Clausewitz, Karl von

v

Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz[1] (play /ˈklzəvɪts/; June 1, 1780 – November 16, 1831[2]) was a Prussian soldier and German military theorist who stressed the moral and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War), was unfinished at his death.

Clausewitz espoused a romantic conception of warfare, stressing the dialectic of how opposite factors interact, and noting how unexpected new developments unfolding under the “fog of war” called for rapid decisions by alert commanders. Clausewitz saw history as a complex check on abstractions that did not accord with experience. In opposition to Antoine-Henri Jomini he argued war could not be quantified or graphed or reduced to mapwork and graphs. Clausewitz had many aphorisms, of which the most famous is, “War is not merely a political act, but also a political instrument, a continuation of political relations, a carrying out of the same by other means,” a working definition of war which has won wide acceptance.Claus

Clausewitz, Karl von

Clausewitz, Karl von (kärl fun klou’zuvits) [key], 1780–1831, Prussian general and military strategist. Clausewitz was an original thinker most influenced by the Napoleonic wars in which he fought. He served in the Rhine campaigns (1793–94), won the regard of Gerhard von Scharnhorst at the Berlin Military Academy, and served in the wars against Napoleon I. In the service of Russia from 1812 until 1814, he helped negotiate the convention of Tauroggen (1812), which prepared the way for the alliance of Prussia, Russia, and Great Britain against Napoleon. Later he reentered the Prussian army, played an important role at Waterloo, and was appointed (1818) director of the Prussian war college. His masterpiece On War was unfinished and was published posthumously. Written in a dialectic style influenced by Hegel and subject to varying interpretations, it remains influential. Clausewitz argued that although most conflicts tend toward total war in the abstract, the “friction” of reality keeps war limited, unpredictable, and dangerous. His most famous dictum, that war “is merely the continuation of policy by other means,” emphasizes his conception of war as one part of normal and pragmatic politics. At the same time, he stressed the need to strive for the most complete military victories possible, using whatever reasonable resources were available. While his work echoes themes from the ancient text The Art of War, attributed to Sun Tzu, and even more from the work of Machiavelli, Clausewitz has influenced many 20th-century strategists and historians, especially Bernard Brodie. See strategy and tactics.

See P. Paret, Clausewitz and the State (1976).

Frases De Carl Von Clausewitz

Carl Von Clausewitz » últimas frases

La guerra no es más que un duelo en una escala más amplia.

Duelo

La guerra no es simplemente un acto político, sino un verdadero instrumento político, una continuación de las relaciones políticas, una gestión de las mismas con otros medios.

Guerra

La guerra no es sino la continuación de las transacciones políticas, llevando consigo la mezcla de otros medios. Decimos la mezcla de otros medios, para indicar que este comercio político no termina por la intervención de la guerra.

Política

La guerra es un acto de violencia que intenta obligar al enemigo a someterse a nuestra voluntad.

Violencia

La guerra en relación a sus tendencias dominantes constituye una maravillosa trinidad, compuesta del poder primordial de sus elementos, del odio y la enemistad que pueden mirarse como un ciego impulso de la naturaleza; de la caprichosa influencia de la probabilidad y del azar, que la convierten en una libre actividad del alma; y de la subordinada naturaleza de un instrumento político, por la que recae puramente en el campo del raciocinio.

Probabilidad

Al hablar de destrucción de fuerzas enemigas hemos de observar que nada nos obliga a limitar este concepto simplemente a las fuerzas físicas, sino que por el contrario, deben comprenderse en ellas, necesariamente, las morales.

Destrucción

Toda actividad militar esta relacionada, directa o indirectamente, con el combate. Es el fin por el cual un soldado es reclutado, equipado, armado y entrenado, y propósito por el cual come, duerme, bebe y marcha es, simplemente, que él debe luchar en el lugar y momento correcto.

Militar

Generalmente nos inclinamos más a creer lo malo que lo bueno, a exagerarlo sin visible causa.

Malo

¿Cuál es la idea fundamental de la defensa? Es la de parar un golpe. ¿Por qué señal se distingue? Se distingue porque en ella se espera el golpe que se debe parar.

Defensa

Es cierto que la cuestión política no penetra profundamente en los detalles de la guerra; no se colocan los centinelas, no se conducen las patrullas según las consideraciones políticas. Pero la influencia del elemento político es tanto mayor, cuando se hace el plan de toda la guerra, de la campaña y a menudo también de una batalla.

Política

Cuanto más importante y de mayor entidad sean los motivos de la guerra, cuanto más afectan a los intereses vitales de los pueblos, con mayor empeño se tratará de derribar al adversario, entonces tienden a confundirse objetivo guerrero y fin político y la guerra aparece menos política y más puramente guerrera.

Objetivo

La defensiva no es más que una forma ventajosa de guerra, por medio de la cual se desea procurar la victoria para poder, con ayuda de la preponderancia adquirida, pasar al ataque, es decir a un objeto positivo.

ue uno largo, pero nadie que quisiera cruzar un foso ancho empezaría por saltar hasta su centro.

