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, though for the most accurate text one should consult the 1943 Jolles translation.
Ends and Means in War
HAVING in the foregoing chapter ascertained the complicated and variable
nature of war, we shall now occupy ourselves in examining into the influence
which this nature has upon the end and means in war.
If we ask first of all for the aim upon which the whole war is to be
directed, in order that it may be the right means for the attainment of
the political object, we shall find that it is just as variable as are
the political object and the particular circumstances of the war.
If, in the next place, we keep once more to the pure conception of war,
then we must say that its political object properly lies out of its province,
for if war is an act of violence to compel the enemy to fulfil our will,
then in every case all depends on our overthrowing the enemy, that is,
disarming him, and on that alone. This object, developed from abstract
conceptions, but which is also the one aimed at in a great many cases in
reality, we shall, in the first place, examine in this reality.
In connection with the plan of a campaign we shall hereafter examine
more closely into the meaning of disarming a nation, but here we must at
once draw a distinction between three things, which as three general objects
comprise everything else within them. They are the military power, the
country, and the will of the enemy.
The military power must be destroyed, that is, reduced to such
a state as not to be able to prosecute the war. This is the sense in which
we wish to be understood hereafter, whenever we use the expression "destruction
of the enemy's military power."
The country must be conquered, for out of the country a new military
force may be formed.
But if even both these things are done, still the war, that is, the
hostile feeling and action of hostile agencies, cannot be considered as
at an end as long as the will of the enemy is not subdued also;
that is, its Government and its allies forced into signing a peace, or
the people into submission; for whilst we are in full occupation of the
country the war may break out afresh, either in the interior or through
assistance given by allies. No doubt this may also take place after a peace,
but that shows nothing more than that every war does not carry in itself
the elements for a complete decision and final settlement.
But even if this is the case, still with the conclusion of peace a number
of sparks are always extinguished, which would have smouldered on quietly,
and the excitement of the passions abates, because all those whose minds
are disposed to peace, of which in all nations and under all circumstances,
there is always a great number, turn themselves away completely from the
road to resistance. Whatever may take place subsequently, we must always
look upon the object as attained, and the business of war as ended, by
As protection of the country is that one of these objects to which the
military force is destined, therefore the natural order is that first of
all this force should be destroyed; then the country subdued; and through
the effect of these two results, as well as the position we then hold,
the enemy should be forced to make peace. Generally the destruction of
the enemy's force is done by degrees, and in just the same measure the
conquest of the country follows immediately. The two likewise usually react
upon each other, because the loss of provinces occasions a diminution of
military force. But this order is by no means necessary, and on that account
it also does not always take place. The enemy's army, before it is sensibly
weakened, may retreat to the opposite side of the country, or even quite
out of the country. In this case, therefore, the greater part or the whole
of the country is conquered.
But this object of war in the abstract, this final means of attaining
the political object in which all others are combined, the disarming
the enemy, is by no means general in reality, is not a condition necessary
to peace, and therefore can in no wise be set up in theory as a law. There
are innumerable instances of treaties in which peace has been settled before
either party could be looked upon as disarmed; indeed, even before the
balance had undergone any sensible alteration. Nay, further, if we look
at the case in the concrete, then we must say that in a whole class of
cases the idea of a complete defeat of the enemy would be a mere imaginative
flight, especially if the enemy is considerably superior.
The reason why the object deduced from the conception of war is not
adapted in general to real war, lies in the difference between the two,
which is discussed in the preceding chapter. If it was as pure conception
gives it, then a war between two states of very unequal military strength
would appear an absurdity; therefore would be impossible. At most, the
inequality between the physical forces might be such that it could be balanced
by the moral forces, and that would not go far with our present social
condition in Europe. Therefore, if we have seen wars take place between
states of very unequal power, that has been the case because there is a
wide difference between war in reality and its original conception.
There are two considerations, which as motives, may practically take
the place of inability to continue the contest. The first is the improbability,
the second is the excessive price of success.
According to what we have seen in the foregoing chapter, war must always
set itself free from the strict law of logical necessity, and seek aid
from the calculation of probabilities: and as this is so much the more
the case, the more the war has a bias that way, from the circumstances
out of which it has arisen—the smaller its motives are and the excitement
it has raised—so it is also conceivable how out of this calculation of
probabilities even motives to peace may arise. War does not therefore always
require to be fought out until one party is overthrown; and we may suppose
that, when the motives and passions are slight, a weak probability will
suffice to move that side to which it is unfavourable to give way. Now,
were the other side convinced of this beforehand, it is natural that he
would strive for this probability only instead of first trying and making
the detour of a total destruction of the enemy's army.
