Borrowing from the Master:
Uses of Clausewitz in German Military
Before the Great War

By Antulio J. Echevarria II

This article appeared originally in War and History, 3 (July 1996): 274-92. It is displayed here with the permission of War in History and its publisher, Edward Arnold. Copyright Edward Arnold, 1996. All rights reserved. 


Part I

Part II

Part III


We are epigones, the grinning heirs of a rich and unfettered past, whose fruits we reap while being spared the labor.*1

Militär-Wochenblatt, 1873



In 1976, the Naval War College Review published the late Herbert Rosinski's seminal essay, "Scharnhorst to Schlieffen: The Rise and Decline of German Military Thought."*2 Rosinski, a respected Clausewitzian scholar and military historian, argued that German military thought had reached its zenith with Clausewitz' systematic study of the "Whole of War," and then descended into pure dogmatism with Schlieffen's oversimplified, formulaic approach to its conduct. He contrasted the philosophical sophistication of classical German thought in the age of Clausewitz to the axiomatic pragmatism of its late nineteenth-century counterpart. Rosinski viewed thought as something that moved through history in an Hegelian-like stream or current. Abstract, yet discernable, it ebbed and flowed, or rose like a star to its "apogee."*3

In the course of his argument, however, Rosinski discounted the contributions of those military writers like Wilhelm von Blume, Albrecht von Boguslawski, Sigismund von Schlichting, Friedrich von Bernhardi, and Colmar von der Goltz who never rose to a position as prominent as that of Chief of the Great General Staff (GGS). These men were dismissed as: "second-hand, second-rate compilators and commentators . . . almost wholly devoid of any original inspiration . . . and largely concerned with hairsplitting controversies about the subtleties of Moltke's [and Napoleon's] strategy."*4

Although this judgment has come to represent the received view of German military literature before the Great War--the so-called era of the "epigones"--it is misleading on at least two counts, namely, the issues of originality and range of interest.*5 To be sure, the works of the epigones fall far short of the intellectual sophistication of Clausewitz' On War, but a mere out-of-hand rejection of them serves only to obfuscate the urgent issues with which they were concerned. In fact, these military writers were doing precisely what members of their profession ought to have been doing--studying and debating issues pertinent to the impact of industrialization and the changing conditions of warfare. Among other things, their writings proposed viable and inspired (if not wholly original) solutions to the challenges that technology posed to the Imperial army's battle doctrine. These recommendations anticipated modern tactics of fire and maneuver, and resulted in successive revisions of the Imperial army's infantry, cavalry, and artillery Drill Regulations as well as its Field Service Regulations.*6 But at the same time, the epigones were concerned with more than mere doctrinal issues as evidenced by their participation in the political right's polemical discourses against pacifism and Social Democracy.*7

To be sure, the military literature of the Wilhelmine period clearly reflects strong militaristic and anti-democratic biases. Bernhardi's Germany and the Next War, which went through numerous editions and translations, reflects these attitudes, and those of Social Darwinism, expansionism, and warism as well.*8 Guilty of these sins and more, the military literature of this period is nonetheless rich in uses of Clausewitz. This essay discusses those uses as they occurred in the course of the Imperial army's debate over tactical doctrine, and suggests that a redefinition of Clausewitz' influence might be in order.


If, as Rosinski has remarked, turn-of-the-century military writers seemed more imitative than original in their uses of Clausewitz, it was due in no small measure to Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke's endorsement of On War shortly after Germany's successful Wars of Unification.*9 This endorsement firmly established Clausewitz as the Prussian officer's "schoolmaster." Proper use of, and reference to, Clausewitz, affirmed one's legitimacy as a military writer. Moreover, Prusso-German officers of the Wilhelmine era consciously identified themselves as part of a tradition of military "greatness" originating with Frederick the Great, continuing through Clausewitz, Moltke, and finally to the uncertain situation that confronted them on the eve of World War I. Following the war against France, German military literature exalted the Prussian army's leaders of 1870-1. These heroes provided "models of fresh initiative . . . stand[ing] forever as an admonition for the soul."*10 Similarly, Moltke, the architect of the army's military victories, emerged as the paragon of military virtue--epitomizing the qualities of courage, boldness, discipline, and obedience. One essay praised a letter Moltke had written to William I on the eve of the war against Austria. The letter advised the King to take the initiative against the House of Hapsburg despite the danger of provoking a general war with France and Bavaria:

