolute war” would be if it should ever occur, hence a series of much publicised nuclear tests in the Pacific, giving first priority in the defence budget to nuclear weapons and delivery systems over conventional weapons, and making repeated statements in public that the United States was able and willing at all times to use nuclear weapons. In this way through the massive retaliation doctrine and the closely related foreign policy concept of brinkmanship, Eisenhower hoped to hold out a creditable vision of Clausewitzian nuclear “absolute war” in order to deter the Soviet Union and/or China from ever risking a war or even conditions that might lead to a war with the United States.
After 1970, some theorists claimed that nuclear proliferation made Clausewitzian concepts obsolete after the 20th-century period in which they dominated the world. John E. Sheppard, Jr., argues that by developing nuclear weapons, state-based conventional armies simultaneously both perfected their original purpose, to destroy a mirror image of themselves, and made themselves obsolete. No two powers have used nuclear weapons against each other, instead using conventional means or proxy wars to settle disputes. If such a conflict did occur, presumably both combatants would be annihilated. Heavily influenced by the war in Vietnam and by antipathy to American strategist Henry Kissinger, the American biologist, musician, and game-theorist Anatol Rapoport argued in 1968 that a Clausewitzian view of war was not only obsolete in the age of nuclear weapons, but also highly dangerous as it promoted a "zero-sum paradigm" to international relations and a "dissolution of rationality" amongst decision-makers.:73–77
The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century have seen many instances of state armies attempting to suppress insurgencies, terrorism, and other forms of asymmetrical warfare. Clausewitz did not focus solely on wars between countries with well-defined armies. The era of the French Revolution and Napoleon was full of revolutions, rebellions, and violence by "non-state actors", such as the wars in the French Vendée and in Spain. Clausewitz wrote a series of “Lectures on Small War” and studied the rebellion in the Vendée (1793–1796) and the Tyrolean uprising of 1809. In his famous “Bekenntnisdenkschrift” of 1812, he called for a “Spanish war in Germany” and laid out a comprehensive guerrilla strategy to be waged against Napoleon. In On War he included a famous chapter on “The People in Arms.”
One prominent critic of Clausewitz is the Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld. In his book The Transformation of War, Creveld argued that Clausewitz's famous "Trinity" of people, army, and government was an obsolete socio-political construct based on the state, which was rapidly passing from the scene as the key player in war, and that he (Creveld) had constructed a new "non-trinitarian" model for modern warfare. Creveld's work has had great influence. Daniel Moran replied, 'The most egregious misrepresentation of Clausewitz's famous metaphor must be that of Martin van Creveld, who has declared Clausewitz to be an apostle of Trinitarian War, by which he means, incomprehensibly, a war of 'state against state and army against army,' from which the influence of the people is entirely excluded." Christopher Bassford went further, noting that one need only read the paragraph in which Clausewitz defined his Trinity to see "that the words 'people,' 'army,' and 'government' appear nowhere at all in the list of the Trinity’s components.... Creveld's and Keegan's assault on Clausewitz's Trinity is not only a classic 'blow into the air,' i.e., an assault on a position Clausewitz doesn't occupy. It is also a pointless attack on a concept that is quite useful in its own right. In any case, their failure to read the actual wording of the theory they so vociferously attack, and to grasp its deep relevance to the phenomena they describe, is hard to credit."
Some have gone further and suggested that Clausewitz's best-known aphorism, that war is a continuation of politics by other means, is not only irrelevant today but also inapplicable historically. For an opposing view see the sixteen essays presented in Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century edited by Hew Strachan and Andreas Herberg-Rothe.
In military academies, schools, and universities worldwide, Clausewitz's literature is often mandatory reading.
August Otto Rühle von Lilienstern – Prussian officer from whom Clausewitz allegedly took, without acknowledgment, several important ideas (including that about war as pursuing political aims) made famous in On War. However, such ideas as Clausewitz and Lilienstern shared in common derived from a common influence, i.e., Scharnhorst, who was Clausewitz's "second father" and professional mentor.