Still more general in its influence on the resolution to peace is the
consideration of the expenditure of force already made, and further required.
As war is no act of blind passion, but is dominated over by the political
object, therefore the value of that object determines the measure of the
sacrifices by which it is to be purchased. This will be the case, not only
as regards extent, but also as regards duration. As soon, therefore, as
the required outlay becomes so great that the political object is no longer
equal in value, the object must be given up, and peace will be the result.
We see, therefore, that in wars where one cannot completely disarm the
other, the motives to peace on both sides will rise or fall on each side
according to the probability of future success and the required outlay.
If these motives were equally strong on both sides, they would meet in
the centre of their political difference. Where they are strong on one
side, they might be weak on the other. If their amount is only sufficient,
peace will follow, but naturally to the advantage of that side which has
the weakest motive for its conclusion. We purposely pass over here the
difference which the positive and negative character of the
political end must necessarily produce practically; for although that is,
as we shall hereafter show, of the highest importance, still we are obliged
to keep here to a more general point of view, because the original political
views in the course of the war change very much, and at last may become
totally different, just because they are determined by results and probable
Now comes the question how to influence the probability of success.
In the first place, naturally by the same means which we use when the object
is the subjugation of the enemy, by the destruction of his military force
and the conquest of his provinces; but these two means are not exactly
of the same import here as they would be in reference to that object. If
we attack the enemy's army, it is a very different thing whether we intend
to follow up the first blow with a succession of others until the whole
force is destroyed, or whether we mean to content ourselves with a victory
to shake the enemy's feeling of security, to convince him of our superiority,
and to instil into him a feeling of apprehension about the future. If this
is our object, we only go so far in the destruction of his forces as is
sufficient. In like manner the conquest of the enemy's provinces is quite
a different measure if the object is not the destruction of the enemy's
army. In the latter case, the destruction of the army is the real effectual
action, and the taking of the provinces only a consequence of it; to take
them before the army had been defeated would always be looked upon only
as a necessary evil. On the other hand, if our views are not directed upon
the complete destruction of the enemy's force, and if we are sure that
the enemy does not seek but fears to bring matters to a bloody decision,
the taking possession of a weak or defenceless province is an advantage
in itself, and if this advantage is of sufficient importance to make the
enemy apprehensive about the general result, then it may also be regarded
as a shorter road to peace.
But now we come upon a peculiar means of influencing the probability
of the result without destroying the enemy's army, namely, upon the expeditions
which have a direct connection with political views. If there are any enterprises
which are particularly likely to break up the enemy's alliances or make
them inoperative, to gain new alliances for ourselves, to raise political
powers in our own favour, etc., etc., then it is easy to conceive how much
these may increase the probability of success, and become a shorter way
towards our aim than the routing of the enemy's army.
The second question is how to act upon the enemy's expenditure in strength,
that is, to raise the price of success.
The enemy's outlay in strength lies in the wear and tear of his
forces, consequently in the destruction of them on our part, and
in the loss of provinces, consequently the conquest of them by us.
Here again, on account of the various significations of these means,
so likewise it will be found that neither of them will be identical in
its signification, in all cases if the objects are different. The smallness
in general of this difference must not cause us perplexity, for in reality
the weakest motives, the finest shades of difference, often decide in favour
of this or that method of applying force. Our only business here is to
show that certain conditions being supposed, the possibility of attaining
the aim in different ways is no contradiction, absurdity, nor even error.
Besides these two means there are three other peculiar ways of directly
increasing the waste of the enemy's force. The first is invasion,
that is the occupation of the enemy's territory, not with a view to
keeping it, but in order to levy contributions there, or to devastate
it. The immediate object is here neither the conquest of the enemy's territory
nor the defeat of his armed force, but merely to do him damage in a
general way. The second way is to select for the object of our enterprises
those points at which we can do the enemy most harm. Nothing is easier
to conceive than two different directions in which our force may be employed,
the first of which is to be preferred if our object is to defeat the enemy's
army, while the other is more advantageous if the defeat of the enemy is
out of the question. According to the usual mode of speaking we should
say that the first is more military, the other more political. But if we
take our view from the highest point, both are equally military, and neither
the one nor the other can be eligible unless it suits the circumstances
of the case. The third, by far the most important, from the great number
of cases which it embraces, is the wearying out the enemy. We choose
this expression not only to explain our meaning in few words but because
it represents the thing exactly, and is not so figurative as may at first
appear. The idea of wearying out in a struggle amounts in reality to a
gradual exhaustion of the physical powers and of the will produced through
the long continuance of exertion.