"Rarely have words of such unshakeable confidence in the decisive power of the sword been expressed in the face of such impending political turmoil. They sound to us epigones as evidence of the fire of war burning in the soul of this great man."*11

To be sure, such rhetoric was intended to consolidate control of the new Imperial army, and of the nation itself, under Prussian auspices, but it also conspired to place a great deal of pressure on the epigones to live up to the glory of Prussia's military past. By the turn of the century, borrowing ideas or examples from Prussia's history, especially in the form of citations or references to these celebrated names, had become something of a tradition (or an obligation) amongst these "grinning" heirs. Thus, the Prusso-German usage of Clausewitz emerged in an era which was epigonal in attitude--intellectually predisposed to seek answers to the questions of the present in the examples and traditions of the past.

It must also be mentioned that the interpretations of the epigones suffered from the use of adulterated editions of On War.*12 As Werner Halweg and Peter Paret have pointed out, several hundred "clarifications" were introduced into the second edition of On War (1852) by Clausewitz' brother-in-law, Count Friedrich von Brühl, and remained in effect until after World War II. One in particular, which occurred in Book VIII, Chapter Six, actually reversed the sense of the original text. Clausewitz had emphasized that a nation's political leadership must share in the activities and decisions of its commander-in-chief, while von Brühl's alteration emphasized the military's participation in political decisions.*13 The method of citation employed by the epigones (when they used one) did not identify the edition used; and we have no evidence indicating that they appreciated the discrepancies between the first and subsequent editions. Nor were they trained to appreciate the assistance that unpublished primary sources can lend to clearing up ambiguities in a printed text. Thus, the interpretations of Clausewitz offered by the epigones generally betray more enthusiasm than precision.

The epigones borrowed from the master as part of an ideational response to what another historian has justifiably called the nineteenth-century "crisis in warfighting."*14 This crisis began in the middle of the century when improvements in the range, accuracy, and rate of fire of direct and indirect-fire weapons made themselves felt on European battlefields. The impact of this crisis is best viewed through the course of the Schlichting controversy, at the core of which was the issue of the high casualty rates, especially among infantry and cavalry units, experienced in the Wars of Unification. New technology combined with old tactics resulted in unexpectedly heavy losses. This realization, in turn, inspired some Prusso-German officers, despite the army's overall success against Denmark, Austria, and France, to argue for a revision of existing methods of attack. Hence, by the 1870s, treatises on the subject of war had less to do with discussing its nature, as Clausewitz had done, than its practical conduct, which was clearly undergoing a period of transformation.*15 Imperial Germany's military writers had come to realize that four new phenomena were exercising a decisive influence on the conduct of war on all its levels: 1) improved road networks; 2) railroads; 3) electric telegraphs; and 4) long-range, rapid-firing rifles and cannon.*16

Indeed, the performance of the Prussian needle gun in engagements like Lundby (July 3, 1864) and Podol (June 26, 1866), and of the French chassepot in the battles of Spichern (August 6, 1870), and Gravelotte-St. Privat (August 18, 1870) demonstrated that advances in military technology were in fact changing the "face of battle."*17 In a single assault against the heights of St. Privat, for example, the Prussian Guard Division suffered over 8000 casualties, more than 25 percent of the entire corps strength, in less than twenty minutes.*18 To be sure, military history is replete with bloody battles, but the idea that such heavy casualties could be inflicted in so short a time continued to preoccupy German military writers long after the war. Reactions ranged from abject denial that the battle possessed any enduring significance to sober appreciations for what it foretold about the lethality of modern military technology.*19

As early as 1872, Captain Albrecht von Boguslawski condemned the army's tradition of instantly attacking whenever the enemy was encountered and called for more methodically-planned infantry assaults, coodinated with massed artillery fires.*20 A year later, he followed this argument with the recommendation that the traditional battalion column, because it presented too large a target to modern weaponry, should be banned in favor of smaller company and skirmish formations.*21 Major Wilhelm von Scherff likewise argued that the war against France had given birth to a new tactical method--a skirmish-tactic--which, despite the similarity in name, differed from the skirmish tactics of the Napoleonic wars, and that this new method ought to be reflected in existing battle doctrine.*22 Major Verdy du Vernois went so far as to declare that, due to the lethality of modern infantry weapons, only open-order, skirmish-type formations would be feasible in future wars.*23

