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On War (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 1. Juni 1989

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  • Taschenbuch: 752 Seiten
  • Verlag: Princeton Univ Pr; Auflage: Revised. (1. Juni 1989)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0691018545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691018546
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 23,8 x 15,4 x 4,2 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 137.350 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)

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"Undoubtedly one of the most useful books ever written."--The New Republic


On War is the most significant attempt in Western history to understand war, both in its internal dynamics and as an instrument of policy. Since the work's first appearance in 1832, it has been read throughout the world, and has stimulated generations of soldiers, statesmen, and intellectuals.

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Despite its comprehensiveness, systematic approach, and precise style, On War is not a finished work. Lesen Sie die erste Seite
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Buchdeckel | Copyright | Inhaltsverzeichnis | Auszug | Stichwortverzeichnis
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Format: Taschenbuch
A fine book that teaches how to think and reason properly.His attitude of taking nothing for granted,and a few exceptionally applicable chapters make up for it's age,and so called out-dated material
Von Clausewitz is read by officers and investors alike .It is a building block in logic.A fine work that must be slowly digested and enjoyed.
Von Clausewitz was a genious.
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Very extensive information regarding Clausewitz and his famous book On War can be found on the Clausewitz Homepage, at URL:
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Amazon.com: 47 Rezensionen
337 von 345 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Unsurpassed classic of its field. 20. November 2000
Von Rachel Simmons - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
"On War" is essential reading for the professional military and for historians, and is of great value to those with an interest in public policy.
That said, it is not easy to read. There are three primary reasons for this:
First, it is unfinished. The first chapter ("book" as Clausewitz called it) is sharp, well-organized and focused, other chapters are so-so, and still others are almost formless collections of notes.
Second, Clausewitz is thinking philosophically. Most people, including many or most in his target audience, are unaccustomed to thinking this way, and find it difficult to re-orient themselves.
Third, parts of it are firmly locked in a particular time and place. The reader must work to determine what (if any) lessons in those parts are of enduring value and must understand references that, however clear they would have been to his contemporaries, are today obscure.
So, given all of the above, it is fair for the reader to ask why he should bother. The reason is the power of Clausewitz's answers to:
(1) What is the nature of war itself?
(2) What is war's relation to the larger world in which it exists?
(3) How can success in war be achieved?
Clausewitz's answer to question (1) is that war in itself is a duel on a large scale, which unless acted on from the outside, tends towards the maximum possible amount of violence. This discussion of "pure war" has probably been responsible for more mis-interpretations of Clausewitz than anything else he wrote. He is writing philosophically - trying to understand the nature of the thing, and some readers mis-read him as writing prescriptively - that because "pure war" (or "ideal war") tends towards maximum violence, that those conducting war should employ maximum violence.
Clausewitz's answer to question (2) is one of the major reasons why "pure war" doesn't, can't, and shouldn't exist in the real world. First, real war occurs over time - not as a single event but as a series of events. This provides the opportunity for other forces to act upon it. The most important outside force acting upon it is political - war it is only a means - and the end is the political purposes which the war serves. The means cannot and must not trump the end. This is his famous dictum "War is a continuation of policy by other means". The level of effort is conditioned by the end which the war serves as well as all the other ends the state is pursuing which may or may not be compatible with the war.