Now if we want to overcome the enemy by the duration of the contest
we must content ourselves with as small objects as possible, for it is
in the nature of the thing that a great end requires a greater expenditure
of force than a small one; but the smallest object that we can propose
to ourselves is simple passive resistance, that is a combat without any
positive view. In this way, therefore, our means attain their greatest
relative value, and therefore the result is best secured. How far now can
this negative mode of proceeding be carried? Plainly not to absolute passivity,
for mere endurance would not be fighting: and the defensive is an activity
by which so much of the enemy's power must be destroyed, that he must give
up his object. That alone is what we aim at in each single act, and therein
consists the negative nature of our object.
No doubt this negative object in its single act is not so effective
as the positive object in the same direction would be, supposing it successful;
but there is this difference in its favour, that it succeeds more easily
than the positive, and therefore it holds out greater certainty of success;
what is wanting in the efficacy of its single act, must be gained through
time, that is, through the duration of the contest, and therefore this
negative intention, which constitutes the principle of the pure defensive,
is also the natural means of overcoming the enemy by the duration of the
combat, that is of wearing him out.
Here lies the origin of that difference of Offensive and Defensive,
the influence of which prevails over the whole province of war. We cannot
at present pursue this subject further than to observe that from this negative
intention are to be deduced all the advantages and all the stronger forms
of combat which are on the side of the Defensive, and in which that
philosophical-dynamic law which exists between the greatness and the certainty
of success is realised. We shall resume the consideration of all this hereafter.
If then the negative purpose, that is the concentration of all the means
into a state of pure resistance, affords a superiority in the contest,
and if this advantage is sufficient to balance whatever superiority
in numbers the adversary may have, then the mere duration of the
contest will suffice gradually to bring the loss of force on the part of
the adversary to a point at which the political object can no longer be
an equivalent, a point at which, therefore, he must give up the contest.
We see then that this class of means, the wearying out of the enemy, includes
the great number of cases in which the weaker resists the stronger.
Frederick the Great during the Seven Years' War was never strong enough
to overthrow the Austrian monarchy; and if he had tried to do so after
the fashion of Charles the Twelfth, he would inevitably have had to succumb
himself. But after his skilful application of the system of husbanding
his resources had shown the powers allied against him, through a seven
years' war, that the actual expenditure of strength far exceeded what they
had at first anticipated, they made peace.
We see then that there are many ways to the aim in war; that the complete
subjugation of the enemy is not essential in every case, that the destruction
of the enemy's military force, the conquest of enemy's provinces, the mere
occupation of them, the mere invasion of them—enterprises which are aimed
directly at political objects—lastly a passive expectation of the enemy's
blow, are all means which, each in itself, may be used to force the enemy's
will just according as the peculiar circumstances of the case lead us to
expect more from the one or the other. We could still add to these a whole
category of shorter methods of gaining the end, which might be called arguments ad hominem. What branch of human affairs is there in which these
sparks of individual spirit have not made their appearance, flying over
all formal considerations? And least of all can they fail to appear in
war, where the personal character of the combatants plays such an important
part, both in the cabinet and in the field. We limit ourselves to pointing
this out, as it would be pedantry to attempt to reduce such influences
into classes. Including these, we may say that the number of possible ways
of reaching the aim rises to infinity.
To avoid under-estimating these different short roads to the aim, either
estimating them only as rare exceptions, or holding the difference which
they cause in the conduct of war as insignificant, we must bear in mind
the diversity of political objects which may cause a war,—measure at a
glance the distance which there is between a death struggle for political
existence, and a war which a forced or tottering alliance makes a matter
of disagreeable duty. Between the two, gradations innumerable occur in
reality. If we reject one of these gradations in theory, we might with
equal right reject the whole, which would be tantamount to shutting the
real world completely out of sight.
These are the circumstances in general connected with the aim which
we have to pursue in war; let us now turn to the means.