The Battle of Frauenfeld was a military encounter during the War of the Second Coalition (1799-1802). It took place on 25 May 1799 between Austrian and French troops. The battle ended in the evening with the retreat of the Austrians, but on the following day the French withdrew.Battle of Wavre
The Battle of Wavre was the final major military action of the Hundred Days campaign and the Napoleonic Wars. It was fought on 18–19 June 1815 between the Prussian rearguard, consisting of the Prussian III Corps under the command of General Johann von Thielmann (whose chief-of-staff was Carl von Clausewitz) and three corps of the French army under the command of Marshal Grouchy. A blocking action, this battle kept 33,000 French soldiers from reaching the Battle of Waterloo and so helped in the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.Burg bei Magdeburg
Burg bei Magdeburg is a town of about 23,900 inhabitants on the Elbe–Havel Canal in northeastern Germany, 25 km (16 mi) northeast of Magdeburg. It is the capital of the Jerichower Land district in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
The town is known for its mediaeval churches and towers. Due to the numerous towers and steeples Burg also carries the sobriquet City of Towers. Like other German towns and cities, Burg shows its connection to the Roland saga with a statue, which was restored in 1999.
Although the name Burg has the same form as the German word Burg (castle), it is more likely that the name comes from the Slavic word bor, meaning coniferous forest.
Burg formerly had the largest shoe manufacturing factory in Europe and was the first to produce manufactured crispbread in Germany, beginning production in 1931.
The town is notable as both the birthplace and the final resting place of General Carl von Clausewitz.
Near Burg there is a large transmission site for long- and mediumwave, which was among other things used for the transmissions of Radio Wolga.Center of gravity (disambiguation)
In physics, a center of gravity of a material body is a point that may be used for a summary description of gravitational interactions.
Center of gravity may also refer to:
Center of gravity (military), a concept developed by Carl Von Clausewitz, a Prussian military theorist
Center of mass, for which "center of gravity" is often a synonym
Centre of gravity frame or center of momentum frame, any inertial frame in which the center of mass is at rest
Centre of gravity wavelength, the power-weighted mean wavelength of a spectrum** A music/ extreme sports festival held in Kelowna, B.C. Canada. The event is showcased by talent such as artists Drake and French Montana in this years 2018 lineup.Center of gravity (military)
The center of gravity (CoG) is a concept developed by Carl Von Clausewitz, a Prussian military theorist, in his work On War.Charles Roberts Awards Hall of Fame
The Charles S. Roberts Awards Hall of Fame, formally known as the Clausewitz Award Hall of Fame, is named after legendary military writer Carl von Clausewitz. The recipients of this award have made an important contribution and left their mark on the contemporary hobby of military strategy games and simulations.
The Clausewitz Award is presented with the annual wargame awards.Christopher Bassford
Christopher Bassford (born 1953) is an American military historian, best known for his works on the Prussian military philosopher Carl von Clausewitz. Bassford graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in history and honors for his dissertation on tactical nuclear weapons and completed his MA in American diplomatic history at Ohio University. Subsequent to receiving his MA, he served five years on active duty as a U.S. Army field artillery officer, with tours in Korea and Germany. He completed a Ph.D. in modern European history at Purdue University and became director of studies in the theory and nature of war at the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) Command and Staff College, then associate professor of National Policy Issues at the U.S. Army War College. He was Professor of Strategy at the National War College (NWC), in Washington, D.C., from 1999 until 2012, when he joined the faculty of the College of International Security Affairs (CISA) as part of the JSOMA program supporting U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC). He is the webeditor of The Clausewitz Homepage, a large educational website that has been on-line since 1995.Classical realism (international relations)
Classical realism is a theory of international relations established in the post-World War II era that seeks to explain international politics as a result of human nature. The theory is associated with thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas Hobbes. Modern thinkers associated with classical realism are Carl von Clausewitz, Hans Morgenthau and Reinhold Niebuhr. Classical realist thought has since been overshadowed by neorealism after Kenneth Waltz's work became more widely accepted due to the rise of structuralism in North American international relations scholarship which favored the latter's emphasis on rationality rather than human nature as cause for political conflict.Culminating point
The culminating point in military strategy is the point at which a military force no longer is able to perform its operations.