It is in his answer to (3), how success in war can be achieved, that Clausewitz is at his most period-bound. He draws heavily from examples that would have been as familiar to his contemporaries as the Gulf War is to us, but time has rendered them often obscure. Further, many of his recommendations are completely tied to how war was conducted on land in the early 19th century. Those who say that they got little out of Clausewitz are often referring to this subject area.* There is quite a bit of value here, but it is obtained at effort - the reader must back up to the principals that govern Clausewitz's thinking, and re-apply them to the current technical means. Because of this, there is the irony that Clausewitz would have contributed much more here if he had written much less. Of course, he might have done so if he had finished his manuscript, but on this we can only guess.
It is in the sum of (1), (2) and (3) that the value of Clausewitz is felt. The reader who makes the effort will find that he has acquired a systematic approach for thinking about war, a unified framework that includes the public policy perspective of when, whether, and how to employ it, as well as the military perspective of how to fight it.
* For at least topic (3), ideally the modern reader should have read at least short military histories of the Seven Years War (in Europe - not North America) as well as the Napoleonic Wars, as these two conflicts dominate Clausewitz's references. What you want to know is the names of the major battles, the sides, and the outcomes. Maps are invaluable.
Having a somewhat more in-depth reference handy can also be beneficial, though not necessary. If I had to recommend in-depth references, I would suggest, for the Napoleonic Wars, David Chandler's "The Campaigns of Napoleon" or Esposito and Elting's "A Military History and Atlas of the Napoleonic Wars". Both are readily available and well worth having. For the Seven Years War, I don't know of anything that is good and in-print, although Christopher Duffy's "The Military Life of Frederick the Great" is just what you want if you can find a copy.
106 von 108 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great Book--get the right edition. 31. Dezember 2003
Von Hughfritz Cadwallader - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Clausewitz's ON WAR is certainly the greatest exploration of the subject, but we are often misled by sloppy or hostile summaries--especially those by British military historians, who have evolved a truly sophisticated culture of misrepresenting it. E.g., Clausewitz supposedly preaches "total war." In fact, that phrase appears only twice in the book, once while discussing the "total war area," i.e., the geographic theater of war, and once noting that "total war, the pure element of enmity unleashed," would be "pointless and devoid of sense." Most such misconceptions would be cleared up if writers would bother to read past the abstract first half of the first chapter to see what Clausewitz, an immensely experienced practical soldier, really thought. And forget the absurd distinctions between Jomini's "chivalrous" wars and Clausewitz's alleged war on civilians--the two men experienced and described exactly the same wars.
Likewise, to say that Asian warfare differs in some fundamental way from Western war, or from war in general, is nonsense, as is the idea that Sun Tzu--whose all-knowing general controls events far more than either Clausewitz or historical experience would suggest is possible--somehow represents a "decentralized" approach. Sun Tzu is extremely valuable, but he and Clausewitz are best understood together. Read Michael Handel on that.
There are several English translations of ON WAR, in many editions, and these vary greatly in value. Amazon's listings often confuse the different versions, so be careful. The version edited by biologist/musician Anatol Rapoport is particularly worthless. His lengthy, lunatic, 1968 introduction is actually about Kissinger, not Clausewitz. He used the hoary old 1873 Graham translation and severely abridged Clausewitz's own text, but weirdly retained the anachronistic Social Darwinist insertions of an earlier editor. The best and standard translation is Howard and Paret's, Princeton U. Press, 1976 (rev.1984). Knopf's elegant "Everyman's Library" hardcover (ISBN 0-679-42043-6) is the same translation with some useful added appendices and sidebars--and a better buy as well. Get more background at "The Clausewitz Homepage."
29 von 31 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A Classic Must-Read on War 5. September 2005
Von J. E. Dyer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Clausewitz's aphorisms have been treated and mistreated for a century and a half, but On War remains a timeless classic. It is one of those very few works one can read at different times in life and get more and more out of.

