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Life and career
Paret was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of Dr. Hans Paret and Suzanne Aimée Cassirer, who divorced in 1932. His mother, who was born in Brussels, Belgium, was from a Jewish family, and his father was from a Christian background. The mother left with her two children from Germany in 1932 to continue her studies with Sigmund Freud, and in 1934 married Siegfried Bernfeld, a prominent Viennese psychoanalyst and educational reformer. After two and a half years in France and six months in London, they emigrated to the United States in 1937. Paret's father remained in Germany.
During World War II, Paret served in the United States Army between 1943–1946 in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Korea. During the 1950s, Paret worked as a journalist before turning towards writing history. Paret received a BA at the University of California in 1949 and a PhD at the University of London in 1960, where he studied under Michael Howard. Paret was a research associate at Princeton University (1960–1962), and taught at the University of California, Davis (1962–1968), and at Stanford University (1969–1986),as the Raymond A. Spruance Professor of International History. In 1986 he became the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities, School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton (1986–1997). Among his other appointments, he served as a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace (1988–1993). At present Paret is an Emeritus Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is also the 2008 Lees Knowles Lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge. His wife Isabel Harris Paret is on the faculty of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick and a child psychoanalyst by whom he has two children, Suzanne Aimée Paret and Paul Paret who is a professor of art history at the University of Utah.
Paret belonged to a generation of World War II veterans who used their experience of the war to better understand military history. Paret's major interests include the relationship between art of a particular era is related to that era's ideology and social context, and the interactions among politics, intellectual trends, and war. Paret is perhaps best known for his extensive work on the life and thought of the theories of the Prussian military thinker Carl von Clausewitz. In 1962, Paret launched the "Clausewitz Project" at Princeton University. One product of this project was his 1979 biography Clausewitz and the State (originally published by Oxford in 1976, with revised editions in 1985 and 2007 published by Princeton University Press). The translation of Vom Kriege into English by Paret and the British military historian Michael Howard (with the advice and commentary of Bernard Brodie) in 1976, reissued in a revised version in 1984 with an extensive index, is generally considered to be the best translation into English and is now treated as a standard work.
- "The French Army and la Guerre Révolutionnaire" from Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, CIV February 1959, reprinted in Survival, I March–April 1959.
- "An Aftermath of the Plot Against Hitler: The Lehrterstrasse Prison in Berlin, 1944–45," from Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, XXXII May 1959.
- "Eine totale Waffe im begrenzten Krieg" from Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau, IX October 1959; revised version appeared as "A Total Weapon of Limited War," in the Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, CV February 1960.
- "Internal War and Pacification: The Vendée, 1789–1796"; Research Monograph No. 12, Center of International Studies, Princeton University, Princeton, 1961.
- Co-written with John Shy "Guerilla War and U.S. Military Policy: A study," from Marine Corps Gazette, XLVI January 1962.
- Co-written with John Shy Guerrillas in the 1960s, Princeton Studies in World Politics No. 1, Praeger, New York, 1961, revised edition: Praeger, New York, 1962; UK edition: Pall Mall Press, London, 1962.
- "Jena" from Great Military Battles, edited by Cyril Falls, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1964.
- French Revolutionary Warfare from Indochina to Algeria, Princeton Studies in World Politics No. 6, Praeger, New York, 1964.
- "Colonial Experience and European Military Reform at the End of the Eighteenth Century" from Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, XXXVII May 1964.
- "Clausewitz: A Bibliographical Survey," from World Politics, XVII January 1965.
- "Clausewitz and the Nineteenth Century" from The Theory and Practice of War edited by Michael Howard, Cassels, London, 1965.
- Innovation and Reform in Warfare, 8th Annual Harmon Memorial Lecture, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, 1966.
- Yorck and the Era of Prussian Reform, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1966.
- "Education, Politics, and War in the Life of Clausewitz" from Journal of the History of Ideas, Volume XXIX, July–September 1968.
