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JOMINI VS. CLAUSEWITZ
Transcript of JOMINI VS. CLAUSEWITZ
BACKGROUNDS OF BOTH THEORISTS
Nature of Politics
Views of War in Relative terms vs. categorical, scientific terms
In control of war vs. beyond control
Both interested in the historical campaigns of Frederick the Great
Both interested in each other's writings
Young Clausewitz- adopted some of Jomini's ideas and vocabulary (but later disregarded them)
JOMINI'S STRATEGIC THEORY
CRITICISMS OF EACH OTHER
THE BIG PICTURE: WHO DID THEY INFLUENCE?
Born in Payerne, Switzerland in 1779
Age 10 - Enchanted by French Revolution
Gave up possible banking career to serve the French Army
1801 - began to write on military theory, soon recognized by Napoleon's Top General, Michel Ney
Ney became Jomini's mentor, until Jomini's arrogance led the two to clash. Jomini subsequently left to join the Russian Army.
Retired 1828, Wrote about military theory
CARL VON CLAUSEWITZ
Born in Breslau, Prussia in 1780
Professional Soldier at Age 12
Captured and Imprisoned by Napoleonic Army in 1806
Returned to Prussia, became military tutor to the crown prince
Wrote Principles of War
Joined Russian Army to Defeat Napoleon in 1813
Led troops to defeat Napoleon in Waterloo in 1815
"Science" Of War
divorced Western theories of warfare from the actual historical situations in which those theories operated”
“Strategy is the Key to Warfare;
That all Strategy is controlled by invariable scientific principles; and
That these principles prescribe offensive action to mass forces against weaker enemy forces at some decisive point if strategy is to lead to victory.”
The scientific principles of war included massing, attacking, persisting, and acting on interior lines of operation
Took all political context out of military theory
“Decisive points”: a point that, if attacked or captured, would seriously weaken or completely imperil the enemy.
road juncture, river crossing or an enemy supply base.
Influencer: Henry Lloyd
Faith in the ideal of war as a science
However, Jomini distinguished differences between warfare pre- and post- French Revolution, which Lloyd failed to distinguish
military theory could not prescribe specific action in wartime, and could only show the extreme complexities of war by identifying relationships.
war is a natural, yet extreme, extension of political policy and diplomacy.
Idea of Uncertainty
War in his eyes was filled with uncertainty, chance and probability
“fog of war” was used to illustrate the general haziness and unreliability of information during war,
“friction” to show the disparity between the ideal performance of units, organisation or systems and their actual performance in real world scenarios.
CLAUSEWITZ ON JOMINI
Young Clausewitz: adopted some of Jomini's theories
HOWEVER, 20 years later, wrote:
"It is only analytically that these attempts at theory can be called advances in the realm of truth; synthetically, in the rules and regulations they offer, they are absolutely useless...
Pity the soldier who is supposed to crawl among these scraps of rules, not good enough for genius, which genius can ignore, or laugh at."
CLAUSEWITZ ON JOMINI
Jomini in turn viewed Clausewitz as tedious, pessimistic, intellectually arrogant and obscure
However, Jomini admired Clausewitz to some degree, and noted that a few good ideas were buried within his writings
Professor Dennis Hart Mahan first utilized Jominian theories at the United States Military Academy
Many of the general officers for both the Confederacy and the Union during the Civil War began to put Jominian principles to work.
More recently, the United States armed forces utilized Clausewitz’s theories during the Vietnam War and Cold War
Clausewitz influenced Communist and Soviet leaders such as Karl Marx, Mao Zedong, Vladimir Lenin, and Friedrich Engels.
In 1938, Mao Zedong organized an educational program based on the Clausewitzian model for Party leadership in Yan’an.
Based on Jim Harvey's speech structures