Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss On War, a treatise on the theory and practice of warfare written by the Prussian soldier and intellectual Carl von Clausewitz. First published in 1832, Clausewitz's magnum opus is commonly regarded as the most important book about military theory ever written. Informed by its author's experience of fighting against the mighty armies of Napoleon, the work looks not just at the practicalities of warfare, but offers a subtle philosophical analysis of the nature of war and its relationship with politics. Notions such as the Clausewitzian Trinity have had an enormous effect on later military leaders. But its influence is felt today not just on the battlefield but also in politics and business.With:Saul DavidProfessor of War Studies at the University of BuckinghamHew StrachanChichele Professor of the History of War at the University of OxfordBeatrice HeuserProfessor of International Relations at the University of Reading.Producer: Thomas Morris.
United States


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00:00:17I hope you enjoy the program hello the nineteenth century Prussian general called one plus it's never commanded an army a job which is superior saw him unsuitable but all those achievements on the battlefield with slight clothes which remains one of the most celebrated figures in military history his
00:00:33fame rests on a book published in eighteen thirty two the %HESITATION after his death titled on war it's a comprehensive treatise on the philosophy and practice of war for the first edition of the book made made about any impression with a few generations class which was recognized as
00:00:49one of history's most important military strategists the book is filled with quotations from minute today in particular his notion of war is a continuation of politics by other means plus features series of mean widely taught in miniature customers for over a century live influence wars fought all over
00:01:05the globe although today some question his relevance in an age when terrorism has changed the nature of war for with me to discuss classmates and own more are sold David professor of war studies at the university of Buckingham Q. strong Churchill a professor of the history of war
00:01:21at the university of auction and Mitch's Heiser professor of international relations at the university of reading could you tell us a bit sold I miss about close which is on in life yes he was born in seventeen eighty in Bergen pressure and the amount that the %HESITATION the
00:01:37son of a solid middle class family and one that is being developed the lease for in for a number of generations his great grandfather and his great great grandfather were both loose from pastors and his grandfather was professor of theology his father begin began to change things his
00:01:53father actually for a time was a junior officer in the Prussian army during the seven years war and it was because of this military connection but that's a class of its himself grew up in a very minute tree on his feet he said later that he was born
00:02:06into the camp of the Prussian army and I think what he meant by that is the influence that a lot of his father's ex comrades who were courted in back had on him as a young boy he would hit the conversations around the dinner table now what's significant
00:02:19about the Prussian army at this point is that it had the highest reputation of a military force in Europe a reputation made during the seven years war when Frederick the great of course he was not any king but also commander in chief and one some of the finest
00:02:33victories in history against it not just one Papa three they forced off the armies of Franz will set Austria and Russia and it was an army of course that young Clausewitz was very %HESITATION only supposed to have been part of use of it on this because of it
00:02:49on them because of his aristocratic component that's exactly right his father actually was %HESITATION D. morbid off to the seven years war because he was not ours to cross check roughly nine tenths of the officer corps of the Prussian army at the time of Freddie gray's death in
00:03:04seventeen eighty six work hours to cross it was quite unusual for middle class boy to gain acceptance but of course he had this connection from his father his father step brother was also the X. commanding officer of the thirty fourth infantry regiment that he joined and it was
00:03:19because of these %HESITATION %HESITATION family connections that he was able to gain access did he he was a cadet at the age of twelve and went into the army thirteen was near some action then that's that's young it's astonishing isn't it do you think about it I mean
00:03:34this is almost Nell saving in terms of how you can join the twelve and he joins at twelve and %HESITATION it wasn't that unusual actually and %HESITATION and but what is unusual is that he so combustor at twelve %HESITATION during the early stage of the war between Prussia
00:03:48%HESITATION Austria and and of course revolution the fronts and it was this early experience of war of course that the touches him quite greatly because I think it told him two things one to be match the war of course guys against Prussia by seventeen ninety five pressure is
00:04:01knocked out of the worn it loses its possessions %HESITATION west of the Rhine and I think it tool clouds of it's that you want it to be naturally suspicious of coalition forces but also an awareness that something was changing in war and that the French army this nation
00:04:15in homes with beginning to change the game of one if pressure was going to compete at a had to had to find a way of of infusing its armed forces with the some of the spirit there's also a massive sense of humiliation that described %HESITATION Socratic machine to