Much of what Clausewitz concludes is intuitively obvious, and this above all things is what makes On War timeless. It is of the greatest importance, however, to read ALL of On War, and not merely Books One, Two, and Eight. Clausewitz wrote in the context of a military and geopolitical environment that still prized fortresses, depended on pitched battle, celebrated mobile artillery as a modern refinement, and lacked the techno-logistic sophistication to support expeditionary warfare on the scale envisioned by Napoleon.

Perhaps most important, the only experience of living Europeans at that time with rule by political terror was the brief "Reign of Terror" in post-Revolution France. Predatory Marxism and fascism of the kind that menaced millions in the 20th century, both politically and militarily, across national borders, was simply not a factor in Clausewitz's vision. War was a phenomenon bounded by time and place; battles were tactical events between like opponents that began and ended; decision could be achieved, with varying degrees of definiteness, by the deployment of military power combined with negotiation -- because all parties agreed as to how decisions were to be reached, and more fundamentally, as to what constituted decision.

Finally, the cost of losing, or failing to win decisively, in Clausewitz's European world was much lower for the average citizen than it became in the era of Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. Clausewitz's Prussia lost decisively to Napoleon during his career, with Prussia's king succumbing to Napoleon's Contintental System until the debacle of 1812, and the conditions of life for the average citizen of Prussia changed hardly at all, when compared with the impact on citizens of losing national sovereignty to Marxist and fascist regimes in the next century.

Clausewitz wrote extensively of warfare waged by guerrillas in mountainous or other difficult terrain, for example, and concluded that such fighting was useful on the defensive, but insufficient for achieving a decisive outcome -- it merely wore an invader out. This analysis was excellent for Spain and Russia after they were invaded by Napoleon, but only indirectly valid for the guerrilla wars of the 20th century, which were often started against the insurgents' own countrymen, provoking the involvement of outside (usually post-colonial) forces in opposition. To the extent that outside patronage supported or even sparked the guerrilla efforts, the element of outside involvement was always present, but in no case was it similar to Napoleon's politically straightfoward, unequivocal invasions of Spain and Russia. The political consequences of this difference were more definitive than the military similarities of guerrilla operations over time.

That Clausewitz's principal conclusions have still, in the main, stood the test of time testifies to how exactly he echoes the intuitive suppositions about war held by most Westerners. Interestingly, he was claimed by both sides in the West's Cold War debate over whether to "engage" the Soviet Union with concessions and negotiation, or with confrontation. A military officer (myself, for example) reading Clausewitz finds him to be an accomplished staff officer, and finds his arguments and conclusions rather obviously consonant with the military disposition to get things done, and achieve decision. Academics reading him, on the other hand, find much material for philosophical speculation, often interpreting his best-known dicta in an opposite manner from their military counterparts.

On War is indispensable, but don't neglect the "boring parts" on military operations as conceived in the Napoleonic era. Anatole Rappaport did a generation of college students a great disservice by editing these parts out of the Penguin paperback edition. Clausewitz wrote for conditions that no longer obtain in the world, and ought to be understood in that sense.

Any general reader who wants to undertake a more comprehensive study of human thinking on war ought also to read Sun Tzu's Art of War, B.H. Liddell-Hart's Strategy, Machiavelli's Art of War, and Hans Delbruck's History of the Art of War Within the Framework of Political History (multi-volume; the Germans and The Modern Era are the key ones to start with, in my view). For a wonderful comparison of "Eastern" vs "Western" thinking on the meaning and place of war in society, I recommend reading the passages on war, defense, and internal security from the Arthashastra, a treatise on effective government by a 2nd century AD Indian strategist (Kautilya), as well as Herodotus' Histories and, of course, Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War.

Bottom line: On War is a must-read classic, but should not be the only volume on war one reads.
13 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
The Bible of Politics, War and Diplomacy 7. März 2006
Von TheBookOfHonor - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
A superb publication. A must read, even at nearly 1,000 densely packed pages. This book is more than just about "war" and fighting; it's also a fair and accurate description about international relations.

This book is an outstanding piece of work. If you're not an avid reader of political and/or military history, and consider yourself just a "casual observer" of current events, reading this book will help you better understand international events, whether political, economic or military.

WARNING: this book is not chick lit, nor is it summer reading for the beach. Don't look for this book to make it on to Oprah's Book Club anytime soon. In sum, this is hard core and no-nonsense stuff for the serious mind.

ON WAR is, literally speaking, a very dense book. Yes, as other reviewers have noted, this is not an easy or fast read. You've got to pay attention or you'll just get lost and confused (you might even have to read it twice). It's definitely worth your time to prep yourself by reading the authors' introduction (and make sure you read the Howard/Paret version).

