NOTE: This version of Clausewitz's On War is the long-obsolete J.J. Graham translation published in London in 1873. The 1976/84 Howard/Paret version is the  standard translation today.

This Translation of On War

BACKGROUND. This on-line version of On War is the first English translation, done in 1873. It was made by Colonel James John Graham and published in London by N. Trübner. Only the original text is published here (minus some comments by Graham). It includes  the prefatory material and notes provided by Clausewitz himself and by his wife (who edited and published his works after the author's death), but not the appendix. (The appendix included primarily Clausewitz's 1812 essay, "Summary of the Instruction Given by the Author to His Royal Highness the Crown Prince in the Years 1810, 1811, and 1812." This document is on-line elsewhere on the Clausewitz Homepage (in another translation) as the Principles of War.)  Most available paper versions of the Graham translation, however, are copies of the version edited by Colonel F.N. Maude after 1908. Maude was a social Darwinist whose comments seriously distorted Clausewitz's message. (For some unexplained reason, Maude's dated comments were included in the very misleading 1968 Penguin abridgement made by Anatol Rapoport, and thus the social Darwinism of Maude has come to be attached erroneously to Clausewitz himself.) For more information on Graham, his translation effort, and other aspects of Clausewitz's translation into English, see Christopher Bassford, Clausewitz in English: The Reception of Clausewitz in Britain and America, 1815-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), Chapter 5 (pp.56-59).

LIMITATIONS. This translation, based on a German edition that deviated in minor ways from the original, is quite obsolete. It is also difficult to read (i.e., more difficult than intrinsically necessary). It is, however, complete, owing to the work of David Reed. The current standard version is not available on-line, and it is not likely to be posted to the internet anytime soon. The standard version is now Carl von Clausewitz, On War, trans./ed. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976/84). The Howard/Paret translation is based on much deeper, more accurate scholarship and a more authentic German edition. It contains some useful introductory material and is much easier to read. The Paret translation suffers from a poor index, but The Clausewitz Homepage provides a word-and-phrase index to it that helps make up for this deficiency.


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