Duda

La máquina militar, el ejército y cuanto a el pertenezcan es en el fondo bien sencillo, y parece, por lo tanto, fácil de manejar. Mas reflexionando se ve que ninguna de sus partes está compuesta de una sola pieza; que todas están compuestas de individuos, cada uno de los cuales conserva en todas partes su propia fricción.

Ejército

Pero para que el que se defiende haga también la guerra, debe asestar golpes, es decir dedicarse a la ofensiva. Así la guerra defensiva comprende actos ofensivos que forman parte de una defensiva de un orden más o menos elevado.

Golpe

Una guerra en la cual las victorias solamente sirven para parar los golpes y donde no hay ninguna intención de devolverlos, sería tan absurda como una batalla en la cual la defensa más absoluta (la pasividad) prevaleciese en todas las partes y de todas maneras.

Defensa

Un rápido y vigoroso cambio hacia la ofensiva – el relámpago de la espada vengadora – es lo que constituye los más brillantes episodios de la defensa.

Defensa

La guerra es la continuación de la política por otros medios.

Guerra

En la filosofía de la guerra no se puede introducir en absoluto un principio modificador sin acabar cayendo en el absurdo.

Guerra

Un mismo objetivo político puede originar reacciones diferentes, en diferentes naciones e incluso en una misma nación, en diferentes épocas.

Nación

Para que al oponente se so meta a nuestra voluntad, debemos colocarlo en una tesitura más desventajosa que la que supone el sacrificio que le exigimos. Las desventajas de tal posición no tendrán que ser naturalmente transitorias, o al menos no tendrán que parecerlo, pues de lo contrario el oponente tendería a esperar momentos más favorables y se mostraría remiso a rendirse.

Voluntad

Ninguna actividad humana guarda una relación más universal y constante con el azar como la guerra. El azar, juntamente con lo accidental y la buena suerte, desempeña un gran papel en la guerra.

Azar

La guerra entablada por una comunidad, la guerra entre naciones enteras, y particularmente entre naciones civilizadas, surge siempre de una circunstancia política, y no tiene su manifestación más que por un motivo político.

Guerra

Las Fuerzas Militares deben ser anuladas, esto es puestas en tal estado que no puedan continuar la lucha. Haremos notar aquí que con la expresión “aniquilamiento de los medios de combate enemigos” nos referimos a la idea expuesta.

Combate

tiempo, ni una simple pasión por la osadía y el triunfo, ni el fruto de un entusiasmo sin límites; es un medio serio para alcanzar un fin serio. Todo el encanto del azar que exhibe, todos los estremecimientos de pasión, valor, imaginación y entusiasmo que acumula, son tan sólo propiedades particulares de ese medio.

Azar

Cuanto más intensos y poderosos sean los motivos y las tensiones que justifiquen la guerra, más estrecha relación guardará ésta con su concepción abstracta.

Poder

La estrategia es el uso del encuentro para alcanzar el objetivo de la guerra. Por lo tanto, debe imprimir un propósito a toda la acción militar, propósito que debe concordar con el objetivo de la guerra. En otras palabras, la estrategia traza el plan de la guerra y, para el propósito aludido, añade la serie de actos que conducirán a ese propósito.

Estrategia

La estrategia determina el lugar donde habrá de emplearse la fuerza militar en el combate, el tiempo en que ésta será utilizada y la magnitud que tendrá que adquirir. Esa triple determinación asume una influencia fundamental en el resultado del encuentro.

Estrategia

(…) En la estrategia todo resulta muy simple, pero no por ello muy fácil. Una vez que, por las relaciones de Estado, se determina lo que la guerra podrá y tendrá que ser, entonces el camino para alcanzar esto será fácilmente encontrado; pero seguirlo en línea recta, llevar a cabo el plan sin verse obligado a desviarse mil veces por mil influencias variables, requiere, además de fuerza de carácter, una gran claridad y firmeza mental.

Estrategia

(…) El desarme o la destrucción del adversario (sea cual fuere la expresión que escojamos) debe consistir siempre el objetivo de la acción militar.

Desarme

La táctica constituye la enseñanza del uso de las fuerzas armadas en los encuentros, y la estrategia, la del uso de los encuentros para alcanzar el objetivo de la guerra.

Táctica

En la táctica, todo encuentro, grande o pequeño, resulta un encuentro defensivo si dejamos la iniciativa al enemigo y esperamos que se adentre en nuestro frente.

Iniciativa

El alcance y los efectos de las distintas armas tienen especial importancia para la táctica.

Táctica

La expresión fortaleza de carácter, o simplemente carácter, significa una tenaz convicción, ya sea ésta el resultado de nuestro propio juicio o el de otros, ya esté basada en principios, opiniones, inspiraciones momentáneas o cualquier otro producto del entendimiento.

Fortaleza

Sólo los principios generales y modos de ver las cosas que gobiernan la actividad desde el punto de vista más elevado pueden ser el fruto de un claro y profundo juicio, y en ellos descansa, a manera de pivote, la opinión que se forme respecto de un caso particular considerado de manera inmediata.