- Editor and translator, Frederick the Great by Gerhard Ritter, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1968.
- "Nationalism and the Sense of Military Obligation" from Military Affairs, XXXIV February 1970.
- "An Anonymous Letter by Clausewitz on the Polish Insurrection of 1830-31" from Journal of Modern History, XLII, June 1970.
- "Assignments Old and New" from American Historical Review, Volume LXXVI, February 1971.
- "The History of War" from Daedalus, Volume C, Spring 1971.
- Co-written with Gordon A. Craig "The Control of International Violence" from Stanford Journal of International Studies, Volume VII, Spring 1972.
- Editor: Frederick the Great: A Profile, Hill and Wang, New York, 1972.
- Editor, Siegfried Bernfeld, Sisyphus or the Limits of Education, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1973.
- "Introduction" to Antoine-Henri Jomini: A Bibliographical Survey by John Alger, West Point Library Press, West Point, 1975.
- "Introduction", John Hans Ostwald: Architect by Donald Rae, Greenwood Press, San Francisco, 1975.
- "Armed Forces and the State: The Historical Essays of Otto Hintze" from War and Society, II 1975.
- Co-editor and co-translator with Michael Howard, On War by Carl von Clausewitz, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1976. Revised edition: Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1984.
- Clausewitz and the State, Oxford University Press, New York, 1976; revised edition Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1985; new revised edition, 2007.
- "Bemerkungen zu dem Versuch von Clausewitz zum Gesandten in London ernannt zu werden" from Jahrbuch für die Geschichte Mittel- und Ostdeutschlands, XXVI 1977.
- Editor, Friedrich Meinecke, The Age of German Liberation, University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1977.
- "The Relationship between the American Revolutionary War and European Military Thought and Practice of the Period" in Militärgeschichte, Militär-wissenschaft und Konfliktforschung, edited by Dermot Bradley and Ulrich Marwedel, Biblio Verlag, Osnabrück, 1977.
- "Art and the National Image: The Conflict Over Germany's Participation in the St. Louis Exposition" from Central European History, XI June 1978.
- "Die politischen Ansichten von Clausewitz," in Freiheit ohne Krieg, edited by Ulrich de Maizière, Bonn, 1980.
- "Gleichgewicht als Mittel der Friedenssicherung bei Clausewitz und in der Geschichte der Neuzeit," from Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau, XXIX May–June 1980.
- "Clausewitz's Bicentennial Birthday" from Air University Review, XXXI May–June 1980.
- The Berlin Secession: Modernism and its Enemies in Imperial Germany, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1980.
- "The Tschudi Affair" from Journal of Modern History, LIII December 1981.
- Co-editor with Maria-Luise von Graberg Berliner Secession (Catalogue of the exhibition in the Staatliche Kunsthalle, West Berlin, July 4 – August 23, 1981), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, 1981.
- "Kleist and Clausewitz: A Comparative Sketch," in Festschrift für Eberhard Kessel, edited by Manfred Schlenke, Fink, Munich, 1982.
- "Revolutions in Warfare: An Earlier Generation of Interpreters" from National Security and International Stability, edited by Bernard Brodie, Michael Intrilligator, and Roman Kolkowicz, Oelgeschlager, Gunn and Hain, Cambridge, Mass., 1983.
- "The Artist as Staatsbürger" from German Studies Review, VI October 1983.
- "The Enemy Within: Max Liebermann as President of the Prussian Academy of Arts" in the Leo Baeck Memorial Lecture, Leo Baeck Institute, New York, 1984.
- Co-editor and co-translator with Daniel Moran Two Letters on Strategy by Carl von Clausewitz, Army War College Foundation, Carlisle, Penn., 1984.
- "Napoleon as Enemy," Banquet Address, Consortium on Revolutionary Europe, 1983, Proceedings, edited by Clarence B. Davis, University of Georgia, 1985.