On the offensive, the culminating point marks the time when the attacking force can no longer continue its advance, because of supply problems, the opposing force, or the need for rest. The task of the attacker is to complete its objectives before the culminating point is reached. The task of the defender on the other hand, is to bring the attacking force to its culminating point before its objectives are completed.
The concept of a culminating point was formulated by the Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz in his book On War published in 1832.Economy of force
Economy of force is one of the nine Principles of War, based upon Carl von Clausewitz's approach to warfare. It is the principle of employing all available combat power in the most effective way possible, in an attempt to allocate a minimum of essential combat power to any secondary efforts. It is the judicious employment and distribution of forces towards the primary objective of any person's conflict. Economy of force is the reciprocal of mass.
No part of a force should ever be left without purpose. The allocation of available combat power to such tasks, like limited attacks, defense, delays, deception or even retrograde operations is measured, in order to achieve mass at decisive points elsewhere on the battlefield.
Carl von Clausewitz once said that "Every unnecessary expenditure of time, every unnecessary detour, is a waste of power, and therefore contrary to the principles of strategy."The Principles of War are a part of United States Army doctrine. The current doctrinal manual for army operations is FM 3–0 Operations, which defines, and describes, economy of force as follows: "Allocate minimum essential combat power to secondary efforts. Economy of force is the reciprocal of mass. It requires accepting prudent risk in selected areas to achieve superiority—overwhelming effects—in the decisive operation. Economy of force involves the discriminating employment and distribution of forces. Commanders never leave any element without a purpose. When the time comes to execute, all elements should have tasks to perform."Fog of war
The fog of war (German: Nebel des Krieges) is the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations. The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign. Military forces try to reduce the fog of war through military intelligence and friendly force tracking systems. The term is also used to define uncertainty mechanics in wargames.Marie von Brühl
Marie Sophie Gräfin von Brühl (Countess Marie Sophie von Brühl; (3 June 1779 – 28 January 1836) was a member of the noble German von Brühl family originating in Thuringia. Despite her own career as a patron of the arts in Berlin, she is known for editing and publishing the work of her husband Carl von Clausewitz, especially his military treatise On War.On Thermonuclear War
On Thermonuclear War is a book by Herman Kahn, a military strategist at the RAND Corporation, although it was written only a year before he left RAND to form the Hudson Institute. It is a controversial treatise on the nature and theory of war in the thermonuclear weapon age. In it, Kahn addresses the strategic doctrines of nuclear war and its effect on the international balance of power.
Kahn introduced the Doomsday Machine as a rhetorical device to show the limits of John von Neumann's strategy of mutual assured destruction or MAD. The book helped popularize the term megadeath, which Kahn coined in 1953.Kahn's stated purpose in writing the book was "avoiding disaster and buying time, without specifying the use of this time." The title of the book was inspired by the classic volume On War, by Carl von Clausewitz.
