On War

On War

Introduction by: Anatol Rapoport
Translator: J. J. Graham

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780140444278
  • 464 Pages
  • Penguin Classics
  • Adult


Carl von Clausewitz was not only an officer who served with great distinction during the Napoleonic campaigns but was also a military historian and intellectual of the highest order—at ease with both the strategic doctrines of his time and the larger movements of thought in the world around him.  Out of these elements he distilled his classic discussion of the nature and meaning of one of humankind’s central endeavors, war—which he famously declared to be “the continuation of politics by different means.”
Though unfinished at his death, On War contains all his important ideas about absolute versus limited war, the intrinsic violence of war, and its necessary subjugation to political ends.  It would be impossible to overestimate the influence of this book on subsequent strategic thinking, on the political considerations that underlie such thinking, and on the general understanding of human conflict.

(Book Jacket Status: Jacketed)

Table of Contents

On WarPreface to the Pelican Edition
Introduction by Anatol Rapoport

On War

Introduction by Col. F. N. Maude
Introduction of the Author
Brief Memoir of General Clausewitz by the Translator

Book One: On The Nature Of War

I. What is War?
II. End and Means in War
III. The Genius for War
IV. Of Danger in War
V. Of Bodily Exertion in War
VI. Information in War
VII. Friction in War
VIII. Concluding Remarks

Book Two: On The Theory Of War

I. Branches of the Art of War
II. On the Theory of War
III. Art or Science of War
IV. Methodicism
V. Criticism
VI. On Examples

Book Three: Of Strategy In General

I. Strategy
II. Elements of Strategy
III. Moral Forces
IV. The Chief Moral Powers
V. Military Virtue of an Army
VI. Boldness
VII. Perseverance
VIII. Superiority of Numbers
IX. The Surprise
X. Stratagem
XI. Assembly of Forces in Space
XII. Assembly of Forces in Time
XIII. Strategic Reserve
XIV. Economy of Forces
XV. Geometrical Element
XVI. On the Suspension of the Act in War
XVII. On the Character of Modern War
XVIII. Tension and Rest

Book Four: The Combat

I. Introductory
II. Character of the Modern Battle
III. The Combat in General
IV. The Combat in General (continuation)
V. On the Signification of the Combat
VI. Duration of the Combat
VII. Decision of the Combat
VIII. Mutual Understanding as to a Battle
IX. The Battle
X. Effects of Victory
XI. The Use of the Battle
XII. Strategic Means of Utilizing Victory
XIII. Retreat After a Lost Battle

Sketches For Book Eight: Plan Of War

I. Introduction
II. Absolute and Real War
III. (A) Interdependence of the Parts in War
(B) Of the Magnitude of the Object of the War, and the Efforts to be Made
IV. Ends in War More Precisely Defined—Overthrow of the Enemy
V. Ends in War More Precisely Defined (continued)—Limited Object
VI. (A) Influence of the Political Object on the Military Object
(B) War as an Instrument of Policy

Concluding Remarks by Anatol Rapoport