00:04:29which his father gains access on your side another innovation and he went in to add being crushed by popular false exactly right %HESITATION from seventeen ninety five to roughly eighteen hundred eighteen oh one when he when he %HESITATION and as the war school in Berlin this is a
00:04:45period of reflection for him is a period of sort of partly working out what what rental what went wrong for the presence but also a period of self education is the time when he is very much to fuse with the works of the German and like them and
00:04:58he reads people like Sheila got her on hold the line and he begins to take on board some of the intellectual prowess that will stand him in such good stead for the formulation of on Wall his phone can move onto Agyness six and pressure went to war with
00:05:13an opponent's friends and %HESITATION class features that could explain the significance of this experience income we develop that yes it is yea there is a turning point in because this is like the campaign via Nickelodeon %HESITATION initiative five the pressure being on the Prussians to rejoin the coalition
00:05:32maybe not for the war out of the bed on it wills reference revolution will since seventeen ninety five %HESITATION so ten years of peace and accumulating sense of frustration the pressure was not taking calls in the wars against France and against opponents frustration on whose part on the
00:05:49pulse of particular young Prussian offices who felt they wanted to be up and I want to be up in Assam felt that %HESITATION classes fronts later about the balance of power in normal this is jewel Patrick passage there and the idea of a dominant fronts on the continent
00:06:03is not something he sees natural %HESITATION and of course also know when is that eventually this will make catch up with pressure the pressure calmed just separate itself from the events that the wider vans that are going on within Europe so in eighteen if I there is an
00:06:17attempt to form a grand coalition against posted %HESITATION which was willing to Britain from the labels I mentioned but in terms of Lanval fat centers on Austria Russia and Prussia %HESITATION %HESITATION should have done the pressure didn't join in %HESITATION and the nation of five %HESITATION into %HESITATION
00:06:36a magnificent campaign in the views of the French of course %HESITATION resulting in in %HESITATION essentially a major defeat of the Austrian Russian forces it at our service in December eighth zero five the process suddenly finds itself on the back foot because it is now I selected the
00:06:54other two positive being defeated %HESITATION there it is in central Eastern Europe on its own %HESITATION and the following independent us what's %HESITATION the Prussians had feared which is turned against Prussia I'm what happens in the campaign across its rights to his his %HESITATION his to his wife
00:07:13future wife Marvel rule %HESITATION to express his excitement to going to war again ten years has gone by some low flow to preparation for this and he's off on campaign and he does little generals to which is which is expressed confidence in the outcome I mean he is
00:07:27%HESITATION it's Arial soldiers to unity and you have to believe you're gonna win many battle despite dependence reputation will because they didn't win %HESITATION they are apps you smash in the in in the jewel battles of yeah no and I wish that %HESITATION and %HESITATION what phone is
00:07:42destroys not just the army but essentially the Prussian state as it to be bequeathed by Frederick the great %HESITATION the pursuit is relentless and that was just an opponent of the Prussian full absolutely and and and and and the the the the classes himself becomes a prisoner of
00:07:59war %HESITATION and %HESITATION is not released until the peace at the end of the following year say spends time in France and I haven't done that I noticed things a prison walked original units who when they put him was in a prisoner was in the letter that he
00:08:14says he can't get house or a treated as for sketches he he lives it not too bad a life for old if the moaning at the mines like hell I mean he he really dislike the French I mean he he he he even says that you know that
00:08:26calm cook %HESITATION it what that what's what's %HESITATION should be %HESITATION should be sweet is sorry what is %HESITATION what what should be sars sweet or savory aspects to say so if one of the beauties of his relationship with his wife is we know all this was his
00:08:40writing home to express his disgruntlement them rather than usually he had spent time at becoming ought to die Dr meant wanted to one particular one shooter in figuring in the ministry I kind of me who took him %HESITATION so I was a brilliant young man you got you
00:08:54got top honors and to continue studies what is on the sophisticated house arrest in France yes I think it is this is this we need on some accounts this is a man who is constantly engaged in intellectual activity across a very broad range of subjects wants %HESITATION your
00:09:12fences in central figure is a Sean holes who is really an impact in crude incredibly important figure between ages six and eighteen twelve in this for the Prussian army but the man who had sent to concerts that the study of war is not just a theoretical exercise is
00:09:26not something you can just do by engaging with the works of of the enlightened which is what he'd done off to seventeen ninety five you do have to engage with experience and and if you haven't got the experience then you go to remove the tree history that's the
00:09:38nursing you can do to put the ideas against the reality and and and to think about the relationship between the two but the the spread of Israel is reading I mean going from Isaac Newton to count %HESITATION he's he's really taking it on isn't it absolutely and and
00:09:56and when we we know what he was born from my relation his life and and unix Watson engineering mathematics %HESITATION mole %HESITATION this is but this is a true product of the enlightenment in that sense here is somebody who who sees human knowledge as interrelated and as %HESITATION