Widely read on both sides of the Iron Curtain—the book sold 30,000 copies in hardcover—it is noteworthy for its views on the lack of credibility of a purely thermonuclear deterrent and how a country could "win" a nuclear war.On War
Vom Kriege (German pronunciation: [fɔm ˈkʁiːɡə]) is a book on war and military strategy by Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831), written mostly after the Napoleonic wars, between 1816 and 1830, and published posthumously by his wife Marie von Brühl in 1832. It has been translated into English several times as On War. On War is actually an unfinished work; Clausewitz had set about revising his accumulated manuscripts in 1827, but did not live to finish the task. His wife edited his collected works and published them between 1832 and 1835. His 10-volume collected works contain most of his larger historical and theoretical writings, though not his shorter articles and papers or his extensive correspondence with important political, military, intellectual and cultural leaders in the Prussian state. On War is formed by the first three volumes and represents his theoretical explorations. It is one of the most important treatises on political-military analysis and strategy ever written, and remains both controversial and influential on strategic thinking.On War (film)
On War (French: De la guerre) is a 2008 French comedy-drama film directed by Bertrand Bonello and starring Mathieu Amalric, Laurent Lucas, Guillaume Depardieu, Asia Argento, Michel Piccoli and Léa Seydoux. It follows a man in the middle of an existential crisis as he gets drawn into a strange pleasure-obsessed cult. The film's title loosely refers to the treatise On War, by Carl von Clausewitz.Panzer Division Clausewitz
Panzer-Division Clausewitz was a German panzer division during World War II, named for Carl von Clausewitz.
It was formed in central Germany area at the beginning of April 1945 under the command of Generalleutnant Martin Unrein, from the 233rd Panzergrenadier Division and also drawing Panzergrenadier troops from the 233rd Reserve Panzer Division and vehicles from the Panzer training school at Putlos. Other elements came from the reserve brigade of the Großdeutschland division, the remnants of the Holstein panzer division, the Panzerkorps Feldherrnhalle, and units drawn from Army Group Blumentritt.
Most of the infantry were front-line veterans who had been posted to reserve divisions after recovering from injuries, and the tank crews were mostly composed of instructors. However, the unit was heavily deficient in equipment - overall, only around 20% of the assigned vehicles were available. The equipment was also often outdated - several tanks were Panzer IIIs or Panzer IVs - and in a bad state of repair. Individual units were equipped with a variety of vehicles, making maintenance difficult, and ammunition was in short supply. There were no artillery pieces, very little signals equipment, and no supply troops.
It first saw action in the northern front, fighting British armoured units from the 10th to the 12th, before being assigned to the XXXIX Corps. The XXXIX Corps was ordered to push south to cut the supply lines of the leading American divisions, which had now reached as far as the Elbe river, and attempt to link up with the 11th SS Panzer Army, which was fighting in the Harz mountains. Most division's personnel were killed, wounded or taken prisoner in this push, and by the 20th it had split into small disorganised groups. On the 24th, the divisional commander was captured by American troops.Principles of war
Principles of war are rules and guidelines that represent truths in the practice of war and military operations.
The earliest known principles of war were documented by Sun Tzu, circa 500 BCE. Machiavelli published his "General Rules" in 1521 which were themselves modeled on Vegetius' Regulae bellorum generales (Epit. 3.26.1-33). Henri, Duke of Rohan established his "Guides" for war in 1644. Marquis de Silva presented his "Principles" for war in 1778. Henry Lloyd proffered his version of "Rules" for war in 1781 as well as his "Axioms" for war in 1781.Then in 1805, Antoine-Henri Jomini published his "Maxims" for War version 1, "Didactic Resume" and "Maxims" for War version 2. Carl von Clausewitz wrote his version in 1812 building on the work of earlier writers.
There are no universally agreed-upon principles of war.Strategic studies
Security and strategic studies is an interdisciplinary academic field centered on the study of conflict and peace strategies, often devoting special attention to the relationship between international politics, geostrategy, international diplomacy, international economics, and military power. In the scope of the studies are also subjects such as the role of intelligence, diplomacy, and international cooperation for security and defense. The subject is normally taught at the post-graduate academic or professional, usually strategic-political and strategic-military levels.
