Carl von Clausewitz

On War

13:53 min
Philosophy, History
732 pages, 1832

Carl von Clausewitz dissects the complexity of war in his perennial work, On War. He navigates war's inherent brutality, analyzing the factors behind battles to detail the machinery of warfare. Insightful perspectives emerge, like how victory resides not just in battlefield losses, but in demolishing the enemy's morale. Though war's goals seem straightforward — to defeat rivals — success demands intricate strategy and self-control to temper chaos. Clausewitz underscores bravery's importance while stressing that instincts must bend to wisdom, allowing politics to advance through combat. For those seeking an incisive look into the art and science of war, this distilled short delivers a thorough evaluation of war's timeless rhythms and hard-won lessons.

Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz was a prominent 19th century Prussian military theorist and general known for his seminal work On War, which covers the philosophy, strategy, and tactics of warfare. Drawing on his extensive battlefield experience during the Napoleonic Wars, Clausewitz demonstrated in-depth understanding of key military concepts such as the friction and fog of war, center of gravity, and more, using historical examples to provide insight into the fundamental nature of armed conflict. Though he died before completing On War, Clausewitz's study of moral factors in war and how talented generals shape campaigns at the operational level established him as one of history's most influential analysts of military strategy.


War is a complex and brutal tool of politics, a violent conflict between rival forces seeking to disarm and defeat each other through reciprocal escalation. Its outcomes are uncertain, requiring military leaders to adapt deftly amid friction between objectives and achievement.
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Cover of On War