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Baron Karl Von Clausewitz

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Adam Drew

on 27 October 2013

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Transcript of Baron Karl Von Clausewitz

Baron Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1831)
Explore the context of Clausewitz.
Discuss the central beliefs as to the theory and application of war.
Decide whether Clausewitz is still relevant today.
Context of On War
The Relationship of Politics and War
"... the assertion that a major military development, or the plan for one, should be a matter for purely military opinion is unacceptable and can be damaging. Nor indeed is it sensible to summon soldiers, as many governments do when they are planning a war, and ask them purely for military advice." - Clausewitz -
The Central Trinity
Armed Services
"A theory that ignores any one of them or seeks to fix an arbitrary relationship between them would conflict with reality to such an extent that for this reason alone it would be totally useless." - Clausewitz -
The Dangers of Theory
"Pity the theory that conflicts with reason."
- Clausewitz -
Clausewitz in Modern Conflict?
Apply the Principles of War.
Economy of Force
Numeric Superiority
Morale and Will
Russian Invasion of Afghanistan
Numeric Superiority?
"In modern war one will search in vain for a battle in which the winning army triumphed over an army twice its size."
The War on Terror
"But while the wish to achieve surprise is common and, indeed, indispensable, and while it is true that it will never be completely ineffective, it is equally true that by its very nature surprise can rarely be outstandingly successful."
Dissatisfaction with tactics and strategies of the Prussian campaign in which he fought.
Believed military theories of the time abused historical examples to try to lend credence to flawed ideas.
Do we make this mistake today?
Is this a dangerous relationship between military and government?
The Principles of War
Economy of
Static Theories (Friction)
Morale & Will
Art vs Science
Information Subjective
Psychological forces entwined with physical
Reciprocal Action not unilateral.
Flaws of Theories
Pseudoscientific Approach
Overuse of Metaphor
Misuse of Historical Examples
"the factors that distinguish real war from war on paper." - Clausewitz -
The Fog of War
Ambiguous information.
"Enthusiastic, stoical, natural bravery, great ambition, or also
long familiarity with danger—much of all this there must be if all the effects produced in this resistant medium are not to fall far short of that which in the student's chamber may appear only the ordinary standard." - Clausewitz -
Office Hours: 3pm - 4pm Tuesday PhD Office
Full transcript