Many will assert that Clausewitz was a war monger and invoking his name/ideas is somehow synonymous with being power hungry and violent.

This simply is not true. Clausewitz clearly states that he is merely DESCRIBING war and it's many forms (including "total" war). He is NOT advocating total war in any sense; in fact, he clearly states that he is not an advocate of total war (read carefully!).

"Describing" something is not the same as "advocating" it.

The first 1/4 and last 1/4 of the book revolve more around strategy (war and diplomacy as the 2 strands of politics), while the middle 1/2 is devoted primarily to tactical issues. ON WAR, in my humble opinion, is undisputedly a more useful piece of work than Sun Tzu's THE ART OF WAR.

If I had to choose 5 books to recommend whose ideas and concepts are universally applicable (and everlasting) to help understand world relations, they would be (in no particular order):

(1). On War (Clausewitz)

(2). Politics Among Nations (Hans Morgenthau)

(3). The Federalist Papers (Hamilton, Madison, Jay)

(4). The Prince and The Discourses (Machiavelli)

(5). The Twenty Years' Crisis (Carr)

[apologies to the cable TV news anchors and present day journalists -- some of us have known from the start that you didn't make up the phrases "the fog of war" or "friction in war"].
13 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
When it comes to war, Clausewitz wrote the book 9. August 2002
Von Daniel Jolley - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Clausewitz treats war as a natural, social organism, which can best be understood by practical experience. In reaction to the attempts by Jomini and other strategists to rationalize the theory and practice of war into discernible, scientific laws, Clausewitz emphasizes the capriciousness of warfare. As in all human endeavors, chance is a random variable in the conduct of war. Implicit in Clausewitzian thought is a distinction between strategy and tactics. While certain principles are useful for tactical calculations, Clausewitz asserts that no "laws" for strategy exist; experience, though, can prove of great use to the military commander. Another Clausewitzian innovation is the idea that defense is a stronger form of war than offense. In defensive warfare, a greater degree of the state's internal resources (including her citizen-soldiers) are brought to bear on the military effort. Clearly, Clausewitz warns that offensive advantage, once it has lost its initial momentum or has seen its concentration of force weakened or divided, can quickly be transmuted into a defensive orientation. Thus, a good defense is necessary for good offense (even if only during momentary pauses).
The main contribution of Clausewitz is represented by his maxim that "war is merely the continuation of policy by other means." In other words, war is basically an extension of politics. The initial motive for warfare is encapsulated by a political objective; war is a means to a political end. Clausewitz argues that policy permeates and essentially determines the character and extent of all military operations; the authority of the military commander is circumscribed by the political aims of the state. Thus, Clausewitz essentially maintains that the public sector (the state) must exercise authority over military operations. Although he has no use for military formulae, Clausewitz does offer one postulate: when the costs of the military effort exceed (in relative terms) the positive good of the political objective, then the state should seek a peaceful settlement. The good of the state depends on knowing when to stop fighting as well as when to start.
The most important message conveyed by Clausewitz is that war is not an isolated phenomenon. Any considerations for waging war (offensive or defensive) must be based on the political situation at home, in the adversarial state, and in the world community of potential allies and enemies. Military strength in and of itself is not an adequate gauge for success. A defensive war can be a victorious effort, should the assailant overextend himself. Beyond this, the desire to maintain the balance of power is a strong stimulus for foreign involvement. All in all, Clausewitz portrays war as a human endeavor, involving chance (or "friction") as well as skill. War is not a game involving the maneuverability of human instruments; victory can only be secured on the battlefield. On War is a realistic, pragmatic approach to warfare in all its facets--skill and luck, offense and defense, battle and statecraft, etc. The subservience of the armed forces to political control remains a strong source of friction in today's states--this is only one aspect of the timelessness of Clausewitz's work.
Certainly, On War is a long, difficult read. For those, both citizens and soldiers, who wish to truly understand warfare, however, it is required reading which will ultimately richly reward the diligent reader with much insight and knowledge.
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