Generales

(…) El ataque envolvente, o desde varios lados, sólo es posible como norma para el bando que mantiene la iniciativa, o sea, la ofensiva, y que el defensor, en el curso de la acción, no está en condiciones, como no lo está en la táctica, de devolver el golpe al enemigo cercándolo a su vez.

Táctica

En la guerra, el combate no es una lucha de individuos contra individuos, sino un todo organizado que integran muchas partes.

Combate

El combate determina todo cuanto se refiere a las armas y los equipos, y éstos a su vez modifican la esencia del combate. En consecuencia, existe una relación recíproca entre unos y otro.

Combate

Si la intención negativa, o sea, la concentración de todos los medios en una resistencia pura, permite alcanzar una superioridad en el combate, y si esto resulta suficiente para equilibrar cualquier ventaja que pueda haber adquirido el enemigo, entonces la simple continuidad del combate será suficiente para conseguir, de forma gradual, que la pérdida de fuerzas sufrida por el enemigo llegue a un punto en que su objetivo político no tenga una adecuada compensación, y en este punto tenderá por tanto a abandonar la lucha.

Combate

Carl Von Clausewitz

Biografía y obras destacadas de Carl Von Clausewitz




Biografía: Filósofo y militar alemán, uno de los más influyentes teóricos de la guerra, sólo comparable con Sun Tzu. Carl Von Clausewitz nació en el seno de una familia de clase media, de padre militar. En 1792 se alistó para el servicio en el Ejército Prusiano con 13 años y participó de los combates durante las campañas del Rin (1793-1794). Luego sirvió durante el asedio de Maguncia y la invasión prusiana de Francia en la Revolución Francesa (1789-1799). En 1795, tras retirarse Prusia de la guerra, Carl Von Clausewitz fue destinado a la guarnición en Neuruppin e invirtió su tiempo en estudiar filosofía, ética y arte además de temas relacionados con las ciencias y la guerra. En 1801 fue aceptado en la Academia Militar Prusiana, siendo un alumno excepcional y convirtiéndose en favorito del General Gerhard von Scharnhorst, director de la Academia y futuro primer Jefe de Estado Mayor del nuevo Ejército de Prusia surgido en 1809. Carl Von Clausewitz se recibe en 1904 con las mejores notas y es nombrado ayudante de campo del príncipe Augusto Fernando de Prusia. Al estallar las Guerras Napoleónicas, sirvió para el ejército prusiano, participando en la batalla de Jena (1806) y cayendo prisionero de Francia tras una victoria aplastante. Tras recuperar la liberta en 1808, Carl Von Clausewitz se unió al movimiento reformador impulsado por Scharnhorst y August Neidhardt von Gneisenau. Tiempo después comenzó a impartir clases en la Academia y contrajo matrimonio con la Condesa Marie von Brühl, pasando a codearse con las élites literarias e intelectuales de Berlín. Tras participar en la Batalla de Leipzig (1913) y la Batalla de Lützen (1813), fue nombrado en 1815 Jefe de Estado Mayor del III Cuerpo de Ejército prusiano, bajo el mando del General Johann von Thielmann. Carl Von Clausewitz participo de la Campaña de Waterloo y fue ascendido a Mayor General y nombrado director de la Academia Militar Prusiana en Berlín en 1818. Debido al estallido de diversos movimientos revolucionarios en Europa en 1830, el ejército fue movilizado a la frontera y un brote de cólera diezmó al batallón. Carl Von Clausewitz volvió a su hogar en 1831 y tras unos días de aparente normalidad, murió de cólera. Un año después, su viuda publicó sus manuscritos con el nombre “De la guerra”.

Obras Destacadas

  • De la guerra (1832)

http://www.juris99.com/mil/w12.htmer

Read more: Karl von Clausewitz — Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0812463.html#ixzz1Ll7pYHwQ

CARL VON CLA– USEWITZ
“ON WAR”

Translator: Colonel J.J. Graham
http://www.sonshi.com/clausewitz.html

BOOK I: ON THE NATURE OF WAR
I
WHAT IS WAR?
II
END AND MEANS IN WAR
III
THE GENIUS FOR WAR
IV
OF DANGER IN WAR
V
OF BODILY EXERTION IN WAR
VI
INFORMATION IN WAR
VII
FRICTION IN WAR
VIII
CONCLUDING REMARKS

BOOK II: ON THE THEORY OF WAR
I
BRANCHES OF THE ART OF WAR
II
ON THE THEORY OF WAR
III
ART OR SCIENCE OF WAR
IV
METHODICISM
V
CRITICISM
VI
ON EXAMPLES

BOOK III: OF STRATEGY IN GENERAL
I
STRATEGY
II
ELEMENTS OF STRATEGY
III
MORAL FORCES
IV
THE CHIEF MORAL POWERS
V
MILITARY VIRTUE OF AN ARMY
VI
BOLDNESS
VII
PERSEVERANCE
VIII
SUPERIORITY OF NUMBERS
IX
THE SURPRISE
X
STRATAGEM
XI
ASSEMBLY OF FORCES IN SPACE
XII
ASSEMBLY OF FORCES IN TIME
XIII
STRATEGIC RESERVE
XIV
ECONOMY OF FORCES
XV
GEOMETRICAL ELEMENT
XVI
ON THE SUSPENSION OF THE ACT IN WAR
XVII
ON THE CHARACTER OF MODERN WAR
XVIII
TENSION AND REST

