On War, Indexed Edition

On War, Indexed Edition

Carl von Clausewitz

Language: English

Pages: 732

ISBN: 0691018545

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

On War is the most significant attempt in Western history to understand war, both in its internal dynamics and as an instrument of policy. Since the work's first appearance in 1832, it has been read throughout the world, and has stimulated generations of soldiers, statesmen, and intellectuals.
















destruction of the enemy forces which will decide the outcome of the war. This destruction thus constitutes the principal object of operations.” And again “Strategy is a system of expedients. It is more than a science, it is a science applied to everyday life . . . the art of acting under the pressure of most arduous circumstances.”26 And perhaps the most influential reflection of all: “In war it is often less important what one does than how one does it. Strong determination and perseverance in

from the front without trouble. Since lines of this type tie down the forces to local defense and rob them of all mobility, they are a poorly designed device against an enterprising enemy. If they nevertheless persisted in recent wars, the reason lies in the nature of the wars, when apparent difficulties were often treated as real. In most campaigns these lines were in any case only used as a supplementary defense against raiders. As such they may have had some value; but one must remember that

All these advantages and disadvantages may coexist; they can meet, so to speak, and pursue their ways in opposite directions. Only the last meet as true opposites: they cannot by-pass one another, so they are mutually exclusive. That alone is enough to show the infinite range of effects a victory can have—depending on whether they stun the loser or rouse him to greater efforts. We shall try to qualify each of the above points in a few brief comments.1. The enemy’s losses may be at their

his being, can spare no strength worth speaking of to disrupt the cooperation of the two offensives. The worst that can happen is that the populace, supported by raiding parties, might try to do this, and save the French from diverting regular forces for this purpose. To counter them only a corps of 10,000 to 15,000 men, strong in cavalry, need be sent out from Treves in the general direction of Rheims. It will ride roughshod over any raiding party and can keep up with the main force. It should

both. War is the realm of physical exertion and suffering. These will destroy us unless we can make ourselves indifferent to them, and for this birth or training must provide us with a certain strength of body and soul. If we do possess those qualities, then even if we have nothing but common sense to guide them we shall be well equipped for war: it is exactly these qualities that primitive and semicivilized peoples usually possess. If we pursue the demands that war makes on those who practice

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