Given the fact that improvements in artillery guns and munitions had also occurred, junior officers like Majors Hoffbauer and Schell reviewed the performance of their branch in the Wars of Unification and suggested doctrinal changes that would allow the artillery to better support infantry and cavalry units in battle.*24 Each of these branches performed different missions on the battlefield, and procedures which provided adequate artillery support for the one did not necessarily work for the other, particularly as the formations and roles of each were currently undergoing revision.*25

Likewise, cavalry general Carl von Schmidt's reports regarding the heavy losses sustained by mounted units during the War of 1870-71 led directly to the appointment in 1873 of a committee of officers to revise the Cavalry Drill Regulations of 1855. As one might expect, despite the evident lethality of the modern battlefield, optimism prevailed within this branch regarding the relevance it would enjoy in a modern war. While some officers, including Moltke himself, believed that cavalry could be used only against disorganized infantry units, or in reconaissance, security, or pursuit missions, others, like Generals Schmidt and Stolberg, suggested that by reorganizing itself into three specially trained groups--breakthrough, maneuver, and support--cavalry units could still perform attack missions.*26 A few years later, Bernhardi, who also participated in successive revisions to the cavalry drill regulations, advocated mass-cavalry formations employed in strategic rather than tactical roles. Making use of the greater mobility of the horse, large numbers of friendly troops might be quickly relocated across the front, thereafter dismounting to fight as infantry.*27 Bernhardi's ideas on the use of cavalry thus anticipated twentieth-century mobile warfare. Whereas officers like Freytag-Loringhoven abhorred the "democratization" or atomization of the battlefield, fearing that it would lead to a loss of discipline and control, Bernhardi embraced it, arguing that the greater lethality and faster pace of modern war required a stronger emphasis on individual action, as well as the standardization, as far as possible, of routine procedures. He also advocated judicious use of the spade in infantry attacks, called for greater latitude to subordinates, and stressed the importance of individual initiative on the battlefield.*28 That the latter two have become an integral part of the combat philosophy of modern armies demonstrates their efficacy. The improved effectiveness of direct and indirect-fire weapons had thus caused a revision of the formations and battle procedures of all branches of the Imperial army, as well as a great deal of discussion concerning the role each might play in future war.

In addition to these and similar discussions concerning how the separate branches might adjust to advances in military technology, the emergence of mass armies raised troubling questions regarding how to bring large quantities of men and matériel from their assembly areas in the homeland to the battlefield itself. Far more than the mere "hairsplitting controversies" which Rosinski denounced, the debates over Napoleonic and Moltkean strategy were concerned with the advantages and disadvantages of moving troops along exterior or interior lines, and whether it was better to concentrate one's force on or off the battlefield. These issues had a direct bearing on the development of operational as well as strategic doctrine, and were certainly relevant to any approach to warfighting, old or new.

To be sure, Clausewitz' On War stands as a first-rate philosophical inquiry into the nature of war. But the works of Schlichting, von der Goltz and other military writers, focused on developing practical solutions to a very urgent and compelling problem--the integration of modern technology and warfighting--which threatened the Imperial army's current battle doctrine with obsolescence.*29 What was needed, with the threat of a general conflict growing more likely every year, were thoughts concerning the impact of recent technological advances upon war. Philosophical inquiries into its nature could wait.

Indeed, the nature of the literature published by Prusso-German officers following the war of 1870-71 suggests that most had realized that military technology had in fact out-paced military doctrine. To close this gap, the epigones borrowed from Clausewitz, recalling his dictum that experience informs and modifies theory. In other words, Imperial Germany's military writers borrowed from the master to augment an ideology which had traditionally glorified individual skill and bravery, but was now increasingly forced to acknowledge the importance of matériel on the battlefield. The "Schlichting controversy," a turn-of-the-century debate over battle doctrine, provides a closer look at how Clausewitz was used.


In 1879, Colonel Sigismund von Schlichting argued that the Imperial army's infantry battle doctrine required revision. His important essay, "On the Infantry Battle," suggested that the dense, close-order formations which had proved such easy targets for the French chassepot and mitrailleus had become obsolete.*30 Henceforth, attacks were to be carried out in loose, open-order formations, making use of folds in the terrain, advancing under cover of artillery fire, and aiming at enveloping his exposed flank.*31

This approach to the infantry battle, Schlichting maintained, was the easiest and best way to avoid the devastating effect of modern weaponry. In those instances where the nature of the terrain and density of troop concentrations prevented envelopment, soldiers in the assault were to use spades to "dig in" as close to the enemy position as possible; and to concentrate fire on selected points until the enemy had been sufficiently weakened to allow the attack to resume.*32 Such an operation, Schlichting cautioned, might have to take place over several days, acquiring the character of a methodical battle. Whether a matter of days or hours, however, modern firepower had now reduced the role of the bayonet to little more than a "metaphor for the spirit of the offensive."*33 The real key to success in battle lay in achieving fire superiority.*34