BOOK IV: THE COMBAT
I
INTRODUCTORY
II
CHARACTER OF THE MODERN BATTLE
III
THE COMBAT IN GENERAL
IV
THE COMBAT IN GENERAL
V
ON THE SIGNIFICATION OF THE COMBAT
VI
DURATION OF THE COMBAT
VII
DECISION OF THE COMBAT
VIII
MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING AS TO A BATTLE
IX
THE BATTLE
X
EFFECTS OF VICTORY
XI
THE — USE OF THE BATTLE
XII
STRATEGIC MEANS OF UTILISING VICTORY
XIII
RETREAT AFTER A LOST BATTLE
XIV
NIGHT FIGHTING

ewitz Quotes/Quotations

“War is the continuation of policy (politics) by other means.”
– Karl von Clausewitz
or
“It is clear that war is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means”
This is from a translated version of “On War” from 1976

“Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity. If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.”
– Karl von Clausewitztn’t guarantee that these Clausewitz quotations are correct or true,

b“The majority of people are timid by nature, and that is why they constantly exaggerate danger. All influences on the military leader, therefore, combine to give him a false impression of his opponent’s strength, and from this arises a new source of indecision.”

– Karl von Clausewitz

“We must, therefore, be confident that the general measures we have adopted will produce the results we expect. Most important in this connection is the trust which we must have in our lieutenants. Consequently, it is important to choose men on whom we can rely and to put aside all other considerations. If we have made appropriate preparations, taking into account all possible misfortunes, so that we shall not be lost immediately if they occur, we must boldly advance into the shadows of uncertainty.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“After we have thought out everything carefully in advance and have sought and found without prejudice the most plausible plan, we must not be ready to abandon it at the slightest provocation. Should this certainty be lacking, we must tell ourselves that nothing is accomplished in warfare without daring; that the nature of war certainly does not let us see at all times where we are going; that what is probable will always be probable though at the moment it may not seem so; and finally, that we cannot be readily ruined by a single error, if we have made reasonable preparations.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first and most important rule to observe…is to use our entire forces with the utmost energy. The second rule is to concentrate our power as much as possible against that section where the chief blows are to be delivered and to incur disadvantages elsewhere, so that our chances of success may increase at the decisive point. The third rule is never to waste time. Unless important advantages are to be gained from hesitation, it is necessary to set to work at once. By this speed a hundred enemy measures are nipped in the bud, and public opinion is won most rapidly. Finally, the fourth rule is to follow up our successes with the utmost energy. Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is the province of chance. In no other sphere of human activity must such a margin be left for this intruder. It increases the uncertainty of every circumstance and deranges the course of events.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The best form of defense is attack.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from others.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“In war the will is directed at an animate object that reacts.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“There is only one decisive victory: the last.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“a certain grasp of military affairs is vital for those in charge of general policy.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“no one starts a war-or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so-without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The bloody solution of the crisis, the effort for the destruction of the enemy’s forces, is the first-born son of war.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Only great and general battles can produce great results”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Blood is the price of victory”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If the enemy is to be coerced, you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of the situation must not be merely transient – at least not in appearance. Otherwise, the enemy would not give in, but would wait for things to improve.”
– Karl Von Clausewitzrom a translated version of “On War” from 1976

“Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity. If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The majority of people are timid by nature, and that is why they constantly exaggerate danger. All influences on the military leader, therefore, combine to give him a false impression of his opponent’s strength, and from this arises a new source of indecision.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“We must, therefore, be confident that the general measures we have adopted will produce the results we expect. Most important in this connection is the trust which we must have in our lieutenants. Consequently, it is important to choose men on whom we can rely and to put aside all other considerations. If we have made appropriate preparations, taking into account all possible misfortunes, so that we shall not be lost immediately if they occur, we must boldly advance into the shadows of uncertainty.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“After we have thought out everything carefully in advance and have sought and found without prejudice the most plausible plan, we must not be ready to abandon it at the slightest provocation. Should this certainty be lacking, we must tell ourselves that nothing is accomplished in warfare without daring; that the nature of war certainly does not let us see at all times where we are going; that what is probable will always be probable though at the moment it may not seem so; and finally, that we cannot be readily ruined by a single error, if we have made reasonable preparations.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first and most important rule to observe…is to use our entire forces with the utmost energy. The second rule is to concentrate our power as much as possible against that section where the chief blows are to be delivered and to incur disadvantages elsewhere, so that our chances of success may increase at the decisive point. The third rule is never to waste time. Unless important advantages are to be gained from hesitation, it is necessary to set to work at once. By this speed a hundred enemy measures are nipped in the bud, and public opinion is won most rapidly. Finally, the fourth rule is to follow up our successes with the utmost energy. Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is the province of chance. In no other sphere of human activity must such a margin be left for this intruder. It increases the uncertainty of every circumstance and deranges the course of events.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The best form of defense is attack.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“War is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from others.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“In war the will is directed at an animate object that reacts.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“There is only one decisive victory: the last.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“a certain grasp of military affairs is vital for those in charge of general policy.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish . . . the kind of war on which they are embarking.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“no one starts a war-or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so-without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“The bloody solution of the crisis, the effort for the destruction of the enemy’s forces, is the first-born son of war.”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Only great and general battles can produce great results”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“Blood is the price of victory”
– Karl von Clausewitz