- "Between Strategy and Mass Murder: The Third Reich at War" from German Studies Review, VII May 1985.
- "Literary Censorship as a Source for Historical Understanding" from Central European History, XVIII September–December 1985.
- Co-written with Beth Irwin Lewis "Art, Society, and Politics in Wilhelmine Germany" from Journal of Modern History, LVII December 1985.
- "Some Comments on the Continuity Debate in Recent German History" from German-American Interrelations: Heritage and Challenge, edited by James F. Harris, Attempto Verlag, Tübingen, 1985.
- "The German Revolution of 1848 and Rethel's Dance of Death" from Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XVII Summer 1986.
- Co-edited with Gordon A. Craig and Felix Gilbert The Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1986.
- "Clausewitz" from Military Leadership and Command: The John Biggs Cincinnati Lectures, edited by Henry S. Bausum, The VMI Foundation, Lexington, 1987.
- "Continuity and Discontinuity in Some Interpretations by Tocqueville and Clausewitz" from Journal of the History of Ideas, XLIX January–March 1988.
- "Conscription and the End of the Old Regime in France and Prussia" in Geschichte als Aufgabe: Festschrift für Otto Büsch, edited by Wilhelm Treue, Colloquium Verlag, Berlin, 1988.
- "Introduction" to To Change an Army by Harold R. Winton University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 1988.
- Art as History: Episodes in the Culture and Politics of Nineteenth-Century Germany, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1988.
- "National Identity in a Divided Nation: The New Historical Museum in West Berlin," from Working Papers in International Studies, Hoover Institution, Stanford, 1988.
- "Commentary on 'Psychoanalysis and History'" in Psychology and Historical Interpretation, edited by. William McKinley Runyan, Oxford University Press, New York, 1988.
- "Military Power" from The Journal of Military History, LIII July 1989.
- "John Keegan's The Price of Admiralty and Popular History" from The Journal of Military History, LIV April 1990
- "An Unknown Letter by Clausewitz" from The Journal of Military History, LV April 1991.
- "The New Military History," from Parameters, XXXI Fall 1991.
- "God's Hammer," from Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, CXXXVI, No. 2 June 1992.
- Understanding War: Essays on Clausewitz and the History of Military Power, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1992.
- Co-written with Beth Irwin Lewis and Paul Paret Persuasive Images, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1992.
- Co-editor and co-translator with Daniel Moran, Carl von Clausewitz, Historical and Political Writings Princeton University Press, Princeton, 1992.
- "Introduction" to Hitler's Japanese Confidant by Carl Boyd, University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 1993.
- "Jefferson and the Birth of European Liberalism," from Two Lectures on Jefferson co-edited by Bernard Bailyn and Peter Paret, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, 1993
- Co-editored with Ekkehard Mai, Sammler, Stifter und Museen, Böhlau Verlag: Köln-Weimar-Wien, 1993.
- "Jüdische Sammler, Mäzene und Kunsthändler" from Sammler, Stifter und Museen, edited by Ekkehard Mai and Peter Paret, Böhlau Verlag, Köln-Weimar-Wien, 1993.
- Guest editor, "The History of War as Part of General History" from The Journal of Military History, LVII, No. 5 (Special Issue) October 1993.
- "Justifying the Obligation of Military Service" from "The History of War as Part of General History" from The Journal of Military History, LVII, No. 5 (Special Issue) October 1993.
- "Introduction" to Austro-Hungarian Aircraft of World War One by Peter Grosz, George Haddow, and Peter Scheimer, Flying Machine Press, Princeton, 1993.
- "The Recovery of Prussia after Jena" in The Aftermath of Defeat, edited by George J. Andreopoulos and Harold E. Selesky, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1994.
- "Ernst Cassirer und neuere Richtungen der Kulturgeschichte in den Vereinigten Staaten" from Internationale Zeitschrift für Philosophie, IV September 1994.