Perhaps his most significant contribution to the development of battle doctrine occurred in 1888, when Schlichting was assigned to a committee responsible for revising the 1847 Infantry Drill Regulations. Due to his influence, the Regulations of 1888 included a much-needed distinction between a meeting engagement, or battle of encounter (Begegnungsgefecht), and a deliberate attack (geplanten Angriff) against a prepared position as well as equal emphasis on operations like defense and withdrawal.*35

While many officers agreed that something had to be done about current battle doctrine, little concensus existed on the extent of change necessary. Shortly after the publication of Schlichting's "On the Infantry Battle," rebuttals appeared.*36 The first significant objections came from von der Goltz, who argued that "a unit broken up into clusters of skirmishers was lost to control. . . . [and] hardly maneuverable."*37 Driving home an attack with open formations seemed impossible. Concern for minimizing casualties, Goltz warned, was all well and good, but "he who ponders too much how to avoid losses, forgets how to bear those that are necessary."*38 While he accepted the increased role of firepower on the battlefield, von der Goltz refused to relegate the bayonet to the status of a mere metaphor. Hence, he employed an alternate aphorism to counter Schlichting: "The bullet is a fool but the bayonet is wise."*39 Flank attacks, Goltz added, offered a reasonable means for avoiding the devastating effect of the enemy's direct-fire weapons. Indeed, faith in the efficacy of flank attacks had been growing in popularity since the campaigns of 1866 and 1870-71.*40

In 1896, the year of his forced retirement, Schlichting's critical review of von der Goltz' The Conduct of War*41 appeared, sparking a debate between himself, Boguslawski, Wilhelm von Scherff, and Hugo von Freytag-Loringhoven (who seems frequently to have spoken on Goltz' behalf). Schlichting found Goltz too indiscriminate in his use of historical examples. "The conduct of war," he argued, "has changed from the ground up."*42 Only the experiences of the most recent past offer any value for the development of current doctrine.*43

Scherff countered that the "siege-type warfare" which Schlichting advocated was not new at all, but in fact centuries old.*44 "Today, just as in earlier times, infantry are able to fight their way across open fields . . . [by] moving forward in a series of alternating, mutually supporting bounds."*45 Freytag argued that the use of axes and spades in battle will not deliver the kind of rapid decision in war that European states require. Furthermore, he added, "who can imagine an entire division of skirmishers creeping forward to attack?"*46 Boguslawski found Schlichting's conclusions concerning St. Privat alarmist in nature. That battle was poorly conducted--"the Saxons were not in position to support the attack of the Guard and the artillery had not conducted its preparatory shelling."*47 Had such preparations been carried out, he argued, the results would not have been so dreadful. He could see no reason, therefore, for Schlichting to call for a new doctrine when "the correct principles for conducting an attack were already at hand."*48 In the eyes of his opponents, then, Schlichting had only proven that battles not conducted in accordance with time-honored principles are doomed to fail.

Generals Egon von Gayl, Rudolf von Caemmerer, and Verdy du Vernois came to Schlichting's defense. Caemmerer supported Schlichting's call for open-order formations, combined with flank attacks, and a more methodical approach to the infantry battle. He also agreed with Schlichting's argument that military technology had changed the nature of modern warfighting.*49 Verdy du Vernois also commented on the soundness of Schlichting's principles.*50 Von Gayl's biography portrayed Schlichting as a flexible and innovative thinker attempting to promote positive change in the Imperial Army.*51

In the course of the discussions over doctrinal issues, uses of Clausewitz increased both in frequency and importance. In the 1870s and 1880s, such appropriations (for they hardly merit being called citations) generally appeared at the beginning or end of a written work, and were rarely footnoted. There were notable exceptions, of course. Virtually every chapter of Goltz' most famous work, The Nation in Arms (1883), for example, drew heavily from On War. The chapter on military command follows very closely Clausewitz' chapter on military genius.*52 Schlichting's 1879 essay, "On the Infantry Battle," on the other hand, uses Clausewitz only three times--in the last five pages of the article.*53 The first two references borrowed from Clausewitz' observation that the defensive form of war was stronger than the offensive, which Schlichting used to underscore his point that modern infantry weapons had made the already difficult task of the attacker even more so. His third use of Clausewitz emphasized the difference between the conduct of war in the age of Napoleon, and the present (thus, implying that not all of the doctrines of the master were still relevant).