“If the enemy is to be coerced, you must put him in a situation that is even more unpleasant than the sacrifice you call on him to make. The hardships of the situation must not be merely transient – at least not in appearance. Otherwise, the enemy would not give in, but would wait for things to improve.”
– Karl Von Clausewitz

 

Principal ideas

 

A young Carl von Clausewitz

Some of the key ideas discussed in On War include:

  • the dialectical approach to military analysis
  • the methods of “critical analysis”
  • the nature of the balance-of-power mechanism
  • the relationship between political objectives and military objectives in war
  • the asymmetrical relationship between attack and defense
  • the nature of “military genius” (involving matters of personality and character, beyond intellect)
  • the “fascinating trinity” (wunderliche Dreifaltigkeit) of war
  • philosophical distinctions between “absolute” or “ideal war,” and “real war”
  • in “real war,” the distinctive poles of a) limited war and b) war to “render the enemy helpless”
  • “war” belongs fundamentally to the social realm—rather than to the realms of art or science
  • “strategy” belongs primarily to the realm of art
  • “tactics” belongs primarily to the realm of science
  • the importance of “moral forces” (more than simply “morale”) as opposed to quantifiable physical elements
  • the “military virtues” of professional armies (which do not necessarily trump the rather different virtues of other kinds of fighting forces)
  • conversely, the very real effects of a superiority in numbers and “mass”
  • the essential unpredictability of war
  • the “fog” of war[7]
  • “friction”
  • strategic and operational “centers of gravity”[8]
  • the “culminating point of the offensive”
  • the “culminating point of victory”

[edit]Interpretation and misinterpretation

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 of thePrussian military establishment – especially Moltke the Elder – 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. … [Clauswitz’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.[9]

As described by Christopher Bassford, professor of strategy at the National War College of the United States:

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.[2]

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. He did not coin the phrase as an ideological ideal – indeed, Clausewitz did not use the term “total war” at all. Rather, he discussed “absolute war” or “ideal war” as the purely logical result of the forces underlying a “pure,” Platonic “ideal” of war. In what Clausewitz 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, such rigid logic is unrealistic and dangerous. As a practical matter, the military objectives in real war that support one’s political objectives generally fall into two broad types: “war to achieve limited aims” and war to “disarm” the enemy, that is, “to render [him] politically helpless or militarily impotent.” Thus the complete defeat of one’s enemies may be neither necessary, desirable, nor even possible.

In modern times the reconstruction of Clausewitzian theory has been a matter of some 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 very 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 Clausewitz personal letters, etc., 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 pacifistic ideas. For Clausewitz, war is simply a means 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 Princeton University 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 own interpretations of the Prussian’s theories and provided students with an influential synopsis of this vital work.

[edit]Influence

Despite his death without having completed On War, Clausewitz’ ideas have been widely influential in military theory and have had a strong influence on German military thought. Later Prussian and German generals such as Helmuth Graf von Moltke were clearly influenced by Clausewitz: Moltke’s notable 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.

After 1890 or so, Clausewitz’s influence spread to British thinking as well. One example is naval historian Julian Corbett (1854–1922), whose work reflected a deep if idiosyncratic adherence to Clausewitz’s concepts. Clausewitz had little influence on American military thought before 1945, but influenced MarxEngelsLenin, and Mao, and thus the Communist and Soviet traditions, as Lenin emphasized 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.[10] Because Vladimir Lenin was an admirer of Clausewitz who called him “one of the great military writers”, his influence on the Red Army was immense.[11] 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 anti-humanist anti-revolutionary.”[11] Clausewitz directly influenced Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong, who read On War in 1938 and organized a seminar on Clausewitz as part of the educational program for the Party leadership in Yan’an. Thus the “Clausewitzian” content in many of Mao’s writings is not merely second-hand knowledge, via Lenin (as many have supposed), but reflects Mao’s own in-depth study.

The idea that war involves inherent “friction” which distorts, to a greater or lesser degree, all prior arrangements, has become common currency in other fields as well, such as business strategy and sports. The phrase fog of war derives from Clausewitz’s stress on how confused warfare can seem while one is immersed within it.[12] The term center of gravity, used in a specifically military context, derives from Clausewitz’s usage, which he took from Newtonian Mechanics. In US military doctrine, “center of gravity” refers to the basis of an opponent’s power, at either the operational, strategic, or political level, though this is only one aspect of Clausewitz’s own use of the term.

