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Clausewitzian theory, application and its relevance in a modern context of warfare

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Sarah s.
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  1. Introduction
  2. Clausewitzian concepts of war
  3. The military background
  4. Napoleonic concepts of war
  5. Modern interpretations of Clausewitz's work
  6. Creveld's most astute examination of Clausewitzian concepts
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited

Carl von Clausewitz was an active theorist, writing extensively on the history and philosophy of military warfare. His most famous and widely read book, On War (Vom Kriege,) was published after his death in 1832. It was written in response to, and impacted by, the Napoleonic Wars, which dominated the early part of the nineteenth century, and impacted most of Western Europe. By way of his writing, most specifically On War, he is considered one of the first strategists on military policy. Presently, he remains one of the most influential military writers. Respect of dualism, meaning the relationship of two distinct poles of warfare: political and armed conflict is crucial to a full conception of Clausewitiz writings.

[...] Relationship of History and Theory in On War: The Clausewitzian Ideal and its Implications.? Journal of Military History. Vol No. (Apr., 2001.) pp. 333-354. As the title of this article suggests, historians have come to view Clausewitz's theories as an ideal interpretation of modern warfare. Instead, this author contests, there must be an acknowledgement of both the ideal and the practical. It is important to understand both, to first understand the historical context, and then later address the modern relevance. [...]


[...] It is important to highlight those authors who do not agree with my thesis, in order to address why there is not unified agreement and how this can overcome. Moody, Peter, R., Jr. ?Clausewitz and the Fading Dialectic of War.? World Politics. Vol No (Apr., 1979.) pp. 417-433. My paper will draw heavily from this article. My thesis falls largely in line with Moody's reading of Clausewitz's work. He plays up the political contingent of the writing and does not believe there is a significant detraction by way of Clausewitz's ignorance of imprisonment, in the modern sense. [...]

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