00:10:15and and as well the %HESITATION of exploration rather than being thought of in terms of small disciplines distance shooters of interest on you make the point that the fact that he had not had a classical education unlike most of his other Socratic P. is it not a that
00:10:30was an advantage he hadn't read sister hadn't read two cities you hundred Julius Caesar he didn't have gluttony didn't have great and you because he started other thing so intently you thought that proved to be an advantage I think so because he actually took on board all things
00:10:44the hugest mention such as mathematics and physics and new experiments he probably watches on lifetime and constructed from the something quite fresh quite new and I think that actually made his works are regional in many respects because many people before him had been in a way straight jacketed
00:11:00by the fact that they were trying to follow an old model and that all right the old models before them and they told right this is the duties etcetera and food %HESITATION I must integrate that because the good scholars in the but the good footnotes in and close
00:11:12with no may made a fresh a departure from that he comes at the end of a long period with people gradually become convinced that they don't really need to read the ancients but that modern experience is much more important and much more fresh and relevant to them and
00:11:24close of its express is not very strongly he says actually I'm the more recent the walls all the more important they offer us and he himself only studied wars from reading the thirty years war on words and and mainly the campaigns of Frederick and then the funds that
00:11:38he actually witness in his own lifetime then an extraordinary thing happened on the part of this very fierce proud Prussian when the promotions %HESITATION joined up with Napoleon too much on Russia he so hated the idea of being on the side of the pond in that he quit
00:11:54the Prussian army and went in for for the Russians with a few other offices I was quite soon Roche dreadful document which even the **** win ordered the phone off because it had wonderful quotable passages about Russian national further in German national for the obsidian is actually this
00:12:10document for the two which one should turn to look at some of his more political ideas which is talk about the action that he is a young man did his ambition lounging on better when the Prussian army that they would call him uncle only going to Oregon he
00:12:22says no I don't have to be on the side of ranch I'm to smash the French I'm gonna join your Prussian retreat animus to big think through what was it a big thing it was a big thing to do but they well the people who were around him
00:12:33who was thinking the same way and they %HESITATION quite number of oppression exiles who went with him to join the Russian camp and in in in spirit of the people that he was most fond of Sean hosting guys now with pushing in the same direction so in fact
00:12:47this boom amazing document that we have from eighteen twelve is a letter that he wrote to Clinton took Gneisenau to explain his own reasoning for this particular move would they helpful these questions to the Russians ended the Russians just said this is a bit of a propaganda coup
00:13:00or did they do anything that mattered I think we'll sneak it because we're all the doubt that they did very much and we know from the %HESITATION close with his own account of labor that the Russian campaign on the podiums Russian campaign that he was really on the
00:13:12margins of many of these movements I he becomes quite all the questions I to become quite important only in in January at eighteen thirteen when they gradually move towards making an alliance with pressure when pressure breaks out of the the aligns with opponent and actually turns the tables
00:13:27on fronts and joins up with Russia that stage that the Prussians in the entourage of that saw actually become important but before that we know that they didn't speak any Russian we know that they will fall from they they end up because it's a little story when he
00:13:41was arrested when you're supposed to work as a chorus one stage because he couldn't speak Russian and despite the fact that a whole portfolio with him to say who he walls nobody believed him they thought he was a spy on the other hand he was on the side
00:13:51the smash the French and that pleased him now and absolutely yes and he was this is the thing that he really enjoyed it and wanted to get out of that experience for his subsequent there is if you're coming to my system this is actually very important issue to
00:14:02oversee to two hundred years ago at a Russian campaign component is really a and an enormously important market for him not just the the the user experience of the hot but this was the other big experience he concludes from this this interesting point that the defensive is the
00:14:17stronger of the two evolved into the offensive he does conclude he does concede that the Russians were in a very particular situation in his book six of on war waited discusses this amazing phenomenon of the people's war people that mobilizes entirely against an occupation force and how this
00:14:34could be done he concedes that some countries would have inflicted voltage of of this if they actually have them the space that Russia has and that this might actually unique to Russia I never the less this whole experience in which he sold the Napoleonic army dwindle from three
00:14:47hundred thousand to two hundred thousand to one hundred thousand to about twenty thousand within the period of six a six month campaign mocked him enormously and his own account of the Russian campaign is very full of that and you realize how shocked he is by this enormous loss
