Clausewitz: His Life and Work by Donald Stoker

By Donald Stoker

Carl von Clausewitz's On War, is usually thought of the best textual content on army concept ever written. Clausewitz is a touchstone for the sphere this present day, and is learn by way of students, scholars, and armed forces body of workers around the globe. And but to Clausewitz himself, way more very important than reaching popularity for his scholarly and theoretical contributions was once reaching glory at the box of battle-winning renown no longer along with his pen yet along with his sword.

Military historian Donald Stoker's perceptive biography of Carl von Clausewitz strikes skillfully among Clausewitz's profession as a solider and his paintings as a theoretician and writer, exploring the composition of On War and different works whereas additionally emphasizing the numerous army engagements within which Clausewitz fought. even though Clausewitz definitely spilled his proportion of ink, he additionally spilled blood--his in addition to that of the enemy. As an officer within the Prussian military, Clausewitz fought in battles from Jena-Auerstedt to Waterloo, in addition to the conflict of Borodino whereas serving the Russians. Stoker takes readers during the warmth of those battles, delivering historic assessment and discussing every one engagement intimately. wealthy context is equipped via Clausewitz himself, who wrote ample letters to his spouse and neighbors all through his existence, and from which Stoker attracts widely.

Clausewitz argues for the centrality of Clausewitz's paintings as a soldier, however it doesn't forget his old achievements in army idea. Stoker unpacks every one of Clausewitz's major works, contemplating their impacts and describing the situations round their composition. The interaction among the biographical information of Clausewitz's existence and the arguments placed forth in his written works allows a deeper figuring out of those known texts, and Stoker's insightful remark provides intensity to the dialogue. the result's an soaking up reassessment of either the fellow and his legacy, and an important contribution to the research of Clausewitz and his position in present day army and political panorama.

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Early 1795 saw Belgium and Holland in French hands, as well as the Rhine’s left bank (the last Prussians crossed the river in late October 1794), with the Allies holding only the fortresses of Mainz and Luxembourg. Clausewitz wrote later that “The defensive outpost-and-cordon system was pushed to the limit in both campaigns. ” In On War he wrote that the Allies’ actions foreshadowed their future fate while demonstrating that they did not understand the forces the French Revolution had unleashed.

As we approach the rumble of guns grows louder and alternates with the whir of cannonballs, which begin to attract his attention. Shots begin to strike close around us. We hurry up the slope where the commanding general is stationed with his large staff. Here cannonballs and bursting shells are frequent, and life begins to seem more serious than the young man had imagined. Suddenly someone you know is wounded; then a shell falls among the staff. You notice that some of the officers act a little oddly; you yourself are not as steady and collected as you were: even the bravest can become slightly distracted.

The Prussians opened fire at dawn, the enemy fleeing after the first cannonade. Brunswick returned to his camp in the Hüster Heights north of Pirmasens after destroying the entrenchments, leaving eighty men to hold Kettrich. These proved insufficient; the French attacked and retook the Kettrich Heights on the 20th. Clausewitz’s regiment helped Brunswick chase them away the same day, before they could rebuild the works. The post was then occupied by an infantry brigade and the fortifications strengthened.

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