Talk:On War

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Reference re-added[edit]

A reference was removed without explanation. It has been re-added, as it was used to add content to the article on August 23, 2005. Per Wikipedia policy, a reference must be provided when information is "gleaned from an external souce." As that is the case here, to remove the reference would put the article in copyright violation. Uriah923 17:31, 1 September 2005 (UTC)

Value of ON content and quality of reference[edit]

The content added from the ON reference remains in this article, but the reference has been removed. This action is disputed and a conversation is ongoing here. Uriah923 06:25, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

Questions regarding the debunking of von Clausewitz critics[edit]

Clausewitz's On War and common misinterpretations of the Clausewitz (... missing words here?) have been the basis for modern military doctrine from the Peace of Westphalia onward. (How does a book published in 1832 provide the basis for doctrine since 1648?) I agree that On War is a product of its time, but what is not appreciated in the rebuttal of its critics is that the eastern methods of warfare are quite different (from what?) and offer a different approach to warfare. One of the great differences is that eastern warfare is prosecuted at the physical, morale and economic levels. (Does anyone seriously believe that Western warfare lacks physical, moral/psychological, or economic elements?) Sun Tsu was able to impart this in far fewer pages than Clausewitz, even including the 36 Strategies and the Lost Art of War by Sun Bin.

What is clear is that Clausewitz emphasises the commanders' and rulers' parts in warfare, but eastern methods are intended to be applicable to all levels (eastern warfare believes that strategy is applicable at the level of personal combat as well as of armies). The reason for this is that the eastern emphasis is on the mind of the opponent. The real difference is that it is presumed in the West that one soldier is the same as any other soldier. (Which is why Clausewitz wasted so much time talking about the differences in the character of various commanders and armies?) In the east an emphasis is placed on individual skills and characteristics.

In modern times we face an opponent that uses Eastern methods. These can be effective against more Western-type state militaries (e.g., Hezbolla vs. Israel 2006). (Just as Western methods can be effective against Eastern forces--accepting those false categories for the sake of argument.)

The point of all this is that it seems that the criticism of Clausewitz is appropriate.

As for the note at the end of the article, I believe that B.H. Liddell Hart is correct in that if Sun Tsu's methods had been in use instead of Clausewitz's, Europe might have been spared much of the damage (of what?). If outstanding strategists had followed Sun Tsu in Europe, then they might have found victories without fighting. (Which is why the Chinese Civil War did so little damage?) India's Ghandi (Gandhi?) is a good example, Vietnam is also a good example of Western and Eastern methods in conflict. (Communism is a Western political philosophy.) Notice that in the South most damage was confined to strategic targets, while in the North carpet bombing attempted to destroy the civilian and military infrastructure. And by the way the West lost that conflict.

As for the roles of violent emotions, chance, and human reason in the art of war, well, the best warriors that I know are cold blooded, leave very little to chance (absurd), and attempt to cause insanity in the opposition thru the methods common to Sun Tsu, Musashi, Boyd, etc.

Maybe the page should not contain so much opinion on Clausewitz's critics and more on what is in On War--i.e., more explanation of Clausewitz's theories and the misinterpretations thereof.

Opinion vs Interpretation[edit]

I'm puzzled how the previous commentator proposes to focus on interpretations and misinterpretations and thereby dispense with all this "opinion." A balanced treatment (which is, I believe, what Wikipedia aims for) should contain both sides of the argument. When I edited this earlier, I removed none of the negative assessments (though I tried to clarify them). These criticisms are especially odd coming in the context of an essay that is about Sun Tzu and the delusions of "Eastern warfare" fans rather than about the subject at hand. In the meantime, I have partially corrected his spelling and grammar so that we can argue about content and not merely about poor writing.:-)

General Information about Vom Krieg and Clausewitz' ideas + spelling errors.[edit]

As the title suggests, I fixed the article by adding on to it more general ideas and information about the book. Also there were couple spelling mistakes I fixed.

Xelnanga 15:48, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

One Of the first books on war ???[edit]

well 'The Art of War' was actually written 2400 years earlier. So for it to be 'one of the first' i think that it would at least be in ancient times instead of 19th century europe. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.63.119.116 (talk) 03:22, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

  • Please read more carefully what the article says. It's the first modern military work. Art of War is very old. It's ancient and is not considered to be the modern military art we know as is today. Xelnanga 04:48, 9 November 2007 (UTC)


The final paragraph appears to be original work about On War[edit]

The final paragraph:

On the other hand, Clausewitz never saw these 20th-century states and armies--the states with which he himself was familiar were quite different. In any case, the "Clausewitzian Trinity" that Van Creveld condemns as consisting of a rigid statistic hierarchy of "People, Army, and Government," does not in fact consist of those three concrete actors. In fact, the words people, army, and government appear nowhere in the paragraph in which Clausewitz defines his famous Trinity. Rather, the Trinity of forces that drive the course of real-world war in Clausewitz's view are 1) violent emotion, 2) the interplay of chance and probability, and 3) political motive acting on reason. It seems unlikely that emotion, chance, and rationality will cease to play a role in war any time soon, whatever the fate of the state.

Doesn't list or note references and appears to be an original defense of Clausewitz's Trinity of forces. Does this originate from the Brodie text? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mouseodoom (talkcontribs) 21:44, 30 June 2009 (UTC)