00:15:03of human life so there are two things at him because he had mind the levy on mass than a pony and picked a massing of a great national national third of international %HESITATION me and yet he saw in Russia the power of defense so he was the present
00:15:16as it were one facing the other these two great ideas yes but I mean the and then the pony only an army of move quickly long beyond the levy on us because this was actually very very professional on me that he'd mustard at the experience of that is
00:15:31however that he doesn't simply believe us and many of his success at this stage in the awful see phone calls and this idea that the offensive is always right because he actually identifies the pony in short coming in the great thing that he usually found so successful namely
00:15:45the speed with which she moved on because the speed with which Napoleon moved across this enormous distance in Russia was actually one of the main reasons closets identifies why he lost so many people because he couldn't keep up with the the stratus couldn't keep up the wounded were
00:15:59left behind the people who fall ill during the the March but left behind and he identifies out as one of the main %HESITATION the main reason for the big losses Napoleon had known reload Napoleon only in my name mobile as as a general connect the soul David here
00:16:13an innate they never really forgave him and pressure they took him back they gave him important jobs but not not significant jumped into but he became director of the war school in Berlin in eighteen eighteen and went some began to work on on more than what you have
00:16:28done for the next seventeen years of his life Julie died when he was fifty one did you have a purpose would have begun writing when these notes towards will go nuts it's hard to tell when he exactly decided to compile his work into something that would be published
00:16:43in the death of a wider audience %HESITATION it's hard to tell exactly what he wrote I'm when he read it and when he revised it this is a great sort of dispute among the scholars today but I think in very general terms you could say that the %HESITATION
00:16:56the book or the book that we now know as some on Wall had two purposes it was to be read by military analysts in general and that is both theorists of war in other words people who would ride on Wall but we'll save practitioners of cool %HESITATION he
00:17:10would hope that by reading on war they would become more proficient and that the writing of on war would become more effective it would it would search for deeper truths about the nature of war in about that and about how you actually went about fighting it and I
00:17:26think it's probably not too far to say that he would have hoped that some senior commanders would have used on war as a means of improving the best way of putting it is that judgment of war because certainly wasn't a blueprint for how to fight on duty consult
00:17:42people do do we know the sources I mean we we we know this furious education again himself we know that he was gonna by people in the German high command %HESITATION and well thought of in his call so what did you draw on when he had been heavily
00:17:56influences use already pointed out by shown holes but I I think the vast majority of the of the rest of the material it goes into the thinking that goes into envoys from to two things one from his reading his self education and two from his own personal experience
00:18:11and and certainly a big chunk of on war books three to six a pretty much concentrated on the podium at war fat how you go about fighting %HESITATION everything from tactics to strategy as he called it a lot I think probably as he's pointed out quite rightly in
00:18:26in in strict terms it's more to do with the operational aspect of war which is really how battles linked together in a campaign Ralph and how the politics into links with with the fighting a war Q. strolled he should he goes the harvest a stop it begins with
00:18:41the definition of wolf %HESITATION and very would you tell me what's going on in terms of the but well what they have new definition absolutely is wars a clash of wills and and I think the essence of what he thinks about war is that it is a reciprocal
00:18:56relationship the war has its own existence %HESITATION which comes from %HESITATION the competition between two sites %HESITATION so it just seems a dynamic of its own I'm I think very often today we we become obsessed with this notion the wars the consideration of policy by the means which
00:19:16is you know whenever a closet scene is used as an adjective in the press that will be the context in which it is applied but that of course is very unilateral view you know I intend to do something that for all use a water duties that isn't wool
00:19:28%HESITATION that is an intention a policy intention ready it's a remark about policy rolled over a remark about war itself and he's very explicit in some of these he says about war is an act of violence %HESITATION and that the violence even if even a thorough polls is
00:19:45in bold moments when two sides on clashing the threat that there will be violence the threat the people will be killed is what lies at its heart of what makes an effective because he was looking back %HESITATION either he what he tries to do his thing multimedia of
00:19:59his own experience but that but what is different about the wall that he experience from the wall his father experience to the on the fringe of the great and one of the reasons he writes this book six or more on defenses precisely because he sees Frederick the great
00:20:14schools also as defensive walls in it and and is a great deal of reference to the those campaigns as as well as the war of eighteen twelve what he is and what he is discussing so what he's concerned to do that is to think about %HESITATION change over
