By Christopher Bassford

This highbrow historical past examines the reception of Carl von Clausewitz's army theories in Britain and the USA. within the first entire learn of the literature, Christopher Bassford argues that the impression of Clausewitzian concept 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 mild, Clausewitz in English makes a persuasive case for Clausewitzian thought having a massive influence at the extensive 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 info for Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945

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His concern was not so much the conduct of the war itself (although he was eager to influence France's internal political struggle) as worries that a protracted war might lead to some outside intervention disastrous to Prussian policy. Moltke resisted Bismarck's demands, citing technical military reasons. There was doubtless some truth to these, but Moltke was also motivated by institutional concerns to resist the chancellor. He had perhaps a political motive as well: Like many Germans, Moltke wanted to see the power of France—the incorrigible aggressor—permanently smashed.

He was also interested in fixed fortifications, although he warned against overreliance on them and made some 32 Clausewitz in English careful observations on their correct use. In most battles, however, both sides use both offensive and defensive methods, and losses tend to be fairly equal until one side or the other breaks. Therefore he strongly emphasized the pursuit, which permits the infliction of disproportionate losses on the loser. Much more important were the strategic aspects of defense.

28 Clausewitz in English A superficial reading of On War may, however, leave the reader somewhat confused on this point. 45 The distinction is crucial: Clausewitz likened actual bloodshed to the occasional cash transaction in a business normally operating on credit. He did not say that a bloodless war of maneuver (a la Sun Tzu or Saxe) is impossible, merely that maneuver by itself is meaningless; it must be backed up with the credible threat of battlefield success. An effective maneuver may create a situation in which the enemy is convinced that if it comes to battle, he will lose more than he is willing to risk.

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