Summary (Ethics (Ready Reference series))
Carl von Clausewitz’s purpose in analyzing war is purely theoretical and not prescriptive. To the question “What is war?” he answers: “War is an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfill our will” (“Der Krieg ist . . . ein Akt der Gewalt, um den Gegner zur Erfüllung unseres Willens zu zwingen”). War is not an isolated act; it is an extension of Politik—a blatant instrument of such policy. The decision to go to war and the proposed goal beyond victory are political, not military. Theory must, however, be analyzed in the context of real events. A paper war is not a real war; a real war is subject to influence by chance and circumstance. Real war is dangerous for its participants and is a test of their exertion.
War is not only “an elaborate duel” (“ein erweiterter Zweikampf”), a vast drama—a comedy for the victor, a tragedy for the loser. From another point of view, war is a game (“ein Spiel”) and a “gamble” (“ein Glücksspiel”), both objectively and subjectively. A theory of war must be an analytical investigation that later might prove beneficial to reason and judgment. It must consider the ends and means of warfare, which consist of strategy and tactics. Tactics are the uses to which the army is put to achieve victory. Strategy has to do with the plan for achieving victory. The real activity of war lies in the tactical aspect of battle, since tactics govern...
(The entire section is 308 words.)
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