Between 1890 and 1914, many of Clausewitz' ideas had gained common currency, often appearing in diffused form throughout the corpus of an essay or article. Footnoting, though still inconsistent, became more frequent as well. General Verdy du Vernois' 1904 essay, for example, "Concerning 'Unforeseen Situations,'" appropriated Clausewitz' expression, "Fog of Uncertainty," on several occasions and without any reference to its author.*54 While von der Goltz' and Schlichting's uses of the master do not suggest a particularly thorough grasp of his thought, their ideas, if not wholly original, were nonetheless intended to be seen as legitimately rooted in the soil of Clausewitz' general concepts.

As the polemics over doctrine intensified in the course of the Schlichting controversy uses of Clausewitz changed. Each side began to use the master's words as the "heavy artillery" needed to support its attacks against the other. Appropriations of Clausewitz served not only to reinforce one's own argument, they also helped to usurp the authority of one's opponent. Each writer attempted to dislodge and discredit his rival by employing Clausewitz as a lever. Thus, the polemics over doctrine had developed into a struggle for professional legitimacy. Schlichting's use of Clausewitz in his critique of von der Goltz' Conduct of War, provides a telling example. Like his earlier work, The Nation in Arms, Goltz had attempted to write Conduct in the spirit of Clausewitz. His chapters on "Generalship" (Heerführung) and "Decisiveness" or "Resolve" (Entschlu8), which appeared in later editions, follow very closely Clausewitz' chapter on military genius. Each chapter of Conduct, in fact, used aphorisms or expressions of the master as an authoritative anchor, and as a springboard for launching into discussions on modern war, attempting, at the same time, to show the timelessness and relevance of Clausewitz. Schlichting pointed out, however, that while Goltz' work may have been "written in the spirit and form" of Clausewitz' On War, it had fallen rather short of that "biblia sacra."*55

Schlichting's critique of Goltz' Conduct extolled Clausewitz, dubbing him the Prussian officer's "teacher and trailblazer," and elevated On War to the status of a "military bible" that can only be appreciated through mature and patient reflection.*56 Such language clearly placed Clausewitz on a pedestal. It also delivered a back-handed slap to Goltz' treatise which offered, in Schlichting's opinion, "unrelated observations without decisive conclusions."*57

Schlichting's opponents also used Clausewitz in similar, if less sophisticated ways. The passages most frequently employed were Clausewitz' disdain for generals who had "no stomach" for bloody battles, and his warning against theories which reduced military success to a formula. For example, responding to Schlichting's argument for avoiding costly frontal attacks, Freytag wrote:

"Certainly it is useful for the officer to keep in mind the great casualties of Mars la Tour, St. Privat, and Plevna, and it is worth the trouble to reflect on how they could have been avoided. . . . [But] war has always been a bloody drama, and it will remain so in the 20th century. In this regard, we also, with Clausewitz, do not think much of those generals who would be victorious without shedding blood."*58

In an article which attacked Schlichting's interpretation of the battle of St. Privat, Colonel von Schack, showing little concern for the lives of his men or for the weeks it took to properly train and equip soldiers for modern war, asked whether, simply for fear of suffering heavy casualties, the Imperial army really ought to forgo the tactics which had brought victory in 1870, and which had served old Blücher and Frederick the Great well indeed. "If we discard them," he argued, "we would also have to discard the laurels of victory which our methods have brought us . . . that is peacetime theory for you! . . . Clausewitz warns against such theories."*59 Schack's expression reflected the uneasiness that many Prusso-German officers felt regarding the long period of peace that had elapsed since the last war. It was generally believed that the longer an army went without experiencing war, the less able it was to endure the hardships and suffering that war demanded. Schack's statement also reveals the desire, again widely shared, that some connection with Prussia's military tradition ought to be preserved and nurtured in the present.

Boguslawski added that Schlichting's principles of strategy were not only ill-founded, they sounded too much like a "recipe for victory."*60 Following Boguslawski's lead, Scherff, in a work purporting to objectively compare the ideas of Schlichting and those of Boguslawski, but which actually amounted to a one-sided attack against the former, employed Clausewitz' admonitions against "rigidly applying theory" in an effort to discredit Schlichting.*61

The polemics over doctrine continued for another decade and a half. By the end of the 1890s it was becoming clear that military writers had to have a repertoire of Clausewitzian expressions at hand. A number of Clausewitz' concepts had in fact become common property among military writers. But at the same time, at least a tacit understanding existed among most of these writers that not all of what Clausewitz had to say applied to the present. While many considered his chapters on war's imponderables timeless, it seemed that new technology in the form of breechloaders, railroads, telegraphs, and airships had rendered much of what Clausewitz had written about tactics and operations obsolete.

