Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in by Christopher Bassford

By Christopher Bassford

This highbrow background examines the reception of Carl von Clausewitz's army theories in Britain and the USA. within the first entire research of the literature, Christopher Bassford argues that the influence of Clausewitzian conception has been underestimated and he follows the path of Clausewitzian impression from pre-1873 Britain to 1945. Bassford reveals that between those that explicitly mentioned Clausewitz and his theories have been infantrymen, reporters, historians, political scientists and propagandists. In bringing this literature to mild, Clausewitz in English makes a persuasive case for Clausewitzian conception having an enormous effect at the huge improvement of the British and American army pondering. will probably be of curiosity to quite a lot of army and highbrow historians.

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Extra resources for Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945

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On the issue of the political control of war, Moltke argued that 20 Clausewitz in English "strategy can direct its efforts only toward the highest goal that the available means make practically possible. It best supports policy in working solely to further political aims, but as far as possible in operating independent of policy. "22 In other words, the political leadership could dominate only at the beginning and end of a war; in the meantime, the role of the military leadership was to reduce the enemy to helpless acquiescence in the political goals of the victorious state.

In fact, their differences are as often stylistic as real, but then, in intellectual matters, style and substance are often the same thing. Unlike Jomini, the great German soldier Helmuth von Moltke (180091) was a self-confessed disciple of Clausewitz. 21 He was selected as chief of the Prussian general staff in 1857 and remained in the job until 1888. It is for his work in this position that he is chiefly remembered today. " Working (not always harmoniously) with Otto von Bismarck as chancellor and Albrecht von Roon as minister of war, Moltke did a great deal to create the German military model that, after Prussia's victories over Austria (1866) and France (1870-71) and the ensuing unification of Germany, came to dominate military organizations throughout the world.

As had happened to a great extent in Europe under the ancien r gime, a society might well ritualize war into a mere game for social reasons, in the name of humanitarianism, or in the hope of economizing on the waste of resources. To accept such a conventionalization of war was, in Clausewitz's view, to fall into a trap. "The fact that slaughter is a horrifying spectacle must make us take war more seriously, but not provide an excuse for gradually blunting our swords in the name of humanity. "48 The conventionalization of war in prerevolutionary Europe had created the ideal situation for a Napoleon to exploit.

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