War is simply the continuation of politics by other means Far too many people quote Clausewitz without reading him, but after reading this edition of On War, there is no excuse not to read Clausewitz, and perhaps understand him I will speak first to the translation This is how it should be done Howard, Paret, and Brodie produce an accurate and highly readable text, with invaluable supplementary essays on the historical impact of Clausewitz and his key points Accept no other translations.
Second, the text itself I m a war nerd, and this is one of the best books on strategy that I ve read Compared to The Art of War or Liddell Hart s Strategy, Clausewitz is clear and direct War is violence used to disarm and enemy and compel him to your will The best way to achieve this end is to concentrate your forces and No one can actually enjoy reading Clausewitz it simply must be done.
Reviewing classics can be humbling Some books have passed through so many generations and have been analyzed so thoroughly that they ve reached mythic proportions Only the arrogant or ignorant would criticize them On War is just such a book First the disclaimer I have an amateur interest in military history but do not have the depth to fully appreciate mid 19th century military theory Regardless, I know enough to appreciate Clausewitz s rejection of formulated tactics and movement Now for the arrogant and ignorant part.
Clausewitz was a Prussian officer who saw action when he was younger and in the Napoleonic campaigns As an older staff officer he never seemed to hold significant command His later career was devoted almost entirely to theory Despite this or due to this , he is very self aware as to the distinction between theorist and practitioner Activity
Almost 200 years later, this masterpiece is still misunderstood and ignored.
Clausewitz argues that the purpose of war is to disarm your opponent and thereby force him to give you want you want Based on this premise, he concludes that wars are essentially unwinnable on the battlefield it is virtually impossible to completely disarm your opponent through might alone Instead, your opponent at some point has to decide to give you want you want and getting your opponent to come to that decision means that a war must be fought as part of a larger political strategy Moreover, the goals of battle must always be subservient to the political context in which the war is being fought if winning the war becomes the end and not the means to a greater goal, the aggressor will find himself bogged down in an ceaseless conflict.
It s hard to write a review of such a disjointed work The important points he hits on are indeed extremely important, but wading through 750 pages of repetitive and wordy abstract run on sentences gets old pretty quickly Two most important points 1 Why don t nations fight wars of annihilation remember, this is the early 19th Century, he doesn t know about the World Wars Well, why don t school children carry on their fights to the death Answer doing so isn t anywhere near worth the cost Wars are fought by different nations over disagreements on policy while that disagreement may be worth fighting over in their mind, it may not be worth risking national obliteration The idea is to drive up the cost of war deaths, wounded, money, political support fo
Having said that, why I gave this book four stars Well, first it is a challenging read and I like challenges Secondly, the contents are unbelievable Yes, some explanations may be outdated, but the gist is still relevant If one could get pass through the Book I II of this book, then he she is able to continue, that s my guarantee Book III is where the fun starts, down right to the end The examples taken from the Napoleonic and Prussian wars were quite helpful Strategies, combats, relation of power, defense vs offense and plan of war, a military enthusiast should make this book his her bible Or even politicians, yes, they are ô Vom Kriege » This is the classic work of military strategy, written by a Prussian general in the nineteenth century, which has been often discussed but little understood It is often held up as the ultimate example of Prussianism, of stifling military correctness, or as the champion of absolute war and the use of brutality and abandonment of rules in order to annihilate the enemy It is blamed for the outbreak of both World Wars and for the horrors which those and subsequent conflicts loosed on the world.
None of this is true What we really have here is an unfinished text, since Clausewitz died before he could complete it, and I suspect that the complete version would have actually been shorter, as he cut out repetition and some of the less relevant digressions Still, the Von Clausewitz S On War Has Been Called, Not Simply The Greatest, But The Only Truly Great Book On War It Is An Extraordinary Attempt To Construct An All Embracing Theory Of How War Works Its Coherence And Ambition Are Unmatched By Other Military Literature On War Is Full Of Sharp Observation, Biting Irony, And Memorable Phrases, The Most Famous Being, War Is A Continuation Of Politics By Other Means About The AuthorExcept For A Brief Stint In When He Served In The Russian Army, Clausewitz Spent His Ô Vom Kriege Ý Download by ☆ Carl von Clausewitz Whole Career, From The Age Of Twelve Until His Death In , In The Prussian Army He Fought In All The Major Prussian Campaigns Against France, And His Most Fateful Experience The Battle Of Jena Auerstedt, In Which Napoleon Destroyed The Prussian Army Inspired Him To Write On War Five stars for the translation which is simply the best on the market, and includes a superb commentary by Bernard Brodie This is my fourth time reading this in the context of a class Naval War College and it is not any easier to navigate or understand, however, it is never a waste of time Clausewitz himself gives the best summary of this work on p 89 First, therefore, it is clear that war should never be thought of as something autonomous, but always as an instrument of policy otherwise the entire history of war would contradict us Only this approach will enable us to penetrate the problem intelligently Second, this way of looking at it will show us how wars must vary with the nature of their motives and of the situations which give rise to them The best tool that I have found to help navigate this work is Who is Afr This book stands as an important and modern classic about the nature of war Clausewitz applies rigorous analysis to almost all the factors that influence war, not least of which are social and political aspects Indeed, for him, war is part of man s social existence, and politics the womb in which war develops This is encapsulated in his famous comment War is merely the continuation of policy by other means There are a number of intriguing and developed insights within this book how defense is the stronger form of waging war, how military talent does not necessarily scale, how the object of attack is not fighting but possession, how strategy belongs to art and tactics to science, and so on.
Unfortunately, this book was never comple