00:20:29time and what has happened to ward eight eight eight eight eight eight in in in fact in a relatively circumscribed period between seventeen forty two forty three and his own lifetime and whether %HESITATION what is consistent on the consistent thing is this element of reciprocity this role of
00:20:48violence %HESITATION which gives it which gives this is in a meeting but there's almost as an M. almost and what we would think of as anymore previous own people read about or in the much heralded essentially before they're saying let's have war as a way of getting back
00:21:02to peace and co existence but this one could has remained an active voice so it says war is an act of violence intended to force our opponents to fulfill our will resume a crushing people isn't in not allowing them a chance to come back in any way well
00:21:20this goes to the heart treaty of of of one of the debates in normal which which constitutes a dress stayed in %HESITATION in one of two practices all of that said he bought his note as his most important preface written in eighteen twenty seven where he says wars
00:21:36centuries of two combines and that can be a wars which amount more motor go for more limited objectives so war house finals at his as his heart but what then happens %HESITATION in practice may not be as violent as that expression suggests that I think one of things
00:21:51we constantly come up against with on war is that it's a book that is correcting itself revising its own judgments throughout there is a constant debate going on with this book you will always find a quotation concerts to prove almost whenever you want %HESITATION because this is a
00:22:08map of the mind is to fund tile funny flip inside tend to say if classes a saliva clauses for in the studio with is not he still be writing this book up because this is a this is at at what you you also the sole letter about publication
00:22:21if there's a way in which this but was never going to be ready for publication he bills sort of all for that would drive his publisher absolutely crazy said does how his early does help but because he without his widow it's hard to see how this but would
00:22:33have seen the light of day I'm bridges Alicia in we onions you strong as mention the the fries %HESITATION wars a continuation of politics by the means and defy despite the fact if issues as we shot selecting some and what does it mean to you that is a
00:22:47protection precisely correct festival can I tied up with three other points because there's actually an absent item here because there are number of ideas the calls with the strong one from his mate somebody cold outpost looted from the huge them using the same promotion and he wrote a
00:23:02book a little pamphlet called on Wall during the Napoleonic Wars closets creek the title Clausewitz crypt the idea from that the tool is a continuation of politics because routed actually already formulated in a subsequent book which was a handbook for soldiers which everybody was using kidding Clausewitz that
00:23:19no war has a is up is without a political purpose was always something with a political purpose and resilience then actually declined war in a sense we started with the wrestling game between two parties and then the confrontation between two units in the confrontation between two armies etcetera
00:23:36and all this is actually something but Clausewitz was must been intimately familiar with and we find that in his own will when he is the short cut about what is this contraption that used to win was pointing towards this wrestling game these two sites it's as though he
00:23:50was summarizing the first four pages of river leading shells handbook when he's with is this is this case of dreadful plagiarism all useful selectivity useful for the committee I thinking of the best would be nice if it had a footnote the somewhat because at least the very time
00:24:06for I am but three crucial thing is that there is a huge difference but in one respect between and privilege down and tells which is precisely over this issue of what war is the continuation off because the strange thing the strangest of all things is the close of
00:24:19the so famous for line which he himself fails to explore in on war he says was the instrument of politics but then he doesn't like to go through all the different political permutations you might have and how those might affect war except in this one point we only
00:24:36slips into Hegelian do listen when he suddenly says %HESITATION it could be of two sorts name limited unlimited which of course rubbish and he realizes that because then realistically sliding scale it could be anything from very limited to very extreme %HESITATION but the interesting thing is that he
00:24:50doesn't actually unlike other people of his own generation like Germany explore how a particular political purpose might impact on war he doesn't do that in great detail isn't a little bit and and okay twenty says yeah if all we want to do is get little homeless in order
00:25:04to a trade for peace negotiations will fight differently from the way we will if our entire existence at stake nevertheless is that enough to engage people's interest for a very long time it doesn't cost it doesn't soul David M. he talks about military leaders know very important to
00:25:20him on Napoleon whom he loves intensely is his tutoring geniuses and %HESITATION what are the most important factors in a man of genius who is up optimum phones on the battlefield I think what's interesting about some his %HESITATION ideal for a man of genius is actually it's almost
00:25:43an innate C. series of of talents rather than something you can learn and this sort of in some ways blows the theory out of the water you know you've got to be born a great general overseer helps if you if you join the army but there were certain
00:25:56things that he actually can point to cover all of them become a professor for example but there were some things he pinpointed %HESITATION send all this things I I I suppose equanimity of character of of kind of character calmness under pressure %HESITATION the a strong constitution so you