- "Kolberg as Film and as Historical Document" from Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television, XIV, 4 1994.
- "Betrachtungen über deutsche Kunst und Künstler im ersten Weltkrieg" from Kultur und Krieg, edited by Wolfgang J. Mommsen, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich, 1995.
- "The Discovery of the Common Soldier in Modern Art" from Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Historical Sciences, Montreal, 1995.
- "Berlin in Menzel's Time" in Adolph Menzel, 1815–1905, Catalogue of the exhibition of the Berlin Nationalgalerie in Paris, Washington, and Berlin; Yale University Press, New Haven-London, 1996.
- Witnesses to Life: Women and Infants in some Images of War, 1789–1830, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, 1996.
- Imagined Battles: Reflections of War in European Art, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1997.
- "Expressionism in Imperial Germany," Expressionismo Arte e Società 1909–1923, Catalogue of the exhibition in the Palazzo Grassi, Venice, RCS Libri & Grandi Opere; also in an Italian language edition, 1997.
- "Max Liebermann als Künstler und Kulturpolitiker" from Jahrbuch Preussischer Kulturbesitz, XXXIV 1998.
- "La historia de la guerra como historia cultural" from En la Encrucijada de la Ciencia Historica Hoy edited by V. Vazquez de Prada, I. Olabarri, and F.J. Caspistegui, Ediciones Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 1998.
- "Das Problem der Darstellung des Krieges in der bildenden Kunst" in Die Wiedererweckung des Krieges edited by Joachim Kunisch and Herfried Münkler, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 1999.
- "Modernism and the 'Alien Element in German Art’" from Berlin Metropolis: Jews and the New Culture, 1890–1918, edited by Emily Bilski, University of California Press, Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1999.
- "Wege der Annäherung an das Werk des Generals von Clausewitz" from Sonderheft, Akademie-Information, Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr, Hamburg, August 1999.
- "Fontane und Liebermann - Versuch eines Vergleiches" from Theodor Fontane. Am Ende des Jahrhunderts edited by Hanna Delf von Wolzogen, Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg, 2000.
- "Fontane und der nicht gegenwärtige Clausewitz" from Fontane Blätter, LXIX 2000.
- German Encounters with Modernism, 1840–1945, Cambridge University Press, 2001.
- "Three Perspectives on Art as a Force in German History" from Central European History, January 2001.
- "The History of Armed Force" in Companion to Historical Thought edited by Lloyd Kramer and Sarah Maza, Blackwell, Oxford, 2002.
- "Crossing Borders" from Historically Speaking, Volume III, November 2002.
- An Artist against the Third Reich: Ernst Barlach, 1933–1938, Cambridge University Press, 2003.
- "Bemerkungen zu einem 'seltsamen Freundespaar'" from Berlin SW-Victoriastrasse 35 edited by Volker Probst and Helga Thieme, Güstrow, 2003.
- "Zehn unbekannte Briefe Barlachs" from Berlin SW-Victoriastrasse 35, edited by Volker Probst and Helga Thieme, Güstrow, 2003.
- "From Ideal to Ambiguity: Johannes von Müller, Clausewitz, and the People in Arms" from Journal of the History of Ideas Volume LXV, Issue #1, 2004.
- "Einstein, Freud, and their Pamphlet Why War?" from Historically Speaking, VI, 6 July–August 2005.
- "Bemerkungen über den Krieg als Thema der Kunst in der frühen Neuzeit," in Mars und die Musen edited by Jutta Nowosadtko and Matthias Rogg, LIT- Verlag, Hamburg, 2006.
- "Comment on Gray, The Future of War" from Historically Speaking Volume VII, 3 January–February 2006.
- "Dr Hans PARET and Suzanne Aimée CASSIRER". Genealogy.metastudies.net. Retrieved 2012-08-30.
- Bassford, Christopher Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815–1945, New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.