[edit]Late 20th and early 21st century

After 1970, some theorists claimed that nuclear proliferation made Clausewitzian concepts obsolete after a period – the 20th century – in which they dominated the world.[13] 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 nuclear powers have ever used their nuclear weapons against each other, instead using conventional means or proxy wars to settle disputes. If, hypothetically, such a conflict did in fact occur, presumably both combatants would be effectively annihilated.

The end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century has seen many instances of state armies attempting to suppress insurgenciesterrorism, and other forms of asymmetrical warfare. If Clausewitz focused solely on wars between countries with well-defined armies, as many commentators have argued, then perhaps On War has lost its analytical edge as a tool for understanding war as it is currently fought. This is an ahistorical view, however, for the era of the French Revolution and Napoleon was full of revolutions, rebellions, and violence by “non-state actors”–the war in the French Vendée, the war in Spain, etc. Furthermore, Clausewitz himself 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 itself 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,[14] 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, however, saying ‘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.”[15]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.”[16]

Some have gone further and suggested that Clausewitz’s best known aphorism, that war is a continuation of policy by other means, is not only irrelevant today but also inapplicable historically.[17] For an opposing view see Strachan, Hew, and Herberg-Rothe, Andreas, eds. Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century (2007).[18] Others, however, argue that the essentials of Clausewitz’s theoretical approach remain valid, but that our thinking must adjust to the realities of particular times and places. Knowing that “war is an expression of politics by other means” does us no good unless we use a definition of “politics” which is appropriate to the circumstance and to the cultural proclivities of the combatants in each specific situation; this is especially true when warfare is carried on across a cultural or civilizational divide, and the antagonists do not share as much common background as did many of the participants in the First and Second World Wars.

[edit]In popular culture

Literature
  • 1945: In the Horatio Hornblower novel The Commodore, by C. S. Forester, the protagonist meets von Clausewitz during the events surrounding the defence of Riga.
  • 1945: In That Hideous Strength by C. S. Lewis, Lord Feverstone (Dick Devine) defends rudely cutting off another professor by saying “[…] but then I take the Clausewitz view. Total war is the most humane in the long run.”
  • 1955: In Ian Fleming‘s novel MoonrakerJames Bond reflects that he has achieved Clausewitz’s first principle in securing his base, though this base is a relationship for intelligence purposes and not a military installation.
  • 1977: In The Wars by Timothy Findley, a novel about a nineteen-year-old Canadian officer who serves in World War I, one of his fellow soldiers reads Clausewitz’s On War, and occasionally quotes some of its passages.
  • 2000: In the Ethan Stark military science fiction book series by John G. Hemry, Clausewitz is often quoted by Private Mendoza and his father Lieutenant Mendoza to explain events that unfold during the series.
  • 2004: Bob Dylan mentions Clausewitz on pages 41 and 45 of his Chronicles: Volume One, saying he had “a morbid fascination with this stuff,” that “Clausewitz in some ways is a prophet” and reading Clausewitz can make you “take your own thoughts a little less seriously.” Dylan says that Vom Kriege was one of the books he looked through among those he found in his friend’s personal library as a young man playing at The Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village.
Film
  • 1962: In the film Lawrence of Arabia, General Allenby (Jack Hawkins) contends to T. E. Lawrence (Peter O’Toole) that “I fight like Clausewitz, you fight like Saxe.” To which Lawrence replies, “We should do very well indeed, shouldn’t we?”
  • 1977: In Sam Peckinpah‘s film Cross of Iron, Feldwebel Steiner (James Coburn) has an ironic conversation in the trenches between hostilities with the advancing Red Army with his comrade, Cpl. Schnurrbart, in which they refer to German philosophers and their views on war. Cpl. Schnurrbart: ” …and von Clausewitz said, ‘war is a continuation of state policy by other means.'” “Yes,” Steiner says, overlooking the trenches, ” …by other means.”
  • 1995: In the film Crimson Tide, the naval officers of the nuclear submarine have a discussion about the meaning of the quote “War is a continuation of politics by other means.” The executive officer (Denzel Washington) contends that the interpretation of Clausewitz’s ideas by the captain (Gene Hackman) is too simplistic.
  • 2007: In the film Lions for Lambs, during a military briefing in Afghanistan Lt. Col. Falco (Peter Berg) says: “Remember your von Clausewitz: ‘Never engage the same enemy for too long or he will …'”, “adapt to your tactics”, completes another soldier.[19]
  • 2009: In the film Law Abiding Citizen, Clausewitz is frequently quoted by Clyde Shelton, the main character played by Gerard Butler.

[edit]

  • War therefore is an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.
    • Chapter 1, paragraph 2
  • War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst.
    • Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 1
  • To introduce into the philosophy of War itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity.
    • Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 3
    • Variant translation: To introduce into the philosophy of war a principle of moderation would be an absurdity.
      • As quoted in The Campaign of 1914 in France and Belgium‎ (1915) by George Herbert Perris, p. 56
  • War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds.
    • Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 8
    • Variant translation: War is an act of violence which in its application knows no bonds.
      • As quoted in The Campaign of 1914 in France and Belgium‎ (1915) by George Herbert Perris, p. 56
  • War Is Merely the Continuation of Policy by Other Means
    We see, therefore, that war is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse carried on with other means. What remains peculiar to war is simply the peculiar nature of its means. 