00:26:12could you could survive the rigors of campaign and then of course the more curious %HESITATION and nights %HESITATION elements that really go to the heart of genius and and and and for this use the French time could die that the ability to see through the fog of war
00:26:27be able to see beyond %HESITATION the uncertainty and the confusion and to be able to met process information very rapidly it was interesting that certainly %HESITATION quite a high intellectual capacity was necessary in his genius for war and he makes the rather %HESITATION on PC point I suppose
00:26:44that in a primitive people could ever produce a great channel because they simply don't have that learning in the intellectual capacity but that coup die certainly was something he sore in the podium that ousted its famously what he waits waits waste the launches attack on the press and
00:26:57heights where his own %HESITATION wing of his own armies almost being destroyed he has to go at just the right time that is what he would have attended fight as as as to die and then one other thing %HESITATION which %HESITATION which actually goes to one of the
00:27:11comfort famous going to Wellington which is the ability to see on the other side of the hill in other words have an understanding of geography to be able to have these map of the terrain in which your your operating at all times and yet in the end it
00:27:24came it came down to someone who was on the board with those tonsils Hughes strong one of his concept is an ideological the Trinity of wolf %HESITATION can you explain the yes he he he he sees war as and I think that that the centrepoint trick Trinity offer
00:27:41let's eat souls already said here is here is somebody has been from pastas and his background so I think he's very self knowing when he uses a word like Trinity with his Christian connotations and if there is a three in one he doesn't specify what the one is
00:27:56but I but I think implicitly it must be war because this is what the book is about to it's not about anything else that has been a tendency sometimes because of our innovation of the idea of the relationship you more policy that it has to be policy that
00:28:09actually nights will this but actually in his understanding of Trinity at the Trinity what he says the three elements all %HESITATION is first tool passion %HESITATION %HESITATION and and emotion really roar emotion %HESITATION secondly %HESITATION what he calls the play of probability in charms the role of the
00:28:28application if like of of all of %HESITATION living with these elements in doing it sent the function of the army commander at and thirdly logic %HESITATION reason %HESITATION and he identifies each of these characteristics in a sort of second order Trinity %HESITATION with particular attributes the state with
00:28:47the people in the case of passion %HESITATION with with the army in the case of the player publishing charts %HESITATION and with the government in the relation it in relation to rescind the point essentially here is that there is no presupposition in the writing of that passage that
00:29:05the government will come on to all the policy will come out as the dominant elements these are three elements which he likens the magnets which are constantly interacting with each other and of course policy in logic could be entirely suppressed by by passion majors was it what is
00:29:23this in any way a manual the the whole book yeah what is on the bookshelf it's a it's a hybrid you know it's a hybrid and uses a mind it I I think it shouldn't be because the manual parts of it are completely obsolete those are the ones
00:29:36in the middle that a soul mentioned that already because of the changing technology sector with mac just come come back to the Trinity for a moment yeah just for a moment it's actually makes I think it's most important contribution the calls with his mate on understanding will in
00:29:51some respects because I think Clausewitz's discovered a something that most political scientists today are still struggling with namely that very important phenomena on Oakland causal he has discovered that there are no main one %HESITATION because not only because this is supposed to be studied Oilers and and that's
00:30:08what I guess I I think that at the basically the he's discovered a number of different variables the Trinity being the most important three when he realizes that these variables are actually on top of everything else inter related which means one can make another stronger and the impact
00:30:21on that on the thing itself walk and then have another room and another development and I think that is so amazing because it shows that you constantly taken phenomenon like war and safe %HESITATION if only you have the greater numbers that everything will flow from that if every
00:30:34only on the top of the hill that everything will flow from that with only you use massive firepower everything will flow from that and I think that's is amazing contribution to which you then also adds a number of other variables like culture like M. particular %HESITATION aims but
00:30:47he claims and will fight to turn around and moral indeed energies the fierceness of a nation United as being an extraordinary in itself but this this in a way it could be seen as part of the Trinity when he told me was that second passion but I think
00:31:02that whole approach is the one that is most lasting because many individual bits can change you can say that all today we don't necessarily have a conscript forced any longer or standing on me or whatever and therefore what we're talking about and we talk about small wars may
00:31:15not be %HESITATION can may not contain this particular structure of the society that he talks about the Trinity nevertheless this idea that you have these different variables which interact very curious ways the doctrine of the driving forces for war and that's how it how you have to understand