There is only one single means, it is the Fight. However diversified
this may be in form, however widely it may differ from a rough vent of
hatred and animosity in a hand-to-hand encounter, whatever number of things
may introduce themselves which are not actual fighting, still it is always
implied in the conception of war, that all the effects manifested have
their roots in the combat.
That this must also always be so in the greatest diversity and complication
of the reality, is proved in a very simple manner. All that takes place
in war takes place through armed forces, but where the forces of war, i.
e., armed men are applied, there the idea of fighting must of necessity
be at the foundation.
All, therefore, that relates to forces of war—all that is connected
with their creation, maintenance, and application, belongs to military
Creation and maintenance are obviously only the means, whilst application
is the object.
The contest in war is not a contest of individual against individual,
but an organised whole, consisting of manifold parts; in this great whole
we may distinguish units of two kinds, the one determined by the subject,
the other by the object. In an army the mass of combatants ranges itself
always into an order of new units, which again form members of a higher
order. The combat of each of these members forms, therefore, also a more
or less distinct unit. Further, the motive of the fight; therefore its
object forms its unit.
Now to each of these units which we distinguish in the contest, we attach
the name of combat.
If the idea of combat lies at the foundation of every application of
armed power, then also the application of armed force in general, is nothing
more than the determining and arranging a certain number of combats.
Every activity in war, therefore, necessarily relates to the combat
either directly or indirectly. The soldier is levied, clothed, armed, exercised,
he sleeps, eats, drinks and marches, all merely to fight at the right
time and place.
If, therefore, all the threads of military activity terminate in the
combat, we shall grasp them all when we settle the order of the combats.
Only from this order and its execution proceed the effects; never directly
from the conditions preceding them. Now, in the combat all the action is
directed to the destruction of the enemy, or rather of his fighting
powers, for this lies in the conception of combat. The destruction
of the enemy's fighting power is, therefore, always the means to attain
the object of the combat.
This object may likewise be the mere destruction of the enemy's armed
force; but that is not by any means necessary, and it may be something
quite different. Whenever, for instance, as we have shown, the defeat of
the enemy is not the only means to attain the political object, whenever
there are other objects which may be pursued, as the aim in a war, then
it follows of itself that such other objects may become the object of particular
acts of warfare, and, therefore, also the object of combats.
But even those combats which, as subordinate acts, are in the strict
sense devoted to the destruction of the enemy's fighting force, need not
have that destruction itself as their first object.
If we think of the manifold parts of a great armed force, of the number
of circumstances which come into activity when it is employed, then it
is clear that the combat of such a force must also require a manifold organisation,
a subordinating of parts and formation. There may and must naturally arise
for particular parts a number of objects which are not themselves the destruction
of the enemy's armed force, and which, while they certainly contribute
to increase that destruction, do so only in an indirect manner. If a battalion
is ordered to drive the enemy from a rising ground, or a bridge, &c.,
then properly the occupation of any such locality is the real object, the
destruction of the enemy's armed force, which takes place, only the means
or secondary matter. If the enemy can be driven away merely by a demonstration,
the object is attained all the same; but this hill or bridge is, in point
of fact, only required as a means of increasing the gross amount of loss
inflicted on the enemy's armed force. If this is the case on the field
of battle, much more must it be so on the whole theatre of war, where not
only one army is opposed to another, but one State, one nation, one whole
country to another. Here the number of possible relations, and consequently
possible combinations, is much greater, the diversity of measures increased,
and by the gradation of objects each subordinate to another, the first
means employed is further apart from the ultimate object.
It is, therefore, for many reasons possible that the object of a combat
is not the destruction of the enemy's force, that is, of the force opposed
to us, but that this only appears as a means. But in all such cases it
is no longer a question of complete destruction, for the combat is here
nothing else but a measure of strength—has in itself no value except only
that of the present result, that is, of its decision.
But a measuring of strength may be effected in cases where the opposing
sides are very unequal by a mere comparative estimate. In such cases no
fighting will take place, and the weaker will immediately give way.
If the object of a combat is not always the destruction of the enemy's
forces therein engaged—and if its object can often be attained as well
without the combat taking place at all, by merely making a resolve to fight,
and by the circumstances to which that gives rise—then that explains how
a whole campaign may be carried on with great activity without the actual
combat playing any notable part in it.
That this may be so, military history proves by a hundred examples.