    • Chapter 1, Section 24, in the Princeton University Press translation (1976)
    • Variant translation: War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.
  • Determination in a single instance is an expression of courage; if it becomes characteristic, a mental habit. But here we are referring not to physical courage but to courage to accept responsibility, courage in the face of a moral danger. This has often been called courage d’esprit, because it is created by the intellect. That, however, does not make it an act of the intellect: it is an act of temperament. Intelligence alone is not courage; we often see that the most intelligent people are irresolute. Since in the rush of events a man is governed by feelings rather than by thought, the intellect needs to arouse the quality of courage, which then supports and sustains it in action.
    Looked at in this way, the role of determination is to limit the agonies of doubt and the perils of hesitation when the motives for action are inadequate. 

    • Chapter 3
  • We repeat again: strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.
    • Chapter 3
  • Action in war is like movement in a resistant element. Just as the simplest and most natural of movements, walking, cannot easily be performed in water, so in war it is difficult for normal efforts to achieve even moderate results.
  • Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat the enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds, it is a fallacy that must be exposed: war is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.
  • The invention of gunpowder and the constant improvement of firearms are enough in themselves to show that the advance of civilization has done nothing practical to alter or deflect the impulse to destroy the enemy, which is central to the very idea of war.
  • The worst of all conditions in which a belligerent can find himself is to be utterly defenseless.
  • Men are always more inclined to pitch their estimate of the enemy’s strength too high than too low, such is human nature.
  • …only the element of chance is needed to make war a gamble, and that element is never absent.
  • …in the whole range of human activities, war most closely resembles a game of cards.
  • Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.
  • With uncertainty in one scale, courage and self-confidence should be thrown into the other to correct the balance. The greater they are, the greater the margin that can be left for accidents.
  • …the side that feels the lesser urge for peace will naturally get the better bargain.
  • Blind aggressiveness would destroy the attack itself, not the defense.
  • Our discussion has shown that while in war many different roads can lead to the goal, to the attainment of the political object, fighting is the only possible means.
  • Any complex activity, if it is to be carried on with any degree of virtuosity, calls for appropriate gifts of intellect and temperament. If they are outstanding and reveal themselves in exceptional achievements, their possessor is called a ‘genius’.
  • If the mind is to emerge unscathed from this relentless struggle with the unforeseen, two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.
  • …the role of determination is to limit the agonies of doubt and the perils of hesitation when the motives for action are inadequate.
  • Of all the passions that inspire a man in a battle, none, we have to admit, is so powerful and so constant as the longing for honor and reknown.
  • Obstinacy is a fault of temperament. Stubbornness and intolerance of contradiction result from a special kind of egotism, which elevates above everything else the pleasure of its autonomous intellect, to which others must bow.
  • …self-reliance is the best defence against the pressures of the moment.
  • Everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.

[edit]Book 2

  • Architects and painters know precisely what they are about as long as they deal with material phenomena. … But when they come to the aesthetics of their work, when they aim at a particular effect on the mind or on the senses, the rules dissolve into nothing but vague ideas.
  • Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves more or less as a substitute for hatred between individuals.
  • …soldierly simplicity of character that has always represented the military at its best. In the higher ranks it is different. The higher a man is placed, the broader his point of view. Different interests and a wide variety of passions, good and bad, will arise on all sides. Envy and generosity, pride and humility, wrath and compassion – all may appear as effective forces in this great drama.
  • …talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.
  • The more physical the activity, the less the difficulties will be. The more the activity becomes intellectual and turns into motives which exercise a determining influence on the commander’s will, the more the difficulties will increase.
  • Great things alone can make a great mind, and petty things will make a petty mind unless a man rejects them as completely alien.
  • Knowledge in war is very simple, being concerned with so few subjects, and only with their final results at that. But this does not make its application easy.
  • …an intellectual instinct which extracts the essence from the phenomena of life, as a bee sucks honey from a flower. In addition to study and reflections, life itself serves as a source.
  • Knowledge must be so absorbed into the mind that it ceases to exist in a separate, objective way.” “…in 1797 the secret of the effectiveness of resisting to the last had not yet been discovered.
  • …it is better to go on striking in the same direction than to move one’s forces this way and that.
  • There are times when the utmost daring is the height of wisdom.
  • Thus it has come about that our theoretical and critical literature, instead of giving plain, straightforward arguments in which the author at least always knows what he is saying and the reader what he is reading, is crammed with jargon, ending at obscure crossroads where the author loses its readers. Sometimes these books are even worse: they are just hollow shells. The author himself no longer knows just what he is thinking and soothes himself with obscure ideas which would not satisfy him if expressed in plain speech.
  • Anyone who feels the urge to undertake such a task must dedicate himself for his labors as he would prepare for a pilgrimage to distant lands. He must spare no time or effort, fear no earthly power or rank, and rise above his own vanity or false modesty in order to tell, in accordance with the expression of the Code Napoléon, the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
  • Essentally combat is an expression of hostile feelings. But in the large-scale combat that we call war hostile feelings often have become merely hostile intentions. At any rate, there are usually no hostile feelings between individuals. Yet such emotions can never be completely absent from war. Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves as a more or less substitute for the hatred between individuals. Even when there is no natural hatred and no animosity to start with, the fighting itself will stir up hostile feelings: violence committed on superior orders will stir up the desire for revenge and retaliation against the perpetrator rather than against the powers that ordered the action. It is only human (or animal, if you like), but it is a fact.

