Clausewitz: His Life and Work by Donald Stoker

By Donald Stoker

Carl von Clausewitz's On War, is mostly thought of the best textual content on army idea ever written. Clausewitz is a touchstone for the sphere this present day, and is learn by means of students, scholars, and armed forces body of workers all over the world. And but to Clausewitz himself, way more very important than reaching acceptance for his scholarly and theoretical contributions was once reaching glory at the box of battle-winning renown no longer together with his pen yet along with his sword.

Military historian Donald Stoker's perceptive biography of Carl von Clausewitz strikes skillfully among Clausewitz's occupation as a solider and his paintings as a theoretician and writer, exploring the composition of On War and different works whereas additionally emphasizing the numerous army engagements within which Clausewitz fought. notwithstanding Clausewitz definitely spilled his percentage of ink, he additionally spilled blood--his in addition to that of the enemy. As an officer within the Prussian military, Clausewitz fought in battles from Jena-Auerstedt to Waterloo, in addition to the conflict of Borodino whereas serving the Russians. Stoker takes readers in the course of the warmth of those battles, supplying old review and discussing every one engagement intimately. wealthy context is supplied by means of Clausewitz himself, who wrote plentiful letters to his spouse and acquaintances all through his lifestyles, and from which Stoker attracts commonly.

Clausewitz argues for the centrality of Clausewitz's paintings as a soldier, however it doesn't overlook his historic achievements in army thought. Stoker unpacks each one of Clausewitz's major works, contemplating their impacts and describing the conditions round their composition. The interaction among the biographical information of Clausewitz's lifestyles and the arguments positioned forth in his written works permits a deeper figuring out of those established texts, and Stoker's insightful remark provides intensity to the dialogue. the result's an soaking up reassessment of either the guy and his legacy, and an important contribution to the examine of Clausewitz and his position in latest army and political panorama.

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August 1793 proved a pivotal month for the revolutionary regime’s survival, as well as the history of warfare itself. Austrian armies based in Belgium had crossed the French frontier, while the Prussians, after reducing Mainz, invaded from the east. The Spanish had crossed the Pyrenees and scored victories on French soil. Counterrevolutionary forces in France had also arisen, particularly in the west, in the Vendée, where conscription had ignited an earlier explosion. Toulon, Marseilles, and Lyon had also fallen to opponents of the regime.

Writers like Heinrich Dietrich von Bülow, author of The Spirit of the Modern System of War, were “sophists,” and Machiavelli was too preoccupied with the ancient world. 19 He will tread much of this same ground in On War. Clausewitz draws upon other theorists such as Machiavelli, whom he says had “a very keen eye in matters of war,” and in particular on his Discourses, a study of Roman war and politics. Hence we have the Roman general Fabius Cunctator (The Delayer), famous for taking up positions in traditional Roman fortified camps nearby to Hannibal but refusing to meet him in battle, preferring harassing the enemy and protracting the war in an effort to exhaust him.

These proved insufficient; the French attacked and retook the Kettrich Heights on the 20th. Clausewitz’s regiment helped Brunswick chase them away the same day, before they could rebuild the works. The post was then occupied by an infantry brigade and the fortifications strengthened. 45 Such actions typified Clausewitz’s first campaign. By September, the French began pushing back, encouraged by the lack of Prussian activity (Brunswick had kept the right wing of his army sitting for seven weeks).

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