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 us. within the first accomplished learn of the literature, Christopher Bassford argues that the influence of Clausewitzian conception has been underestimated and he follows the path of Clausewitzian effect from pre-1873 Britain to 1945. Bassford reveals that between those that explicitly mentioned Clausewitz and his theories have been squaddies, reporters, historians, political scientists and propagandists. In bringing this literature to gentle, Clausewitz in English makes a persuasive case for Clausewitzian thought having an immense influence at the wide improvement of the British and American army considering. will probably be of curiosity to a variety of army and highbrow historians.

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The choice of either would depend, as always, on the specific situation. Clausewitz did provide some guidance in choosing military objectives. Perhaps most important was the concept of focusing one's military efforts on the enemy's "center of gravity" (Schwerpunkt). He often used this term in tactical discussions merely to denote the main line of attack. When applied to strategy, however, it assumes a more narrow definition. The center of gravity was the most important source of the enemy's strength.

Third, there was a personal element in Jomini's critique of Clausewitz. Clearly, on some level he did greatly admire Clausewitz's work. " He was thus deeply wounded by the criticisms in On War. He expressed his bitterness in a number of hyperbolic sneers ("The works of Clausewitz have been incontestably useful, although it is often less by the ideas of the author, than by the contrary ideas to which he gives birth") and in accusations of plagiarism ("There is not one of my reflections [on the campaign of 1799] which he has not repeated").

He was, however, no advocate of a policy of conquest. Although he is often portrayed as the "high priest" of Napoleon, this view ignores the fact that he was both a passionate Prussian patriot and a die-hard opponent of the French emperor. Clausewitz was detached enough to admire Bonaparte as a professional soldier, but his experience of the Napoleonic wars convinced him of the power of both nationalism and of the balance-of-power mechanism. In his view, those forces would generally lead to the destruction of any would-be Alexander or Napoleon, at least in the European context.

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