00:31:28the outcome is XTC pub soon the book was published a year after body after death in nineteen thirty two largely because of his wife with much in in intemperate berry quickly a he had to call to for seven years because she wasn't ours account and the family didn't
00:31:43approve of him because he was not an ISACA and they needed a venture money when he became chief general stuff awesome got some military title and the phone got slipped and after that but he did better is socially after that and got accepted at court and so on
00:31:58so she a neighbor seems to be an extraordinary marriage an extra source of when he died she put she added the book and put it together so can you %HESITATION tell us %HESITATION some just a little bit about how she did that she %HESITATION she well of course
00:32:15a part of the problem with him no actually putting the book together is on like the three of us when we when we go through the %HESITATION the the publishing process it's heavily edited it comes back to us we had is it more we refine it ourselves and
00:32:27because he wasn't around to do that so it was left to her and to her brother his brother in law and the original additions that come out between eighteen thirty to nineteen thirty four are the final word as it was is it is left with the with the
00:32:42editors in this this is a problem in the in the understanding or at least interpretation of all on war ever since that it it changes as every new added so what's on of course the problem we've got in the English language not not a problem for **** of
00:32:54course is that we have to rely on translations if we don't speak German and the translation itself is going to change things slightly but by things what's significant about these early issues of the book is that they weren't widely read they were %HESITATION I think it is lays
00:33:08the eighteen forties the original fifteen hundred copy still hadn't sold out so you you get a sense of a book actually took time to gain some current that look like this doesn't have to sell a lot to have an influence does it didn't but it wasn't widely known
00:33:21outside pressure I think you could say until the Franco Prussian war and of course at the recent changes in the Franco Prussian was because the incredible success of the %HESITATION persons against infected first the Austrians in eighteen sixty six and then of course the French in eighteen seventy
00:33:36eight and seventy one leading to the unification of Germany makes people turn around and think hold on a second what is it about this Prussian army what what is let words lane behind what sort of blue prints are they using and it didn't help that of course the
00:33:48the the famous chief of general staff of of pressure that time von Moltke actually cites a close with his one of his you know his his main inspirations so can we talk about his ideas how they percolated through it took quite awhile to take office so maybe just
00:34:05tell us which is for the term can you take it up to one month ago what's happening then with his ideas and what's happening to the arm is that they need to be changed I mean it's great comeback for the person is that the best of seven to
00:34:16this is very simple that best they get smashed a they are all over the place and then when it takes awhile but they come back again in full force and they're bringing your question again that whether this was a manual and obviously people were looking for a recipe
00:34:31for success and they were trying to find that the simple distiller bill lesson in Clausewitz's book which as we said was a hybrid was actually mainly about his main purpose of been to make people a soul was saying I'm a better judge of what warfare was about a
00:34:45better theoretical F. may reflect toll in order then to be able to do something themselves with these ideas but then there would be exceptions in it which were about practical things which is white with a hybrid and why in parts of it was actually handbook and people homed
00:34:59in on that because they felt that those with the bay area's particular women a tree whether Onesimus easing understood and those sections those books of own warm the middle books of on war actually mainly about the political fat so very crucially people for all here is the recipe
00:35:14for success in the recipe for success was with all the customers the recipe for success walls this big annihilation bottle it was time to gain what he X. expressed several times as the purpose of war namely the crushing of the enemy armed forces the crushing of the disarming
00:35:33of the enemy the throwing him down the crushing of the enemy and it over and over again it was this theme of destroying the armed forces which he taken from the Napoleonic Wars and which at the very lost part of his revising of on war he'd started to
00:35:47mitigate by saying all but it doesn't necessarily have to be that the but it doesn't have to be that parts of the not the ones that interested people when they read on war in the mid nineteenth century and look for the recipe for success can we move on
00:36:00into the twentieth century now would it would it cost which is there is obtained in the way in which the German high command operated in the first World War that was a classic criticism produced by British thinkers in the interwar period particularly Basel little laws %HESITATION who %HESITATION
00:36:22I I often wonder owners of beach they will they'll the sick but %HESITATION for some of the really great closets %HESITATION he certainly had ready like German %HESITATION and he is he did come to understand a bit better later in life but immediately after the first mobile he
00:36:35turns around he says you vessel Britain shouldn't go who got involved in this sort of wolf at %HESITATION that is to say mass army European will fat on the continent just appropriate return about Madonna would do a little hot and little not hide his handling of classics Britain
