Clausewitz and Strategic Studies Essay

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Pages: 11

Strategic Studies Essay
“Choose a pre-20th century military strategist and show how/why their ideas remain relevant in the 21st century.”

Major General Carl von Clausewitz was a staff officer in the Prussian Army in the early parts of 19th century, suffering defeat in 1806, but leading Prussia back to glory in 1815. However, he was better known as a military theorist, and today is recognised as an integral figure in the evolution of military strategy, for many of his ideas are still prominent and embedded in the modern day strategies used today.

Clausewitz is renowned for his famous work On War (Vom Kriege), in which he records his observation in analytical form, shaped by military and political considerations. His writings come from 39
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Finally, although the Americans were well equipped, the technology they employed were more suited for conventional warfare, thus in this instance it failed to accomplish the same job.

Co lin Gray, Clausewit z, History, and the Future Strategic World, Prepared fo r the Strategic and Co mbat Studies Institute Conference – „Past Futures‟, Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, 3-4 July, 2003, p21.


Another one of Clausewitz‟s ideas which has lasted til now, is his notion on successful strategy, depends on the link between people, government and military; and that defence is favoured over attack. Using a bar stool analogy, these three legs of factors must be evenly balanced and collaborated in order to achieve a favourable outcome.

“War is more than a true chameleon that slightly adapts its characteristic to the given case. As a total phenomenon its dominant tendencies always make war a remarkable trinity – composed of primordial violence, hatred, and enmity, which are to be regarded as a blind natural force; of the play of chance and probability within which the creative spirit is free to roam; and of its element of subordination, as an instrument of policy, which makes it subject to reason alone.”5 In recent conflicts, it is noticeable that when