Tag Archives: Carl von Clausewitz

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Hitler & Clausewitz:
The Philosopher as War Cry, Part Four

An East German soldier guards Clausewitz’s grave in the 1980s.

1,982 words

Part 4 of 4 (Part One here; Part Two here; Part Three here)

Conclusion: Freedom or Death

After his death, Clausewitz had a public destiny rare for generals, let alone theorists. He was not only enthusiastically celebrated in the Third Reich, a regime firmly dedicated to many of the Prussian virtues, but, for better and for worse, his words proved to be of foundational importance for Hitler and his own life’s work. Read more …

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Hitler & Clausewitz:
The Philosopher as War Cry, Part Three

Allegedly the last photo ever taken of Hitler, in the ruins of the Reich Chancellery, April 1945.

3,368 words

Part 3 of 4 (Part One here; Part Two here)

Hitler & the Bekenntnis: A Mantra of Resistance & Renewal

Perhaps more significant still than Hitler’s use of the Formule, is his citing of Clausewitz to assert the ethical validity of resistance at any price, even doomed resistance. Read more …

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Hitler & Clausewitz:
The Philosopher as War Cry, Part Two

3,960 words

Part 2 of 4 (Part One here)

Clausewitz in the Third Reich I: A National Hero

Clausewitz’s presence in this period of German history cannot be reduced to Hitler. As a Prussian patriot and the preeminent theorist of modern war, Clausewitz was unsurprisingly enthusiastically celebrated in the Third Reich. Read more …

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Hitler & Clausewitz:
The Philosopher as War Cry, Part One

Young Clausewitz.

4,080 words

Part 1 of 4

All intellectuals dream that their ideas will not be confined to the dead letters of books accumulating dust on library shelves, but should possess the world. An underexplored but highly fertile field in this respect is the influence of the great Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz upon the German dictator and warlord Adolf Hitler. This is an extremely controversial issue. Clausewitz is the preeminent military theorist, rivaled in fame only by the ancient Chinese sage Sun Tzu. Read more …

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On the Rise & Decline of War in the Modern Era

908 words

The modern era is characterized by the steady, at times exponential, growth in the material power of human societies in mastering their world. This has paradoxical consequences in the field of war. The most obvious is an exponential increase in warring states’ means of destruction: Read more …

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The Political Soldier:
Carl Schmitt’s Theory of the Partisan

4,097 words

So powerful is the civilizing genius of European man that, for a brief time, we even managed to tame war itself. But not all wars could be civilized, only those between civilized European states. The rules of war did not apply to wars against non-state actors, such as colonial wars against savages, civil wars and revolutions in which the state is up for grabs, and irregular warfare against partisans or guerrillas, Read more …

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The Unforeseen, the Chinese, & the Favorable Moment

The Trojan Horse: Detail of the neck relief on an early 7th century BCE earthenware amphora from Mykonos

743 words

Translated by Greg Johnson

Current events sometimes offer striking examples of the unforeseen. Last spring, we were all shocked by images of one of the great and powerful looking despondent, his wrists shackled, having suddenly fallen from his perch of impunity. By means of the media, spectators felt that they were following much more than a single news event. Read more …

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