By Antulio J. Echevarria II
Whereas many students agree that Clausewitz's On warfare is usually misunderstood, virtually none have explored his technique to work out no matter if it may possibly increase our knowing of his techniques. This ebook lays out Clausewitz's method in a brisk and easy kind. It then makes use of that as a foundation for knowing his contributions to the ever turning out to be physique of information of conflict. the categorical contributions this learn addresses are Clausewitz's theories about the nature of warfare, the connection among battle and politics, and a number of other of the foremost ideas of technique he tested. those theories and ideas lie on the center of the present debates over the character of latest clash. additionally they underpin a lot of the guideline that prepares army and civilian leaders for his or her roles within the improvement and execution of army approach. therefore, they're vital even in circles the place Clausewitz is barely in brief studied. whereas knowing On battle isn't any extra a prerequisite for successful wars than wisdom is a demand for exercise strength, Clausewitz's opus has turn into whatever of an authoritative reference for these intending to extend their wisdom of conflict. via linking approach and inspiration, this ebook contributes considerably as a result.
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Extra resources for Clausewitz and Contemporary War
Military theory was in an unsettled state before On War appeared, and for some time afterward. Indeed, the term paradigm hardly captures the dynamism of competing theories and schools of thought that exist in almost every ﬁeld, whether art or science. 32 As we have seen, albeit brieﬂy, Clausewitz endeavored to accomplish this step not only in On War, but through several of his other works. His major points were that existing theories did not reﬂect reality and that the principles they advanced were not universal.
A point made at the beginning of a chapter based on a search for the logical truth of a concept might be contradicted later when its material truth was considered. 19 Yet, some maintain he attempted to establish a theory of absolute war, whereby one waged war by going all out from the outset, regardless of the political purpose. Such misunderstandings can be avoided by ﬁrst appreciating Clausewitz’s method before reading On War. 20 To a certain extent, this view is correct. However, it holds true mainly for concepts that are actual opposites, such as defense and attack, action and inaction.
19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. On War’s Purpose and Method between Clausewitz’s use of the term probability and the deﬁnitions of classical probability theory are discussed below. Vom Kriege, II/4 ‘Methodismus’, 305; On War, 151. Vom Kriege, I/2, 223; On War, 95. Paret, Clausewitz, 154, notes that Clausewitz used the same objective–subjective dualism in an earlier essay entitled ‘Strategie und Taktik’ (1804); Kessel, ‘Genesis’, esp. 410–17, suggests Clausewitz also viewed Politik in terms of objective (universal) and subjective (particular) qualities.