How many of those cases had a bloodless decision which can be justified,
that is, without involving a contradiction; and whether some of the celebrities
who rose out of them would stand criticism we shall leave undecided, for
all we have to do with the matter is to show the possibility of such a
course of events in war.
We have only one means in war—the battle; but this means, by the infinite
variety of ways in which it may be applied, leads us into all the different
ways which the multiplicity of objects allows of, so that we seem to have
gained nothing; but that is not the case, for from this unity of means
proceeds a thread which assists the study of the subject, as it runs through
the whole web of military activity, and holds it together.
But we have considered the destruction of the enemy's force as one of
the objects which may be pursued in war, and left undecided what importance
should be given to it amongst other objects. In certain cases it will depend
on circumstances, and as a general question we have left its value undetermined.
We are once more brought back upon it, and we shall be able to get an insight
into the value which must necessarily be accorded to it.
The combat is the single activity in war; in the combat the destruction
of the enemy opposed to us is the means to the end; it is so even when
the combat does not actually take place, because in that case there lies
at the root of the decision the supposition at all events that this destruction
is to be regarded as beyond doubt. It follows, therefore, that the destruction
of the enemy's military force is the foundation-stone of all action in
war, the great support of all combinations, which rest upon it like the
arch on its abutments. All action, therefore, takes place on the supposition
that if the solution by force of arms which lies at its foundation should
be realised, it will be a favourable one. The decision by arms is, for
all operations in war, great and small, what cash payment is in bill transactions.
However remote from each other these relations, however seldom the realisation
may take place, still it can never entirely fail to occur.
If the decision by arms lies at the foundation of all combinations,
then it follows that the enemy can defeat each of them by gaining a successful
decision with arms, not merely if it is that one on which our combination
directly depends, but also by any other, if it is only important enough
for every important decision by arms—that is, destruction of the enemy's
forces reacts upon all preceding it, because, like a liquid element, they
bring themselves to a level.
Thus, the destruction of the enemy's armed force appears, therefore,
always as the superior and more effectual means, to which all others must
But certainly it is only when there is a supposed equality in all other
conditions that we can ascribe to the destruction of the enemy's armed
force a greater efficacy. It would, therefore, be a great mistake to draw
from it the conclusion that a blind dash must always gain the victory over
skill and caution. An unskilful attack would lead to the destruction of
our own and not of the enemy's force, and therefore is not what is here
meant. The superior efficacy belongs not to the means but to the end, and we are only comparing the effect of one realised aim with
If we speak of the destruction of the enemy's armed force, we must expressly
point out that nothing obliges us to confine this idea to the mere physical
force; on the contrary, the moral is necessarily implied as well, because
both in fact are interwoven with each other even in the most minute details,
and, therefore, cannot be separated. But it is just in connection with
the inevitable effect which has been referred to, of a great act of destruction
(a great victory) upon all other decisions by arms, that this moral element
is most fluid, if we may use that expression, and, therefore, distributes
itself the most easily through all the parts.
Against the far superior worth which the destruction of the enemy's
armed force has over all other means, stands the expense and risk of this
means, and it is only to avoid these that any other means are taken.
That this means must be costly stands to reason, for the waste of our
own military forces must, ceteris paribus, always be greater the
more our aim is directed upon the destruction of the enemy's.
But the danger of this means lies in this, that just the greater efficacy
which we seek recoils on ourselves, and therefore has worse consequences
in case we fail of success.
Other methods are, therefore, less costly when they succeed, less dangerous
when they fail; but in this is necessarily lodged the condition that they
are only opposed to similar ones, that is, that the enemy acts on the same
principle; for if the enemy should choose the way of a great decision by
arms, our means must on that account be changed against our will, in
order to correspond with his. Then all depends on the issue of the
act of destruction; but of course it is evident that, ceteris paribus,
in this act we must be at a disadvantage in all respects because our views
and our means had been directed in part upon other objects, which is not
the case with the enemy. Two different objects of which one is not part
of the other exclude each other; and, therefore, a force which may be applicable
for the one, may not serve for the other. If, therefore, one of two belligerents
is determined to take the way of the great decision by arms, then he has
also a high probability of success, as soon as he is certain his opponent
will not take that way, but follows a different object; and every one who
sets before himself any such other aim only does so in a reasonable manner,
provided he acts on the supposition that his adversary has as little intention
as he has of resorting to the great decision by arms.
