What is War?

Topics: War, On War, Philosophy of war Pages: 4 (1384 words) Published: September 16, 2014
CLAUSEWITZ, ON WAR NOTES
BOOK 1, CHAPTER 1 – WHAT IS WAR?
1-INTRODUCTION:
When considering the each individual part of war, its relation to war as an entirety must also be kept in view 2-DEFINITION:
‘War is nothing but a duel on an extensive scale.’ Metaphor of two wrestlers: ‘Each strives by physical force to compel the other to submit to his will: each endeavours to throw his adversary, and thus render him incapable of further resistance.’ ‘War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will.’ Page 5

‘Violence, that is to say, physical force… is therefore the means; the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate object.’ Page 5/6
‘…disarmament becomes… the immediate object of hostilities in theory.’ 3- UTMOST USE OF FORCE:
It is widely believed that you can overcome an enemy without bloodshed or use of violence, however, as ‘…plausible this may appear, still it is an error which must be extirpated; for in such a dangerous things as war, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.’ ‘…it follows that he who uses force unsparingly, without reference to the bloodshed involved, must obtain a superiority if his adversary uses less vigour in its application. The former then dictates the law to the latter…’ ‘…it is even against one’s own interest, to turn away from the consideration of the real nature of the affair because the horror of its elements excites repugnance.’ Control and modification don’t belong to war: ‘…to introduce into the philosophy of war itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity.’ ‘Two motives lead men to war: instinctive hostility and hostile intention.’ Clausewitz focuses on latter (can’t have former without latter but can have latter without former) Page 6

‘…the tendency to destroy the adversary which lies at the bottom of the conception of war is in no way changed or modified through the progress of civilisation.’ – just because more civilised...
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