PowerPoint ******

International Security
and Peace
Clausewitz and His Theory on War: Part I
Prof. Jaechun Kim
Personal History of Clausewitz
Born in 1780 in Prussia (one of the
many German speaking states)…
Only the good die young(??)…
died at the age of 51…
Participated in a combat at the age
of 13 in a war with France
Coming back to Prussia, he
became a military reformer – to
prepare for war with the French…
Service in Russia  Administrative
head of the General War College in
Abundant leisure time  wrote On
Historical Context of Clausewitzian Writing
Industrial Revolution → mass production of goods
French Revolution → nationalism
Napoleonic Military Revolution
Huge Conscript Army fueled by nationalist spirit
Huge Conscript Army supported by strong industrial
→ sustained operation over great distance
N was the first person who recognized the forces generated by the
two simultaneous revolutions… C wanted to emulate the success of
Napoleon… C also had great respect for N…
On War, the book…
“Unfinished” work – book 7 and 8 are rough drafts…
Not an easy book to read
“Hegelian Dialectic” method
“War is nothing but a duel on a large scale (Thesis)”
“War is continuation of politics by other means (Antithesis)”
Realistic theories of war with numerous factors (Synthesis)
… treats war as a simple thing and then introduces a number of factors
that remove war from its ideal type…
Need patience… to read the book…
Continuing Relevance of Clausewitz.. Why?
Clausewitz had huge influence on the modern strategic thinking…
the book is used in MBA programs…
He analyzed war from the social, political, psychological aspects…
Nature of War defined by Clausewitz
War is continuation of politics by other means
Clausewitz legitimized the use of war as rational tool of nation;
C advocated the resort to war as routine extension of state
policy… ( John Keegan, A History of War fare, 1993)
What he really meant
Political Control of Military Affairs: War is only a branch of
political activity… the policy concern should be the guiding light
for the conduct of war…  Political control of military affairs war w/o political guidance is stupid !!!
Warning against reckless militarism… the reason for conducting
warfare is to achieve policy objectives…
Subordination of military means to political goals – If war is to
achieve a political purpose, everything that enters into war
should be determined by this purpose...such as social and
economic preparation, strategic planning, the conduct of
military operations, the use of violence… etc.
Importance of political objectives of war…
Tendency of the time – separation of the two realms !
“Politics and military are different things!” Civilian
leaders should not interfere with military affairs!
Antoine-Henry Jomini: “a government should choose
its ablest military commander, then leave him free to
wage war according to scientific principles” (Traite de
Grande Tactique)
Jomini had very little concern with political implications of
Clausewitz – war is an extension of states policy –
political leadership determines national objectives of war!
“War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation
of politics by different means. Consequently, the main lines of
every major strategic plan are largely political in nature, and
their political character increases the more the plan applies to
the entire campaign and to the whole state. A war plan results
directly from the political conditions of the two warring
states… A plan of campaign results from the war plan…
But the political element even enters the separate components
of a campaign… there can be no question of a purely military
evaluation of a great strategic issue, nor of a purely military
scheme to solve it.”
There cannot be a purely military evaluation of war
strategy or war history
 evaluation of war in terms of political outcomes…
Power of Friction (Power of Chance) and Fog of War :
“War by algebra will never occur!”
Warfare will be compounded by a lot of contingent and
unexpected factors… such as fatigue, and errors, etc.
“Friction is the only concept that corresponds to the
factors that distinguish real war from war on paper.”
Jomini : “friction factors were unpredictable and
therefore extrinsic to the theory of war… scope of chance
in war can be eliminated by the employment of correct
tactical doctrines…”
This was the mainstream approach to the study of war in
19th century…
C was skeptical about these simplified theories of war…
“any dogmatic simplification of war only falsifies the
reality of wars, the power of chance.” “These factors
were so much a part of the fabric of war that any theory
of war should consider them as intrinsic…”
Clausewitz thought that friction factors were
so much a part of the fabric of war that nay
theory of war should consider them as
War is a probabilistic endeavor!
Some of the factors that contribute friction
“Fog of War” : meaning that the decisions must be
made on the base of imperfect observations, information,
or ideas…
Physical stress on men and machines
Unexpected or chance events
Psychological pressure
“Wellspring for a general friction will persist at some
level as far as war is a human endeavor.”
“There is no activity like war to rob men of confidence in themselves
and in….. And divert them from their original course of action….”
“The conduct of war resembles the workings of an intricate machine with
tremendous friction… Consequently the commander’s free will and
intelligence find themselves hampered at every turn, and remarkable
strength of mind an spirit are needed to overcome this resistance. Even
then many good ideas are destroyed by friction…”
‘friction’ can be countered by ‘the iron will of the commander,’
‘genius,’ ‘combat experience.’
While we can take steps to reduce friction, we are
not likely to be able to eliminate it altogether…
 Even the most realistic theory can never
match the reality!
Paradoxical (Fascinating) Trinity
War is duel on a large scale – thesis
War is politics by other means – Antithesis
Trinity  Synthesis
“ War is more than a mere chameleon that slightly adapts its characteristics
to the given case. As a total phenomenon its dominant tendencies always
make war a fascinating trinity – composed of (1) primordial violence,
hatred, and enmity, which are to be regard as a blind natural force; (2) of
the play of chance and probability within which the creative spirit is free
to roam; and (3) of its element of subordination, as an instrument of
policy, which makes it subject to reason.”
“ The first of these three aspects mainly concerns the people; the
second the commander and his army; the third the government.
The passions that are to be kindled in war must already be
inherent in the people; the scope which the play of courage and
talent will enjoy in the realm of probability and chance depends
on the particular character of the commander and the army; but
the political aims are the business of government alone.
These three tendencies are like three different codes of law,
deep-rooted in their subject and yet variable in their relationship
to one another. A theory that ignores any one of them or seeks to
fix an arbitrary relationship between them would conflict with
reality to such an extent that for this reason alone it would be
totally useless.
Our task therefore is to develop a theory that maintains a balance
among these three tendencies, like an object suspended among
three magnets.”
Blind natural forces
(emotions of primordial violence, hate, and enmity)
Non-rational forces
(play of chance and
Rational calculation
(war’s subordination
as an instrument of
People should support the war wholeheartedly..
Military should manage the elements of chance..
Gov must introduce the rational calculus of war..
War is based on these basic variables: policy of the
government, quality of the army, and the attitude of the
C was the first person who identified reciprocal causality
between the three variables…
This trinity reflects C’s conviction that war could not be
considered in isolation, war cannot be considered as an
essentially military act.
Emphasis on the preeminence of moral forces
Clausewitz’s interest in passions and public opinion fall
under the “moral forces”
“One might say that the physical seem little more than the wooden hilt, while
the moral factors are the precious metal…
Moral elements are among the most important in war. They constitute the
spirit that permeates war as a whole, and at an early stage they establish a
close affinity with the will that moves and leads the whole mass of force,
particularly merging with it, since the will is itself a moral quality… The
spirit and other moral qualities of an army, a general or a government, the
temper of the population of the theatre of war, the moral effects of victory or
defeat – all vary greatly. They can moreover influence our objective and
situation in very different ways.”
Difference between “Moral” and “Morale”?
Clausewitz : “An army with high moral qualities will not lose
cohesion under fire and will not run when rumors and fear spread.
An army with high moral qualities will not lose respect for its
officers even in defeat.”
War is violent in nature
 War always entails fighting…
 Violence is the essence of war
Destruction of enemy as the key to victory
 Contradictory to his famous dictum that :
War is politics by other means?
 Historical context…
Centers of gravity