The academic foundations of the subject began with classic texts initially from the Orient such as Sun Tzu’s Art of War and went on to gain a European focus with Carl von Clausewitz’s On War. Like Clausewitz, many academics in this field reject monocausal theories and hypotheses that reduce the study of conflict to one independent variable and one dependent variable. Already in the late eighteenth century, a colourful mathematician named Dietrich Heinrich von Bülow attempted to establish mathematical formulae for the conduct of war. Carl von Clausewitz rejected Bülow’s approach and his popular claim that warfare could be reduced to positivist, teachable principles of war. Instead of formulae, we find Clausewitz stressing, time and again, that the whole purpose of educating the military commander is not to give him a series of answers for the task he will face (the complexities of which cannot be foreseen), but to educate him about different aspects of what will face him so as to let him evaluate the situation for himself, and develop his own strategy. Strategic thinkers on the whole will search for recurrent patterns, which in themselves cannot predict the characteristics of any individual case even if it doubtless fits a larger category; not all patterns of characteristics will be found in all cases.
In recent times, the major conflicts of the nineteenth century and the two World Wars have spurred strategic thinkers such as Mahan, Corbett, Giulio Douhet, Liddell Hart and, later, André Beaufre. The Cold War with its danger of degenerating into a nuclear war produced an expansion of the discipline, with authors like Bernard Brodie, Michael Howard, Raymond Aron, Lucien Poirier, Lawrence Freedman, Colin Gray, and many others.
The subject is taught in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe.
In Nigeria, Institute for Peace and Strategic Studies, Nigerian Defence Academy, University of Ibadan, Covenant University, Nigeria. In South Africa, the Faculty of Military Science at the University of Stellenbosch provides a number of courses in strategic studies from the undergraduate to PhD level. The Faculty of Military Science, co-located at the South African Military Academy in Saldanha is also involved in the teaching of the discipline at the South African Defence and War Colleges.
In Europe the subject is taught at the University of St Andrews, the University of Reading, Aberystwyth University, the University of Aberdeen, the University of Exeter, the University of Hull, King's College London, and the University of Leeds (all in the United Kingdom), University of Rome III and Università degli Studi di Milano (both in Italy), the University of Granada (in Spain), the National Defence University (in Finland), the Charles University in Prague, Netherlands Defence College Breda (the Netherlands), and the Université Paris 13 Nord SciencesPo (in France), University College Cork (Ireland), University of Warsaw (Poland).
In the Americas it is taught in Chile, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, United States.
In Brazil it is taught at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and Universidade Federal Fluminense in Brazil. In Canada it is taught in University of Calgary and the Royal Military College in Canada.
In Chile, it is taught in the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies, Ministry of Defense.
In the U.S. the subject is taught in many state university systems, the United States Military Academy, United States Air Force Academy, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University, Missouri State University, The University of Texas at El Paso, Temple University, the U.S. Army War College, Air University, U.S. Naval War College, Marine Corps War College, and the National Defense University.
In Asia and the Pacific it is also taught in several countries. In Bangladesh it is taught at the national universities, Bangladesh University of Professionals, the National Defense University, and the military academies.
In Australia it is taught in the Australian National University. In New Zealand it is taught at Victoria University of Wellington. In Singapore the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. In Malaysia University of Malaya.
In Pakistan the subject is taught in several universities, but predominantly in Quaid-I-Azam University (QAU), National Defence University (NDU), University of Punjab, and Fatima Jinnah Women's University.In India, Savitribai Phule Pune University and University of Allahabad and National Defence University in Pakistan. Turkish War Academy has also Strategic Research Institute (SAREN) in which the subject is taught at both masters and doctoral levels.Strategist
A strategist is a person with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of a strategy. Strategy generally involves setting goals, determining actions to achieve the goals, and mobilizing resources to execute the actions. A strategy describes how the ends (goals) will be achieved by the means (resources). The senior leadership of an organization is generally tasked with determining strategy. Strategy can be intended or can emerge as a pattern of activity as the organization adapts to its environment or competes. It involves activities such as strategic planning and strategic thinking.