But what we have here said of another direction of views and forces
relates only to other positive objects, which we may propose to
ourselves in war besides the destruction of the enemy's force, not by any
means to the pure defensive, which may be adopted with a view thereby to
exhaust the enemy's forces. In the pure defensive, the positive object
is wanting, and, therefore, while on the defensive, our forces cannot at
the same time be directed on other objects; they can only be employed to
defeat the intentions of the enemy.
We have now to consider the opposite of the destruction of the enemy's
armed force, that is to say, the preservation of our own. These two efforts
always go together, as they mutually act and re-act on each other; they
are integral parts of one and the same view, and we have only to ascertain
what effect is produced when one or the other has the predominance. The
endeavour to destroy the enemy's force has a positive object and leads
to positive results, of which the final aim is the conquest of the enemy.
The preservation of our own forces has a negative object, leads therefore
to the defeat of the enemy's intentions, that is to pure resistance, of
which the final aim can be nothing more than to prolong the duration of
the contest, so that the enemy shall exhaust himself in it.
The effort with a positive object calls into existence the act of destruction;
the effort with the negative object awaits it.
How far this state of expectation should and may be carried we shall
enter into more particularly in the theory of attack and defence, at the
origin of which we again find ourselves. Here we shall content ourselves
with saying that the awaiting must be no absolute endurance, and that in
the action bound up with it the destruction of the enemy's armed force
engaged in this conflict may be the aim just as well as anything else.
It would, therefore, be a great error in the fundamental idea to suppose
that the consequence of the negative course is that we are precluded from
choosing the destruction of the enemy's military force as our object, and
must prefer a bloodless solution. The advantage which the negative effort
gives may certainly lead to that, but only at the risk of its not being
the most advisable method, as that question is dependent on totally different
conditions, resting not with ourselves but with our opponents. This other
bloodless way cannot, therefore, be looked upon at all as the natural means
of satisfying our great anxiety to spare our forces; on the contrary, when
circumstances are not favourable to that way, it would be the means of
completely ruining them. Very many Generals have fallen into this error,
and been ruined by it. The only necessary effect resulting from the superiority
of the negative effort is the delay of the decision, so that the party
acting takes refuge in that way, as it were, in the expectation of the
decisive moment. The consequence of that is generally the postponement
of the action as much as possible in time and also in space, in so
far as space is in connection with it. If the moment has arrived in which
this can no longer be done without ruinous disadvantage, then the advantage
of the negative must be considered as exhausted, and then comes forward
unchanged the effort for the destruction of the enemy's force, which was
kept back by a counterpoise, but never discarded.
We have seen, therefore, in the foregoing reflections, that there are
many ways to the aim, that is, to the attainment of the political object;
but that the only means is the combat, and that consequently everything
is subject to a supreme law: which is the decision by arms; that
where this is really demanded by one, it is a redress which cannot be refused
by the other; that, therefore, a belligerent who takes any other way must
make sure that his opponent will not take this means of redress, or his
cause may be lost in that supreme court; that, therefore, in short, the
destruction of the enemy's armed force amongst all the objects which can
be pursued in war appears always as that one which overrules all.
What may be achieved by combinations of another kind in war we shall
only learn in the sequel, and naturally only by degrees. We content ourselves
here with acknowledging in general their possibility, as something pointing
to the difference between the reality and the conception, and to the influence
of particular circumstances. But we could not avoid showing at once that
the bloody solution of the crisis, the effort for the destruction
of the enemy's force, is the firstborn son of war. If when political objects
are unimportant, motives weak, the excitement of forces small, a cautious
commander tries in all kinds of ways, without great crises and bloody solutions,
to twist himself skilfully into a peace through the characteristic weaknesses
of his enemy in the field and in the Cabinet, we have no right to find
fault with him, if the premises on which he acts are well founded and justified
by success; still we must require him to remember that he only travels
on forbidden tracks, where the God of War may surprise him; that he ought
always to keep his eye on the enemy, in order that he may not have to defend
himself with a dress rapier if the enemy takes up a sharp sword.
The consequences of the nature of war, how end and means act in it,
how in the modifications of reality it deviates sometimes more sometimes
less from its strict original conception, plays backwards and forwards,
yet always remains under that strict conception as under a supreme law:
all this we must retain in idea, and bear constantly in mind in the consideration
of each of the succeeding subjects, if we would rightly comprehend their
true relations and proper importance, and not become involved incessantly
in the most glaring contradictions with the reality, and at last with our