This fascinating book assesses Prussian military thinker Carl von Clausewitz’s famous theory on warfare in relation to historical and modern-day conflict—and future trends.
In 1832, renowned German philosopher Clausewitz issued the famous dictum that war is policy conducted by other means, implying that states could assert control over that "policy." In an era when armed conflict is no longer the sole province of states, do Clausewitz’s theories still hold lessons for modern statesmen and military strategists?
Carl von Clausewitz’s On War is arguably the most important single work ever written on the theory of warfare and military strategy. In Clausewitz Reconsidered, two prominent military historians assess his theories, examining their viability at a time when asymmetric warfare and “war” conducted by and against nonstate actors is increasingly common and state control often ephemeral.
The basis of the book's analysis is an examination of war over the last four centuries, since the Thirty Years’ War, including the Cold War and subsequent conflicts. What is discovered is that war is far more endemic and brutal today than when Clausewitz tried to explain it. This volume explores that paradox and shows that if anything, we can anticipate further uncontrolled violence. The authors conclude that Clausewitz and On War have assumed a status akin to holy writ, but are obviously dated. The aim of Clausewitz Reconsidered is to bring the master’s theories up to date, providing the current generation with a new basis for thought and analysis.
Highlights • Analyzes war over the last four centuries as the basis for an examination of the current applicability of Clausewitz’s theories • Shows that the nature of warfare has dramatically changed in ways that Clausewitz could not have anticipated • Suggests ways that the theories promulgated in On War can be brought up to date in recognition of the way wars and warfare tend to be prosecuted in the 21st century
H. P. Willmott is one of the foremost military historians in England, having taught at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, for two decades, as well as at the U.S. National War College, the University of Memphis, Temple University, and The Citadel. The author of over a dozen books on military history, his most recent work is the three-volume series The Last Century of Seapower. Willmott has written extensively on warfare in general and the Second World War in particular, his main area of interest and publication being the Pacific war. His book The Battle of Leyte Gulf: The Last Fleet Action was a Society for Military History prize-winner.
Michael B. Barrett is a professor of history at The Citadel, Charleston, SC, retired brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve, and author of Operation Albion: The German Conquest of the Baltic Islands.