00:36:52should not have been got got involved in that sort of warfare and it is a sort of well fed defined by clowns it's the war for mass army in the decisive battle %HESITATION Sir %HESITATION he he is when he's ready done and what's Univ successive generations of dumb
00:37:06concerts he's taken how to take the way which one particular all meal one particular school of ministry soldiers taken closets and taken not to be closets and so removed the debate within clauses himself %HESITATION from view %HESITATION and it really from nineteen eighteen running through until after the
00:37:27second World War %HESITATION very few people in Britain at stake closet seriously precisely because he's associated with this model of all of of of a of a of an exaggerated form of Napoleonic will fit can I go back to my original question which is probably too and I
00:37:42have to double that runs but still in the did did the German how did you %HESITATION when I come on taken real note of plus it's really did they say having had such stunning success in the last quarter of the nineteenth century and people saying what part of
00:37:56the second part yeah to this this man's ideas when they still reading this man's ideas and taking note of them an operating from downstairs that they they're reading bits they're reading the bits that suited the argument I mean alpha from flee from the the chief of the general
00:38:11staff %HESITATION up until nineteen five the man with whom we associate the ninety fourteen planned %HESITATION Rockville wrongly wrote the foreword to the nineteen oh five edition of on warm a resume related right well I think you had yes he had but he had read it he he
00:38:26was a believer in the dimples the decisive battle he knew Prussia had financial war %HESITATION so what he's doing is reading it selectively in all its to ten words to look at it as the perfectibility of what the real issue here is that is it and what the
00:38:42what the Prussian general stuff is concerned with is web bottles it's for the war concert said %HESITATION that strategy is the use of the battle for the purposes of war numbers you find a bottle and then you think what you do with it how you actually make it
00:38:56work for you in a strategic sense how they understand stress she I mean that is of the Prussian generals solve is how do we maneuvers say that we get the battle and the battle will decide everything so you've gone from strategy into tactics stretching into the actual business
00:39:11of fighting words because it's really sees the fighting is a means to another end %HESITATION and that is where they have anybody comes mis read concerts they had used in select with what the not concerned with is the relationship the more policy that really is and it's very
00:39:25small element of the book anyway %HESITATION so that is that becomes peripheral for them so David can we bring classes to build on recent was Vietnam Iraqi even Afghanistan we know that Colin Powell started %HESITATION Conine constant constants and so it had a huge influence on not just
00:39:42him but that %HESITATION many military men and thinkers in America and in fact a lot of the doctrine a lot of the teaching in an American will colleges to this day is heavily based on because of it and water because they were doing is is looking at the
00:39:57Trinity that both business and and you have discussed and identifying here in the Vietnam War the reasons for that defeat the reasons were were were two fold I think one that that had been no clear political objectives for the military men to follow and to the people the
00:40:13the the the the %HESITATION the emotional aspect of war hadn't been there only the in other words it was a war that they couldn't win and they would determine their officers to not make the same mistake again managers can you can you tell us why this one is
00:40:29work is still controversial today for some of the reasons that %HESITATION Hugh strong mentioned earlier on full why people believed in him so much until the second World War I for example even today in Germany people would be very suspicious if you a cloud of its expert they
00:40:43some suspect that had been set you up to no good at all am and it's the same to the condition of you know why did this guy why why was this person's letter to penalize enough from eighteen twelve rate on the eve of Hitler's suicide in %HESITATION but
00:40:57even in the most contaminated it and absolutely yeah I'm with the national service because all these these petrol passages in it on because the risk of course this big criticism of the above those who have selectively read Clausewitz at that the the claim that he's advocating a massive
00:41:12all out war that he's made he's advocating massive slot on the battlefield and this idea is the selective at idea and it's interpreters would always be quoting because of its a still something which making all the persona non grata pulling me briefly %HESITATION who strong can you say
00:41:26do you think history is going to continue to be relevant yes mall so %HESITATION I I just feel it he's been criticized recently for his a skeptic says visitation with state %HESITATION and that really fails to understand what the book is about the state is very important not
00:41:42swipe Hitler insulin come within with with with with in his thinking but what he's were centrally concerned with is war and that includes all the actors and will %HESITATION with the state on Wednesday well thank you very much features was a soul debuted in who strewn next week
00:41:56we'll be talking about Marco Polo and his travels the pricing that we haven't yet done it thanks for listening if you've enjoyed this BBC podcasts will not try others such as the forum the discussion program about global ideas to find out more visit BBC world service dot com
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