[edit]Book 3

  • A prince or general can best demonstrate his genius by managing a campaign exactly to suit his objectives and his resources, doing neither too much nor too little.
  • What we should admire is the acute fulfillment of the unspoken assumptions, the smooth harmony of the whole activity, which only become evident in the final success.
  • Where execution is dominant, as it is in the individual events of a war whether great or small, then intellectual factors are reduced to a minimum.
  • If we do not learn to regard a war, and the separate campaigns of which it is composed, as a chain of linked engagements each leading to the next, but instead succumb to the idea that the capture of certain geographical points or the seizure of undefended provinces are of value in themselves, we are liable to regard them as windfall profits. In so doing, and in ignoring the fact that they are links in a continuous chain of events, we also ignore the possibility that their possession may later lead to definite disadvantages.
  • …in war, the advantages and disadvantages of a single action could only be determined by the final balance.
  • The moral elements are among the most important in war. They constitute the spirit that permeates war as a whole, and at an early stage they establish a close affinity with the will that moves and leads a whole mass of force, practically merging with it, since the will is itself a moral quantity. Unfortunately they will not yield to academic wisdom. They cannot be classified or counted. They have to be seen or felt. … It is paltry philosophy if in the old-fashioned way one lays down rules and principles in total disregard of moral values. As soon as these appear one regards them as exceptions, which gives them a certain scientific status, and thus makes them into rules. Or again one may appeal to genius, which is above all rules; which amounts to admitting that rules are not only made for idiots, but are idiotic in themselves.
    • Ch 3 : Moral Factors, as translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret.
  • The commander’s talents are given greatest scope in rough hilly country. Mountains allow him too little real command over his scattered units and he is unable to control them all; in open country, control is a simple matter and does not test his ability to the fullest.
  • Boldness will be at a disadvantage only in an encounter with deliberate caution, which may be considered bold in its own right, and is certainly just as powerful and effective; but such cases are rare.
  • Timidity is the root of prudence in the majority of men.
  • Boldness governed by superior intellect is the mark of a hero.
  • …as man under pressure tends to give in to physical and intellectual weakness, only great strength of will can lead to the objective.
  • Beauty cannot be defined by abscissas and ordinates; neither are circles and ellipses created by their geometrical formulas.
  • If a segment of one’s force is located where it is not sufficiently busy with the enemy, or if the troops are on the march – that is, idle – while the enemy is fighting, then these forces are being managed uneconomically. In this sense they are being wasted, which is even worse than using them inappropriately.
  • …any move made in a state of tension will be of more important, and will have more results, than it would have made in a state of eqilibrium. In times of maximum tension this importance will rise to an infinite degree.
  • The state of crisis is the real war; the equilibrium is nothing but its reflex.

[edit]Book 5

  • All war presupposes human weakness and seeks to exploit it.

[edit]Book 6

  • If defense is the stronger form of war, yet has a negative object, it follows that it should be used only so long as weakness compels, and be abandoned as soon as we are strong enough to pursue a positive object.
    • Chapter 1
  • Surprise becomes effective when we suddenly face the enemy at one point with far more troops than he expected. This type of numerical superiority is quite distinct from numerical superiority in general: it is the most powerful medium in the art of war.
    • Chapter 2
  • Phillipsburg was the name of one those badly drawn fortresses resembling a fool with his nose too close to the wall.
    • Chapter 11
  • A general who allows himself to be decisively defeated in an extended mountain position deserves to be court-martialled.
    • Chapter 17
  • …only a fraction of book learning will seep into practical life anyhow; and the more foolish the theory, the less of it.
Clausewitz (1

Clausewitz (1

 

Para trabajar por la Estadidad: https://estado51prusa.com Seminarios-pnp.com https://twitter.com/EstadoPRUSA https://www.facebook.com/EstadoPRUSA/

2 Responses to Clausewitz, Karl von

  1. Pingback: Flexible fearful and feisty

  2. Pingback: Escritos sobre Estrategia Política – Importante Estudiarlos | Seminarios del PNP/Estado51

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Para trabajar por la Estadidad: https://estado51prusa.com Seminarios-pnp.com https://twitter.com/EstadoPRUSA https://www.facebook.com/EstadoPRUSA/
Para trabajar por la Estadidad: https://estado51prusa.com Seminarios-pnp.com https://twitter.com/EstadoPRUSA https://www.facebook.com/EstadoPRUSA/