In addition, many officers believed that the appearance of new technology, the rise of nation-states, and the advent of million-man armies had compromised Clausewitz' conception of the nature of war. Von der Goltz' 1905 essay, "Karl von Clausewitz," which appeared in the popular periodical, Velhagen and Klasing's Monthly, serves as a case in point.*62 It illustrates, in brief, the credo of the epigones. Clausewitz, Goltz argued, distinguished between two types of war--one in which the aim is the complete defeat of the enemy, and one in which the objective is more limited in nature. But, circumstances have changed since Clausewitz' time, especially in the "stark manifestation of national identity, which permits a people, just like an individual, to feel a sense of honor, and to comprehend when that honor, like one's existence, is threatened."*63 This spirit of nationalism, in turn, pushes every war toward the absolute, as evidenced by the current Russo-Japanese War. Although the Russians wanted to keep the war limited, the "heroic behavior" of the Japanese propelled it towards a more violent extreme, which may only find its end, Goltz prophesied, in the total exhaustion of each side. In Goltz' eyes this summation did not constitute a rejection of Clausewitz, but rather served as a reaffirmation of his "doctrine" of absolute war.*64 Borrowing a quote from the master, Goltz concluded: "'Only a nation whose character has been forged in war can hope to hold a firm position in the political world.'"*65

Despite evidence of the persistence of smaller (less than absolute) conflicts such as the Balkan and Boer Wars, the Imperial army's leading military thinkers, especially Goltz and Bernhardi, preached that the nature of war itself had changed. Governments could now mobilize the entire technological and "psychical" force of a nation to wage a war of "national existence."*66 While this argument clearly amounts to a justification for the militarization of German society, it was founded on more than a little fact. To the epigones, losing such a war meant the loss of a people's right to exist as a nation, not to mention the annihilation of the vague but nonetheless powerful notion of "national honor." For Imperial Germany's military writers, national honor was the natural projection of their sense of personal and collective honor onto the nation as whole:*67 The feeling of personal honor, the awareness of one's individuality which lifts humanity above the conditions of everyday life and connects it with the higher order of things, is nothing else than a concentration of moral strength in the individual. It appears to the soldier as a type of privilege, a sacred possession. . . . History teaches that nations which are not ready to defend their honor with arms sink into oblivion.*68

To these men, then, wars of national existence were tantamount to fighting a duel. This "reality," in turn, so the militarists claimed, justified placing the army, especially the officer corps, in a pre-eminent position in German society.*69 It also meant that, on the home front, young minds and bodies had to be trained, educated, and conditioned for war. The army, as Imperial Germany's "school of the nation," was to play a key role in achieving this aim.*70 At the same time, this "new" phenomenon dictated that, in the conduct of war itself, matters of military necessity, such as the invasion of Belgium, were to be accepted without question. In other words, foreign and domestic policies were to be subordinated to strategic necessity.

If by the end of the nineteenth century the advent of new military technology had rendered Clausewitz' chapters on tactics and operations problematic, his passages concerning the role of theory, the genius of the commander, and the ineluctability of war's imponderables remained essential to an officer's understanding of war. "Freytag's collation of the psychological elements of Clausewitz' doctrine," Goltz noted, "is something our era needs, [since] the tremendous development of technology creates the danger that the essense of generalship will either be overlooked or lost in a fog of irrelevancy."*71

In some ways a more perceptive military writer, Freytag seemed to have realized that the most effective way to appropriate Clausewitz was to cite lengthier passages from his writings and to document them more completely. In fact, Freytag's style of directly quoting passages (footnoting the book and chapters) from Clausewitz, rather than merely referencing his expressions, amounted to a new "tactic" in the debate over doctrinal change. His writings thus achieved a higher level of legitimacy--visibly removing doubt about what Clausewitz had actually said, and where and how he had said it. The fact that he was cited by other military writers speaks to the success of his method.*72

Not all of the works of the epigones praised Clausewitz' ideas. After his retirement in 1909, Friedrich von Bernhardi tried to establish himself as a leading military theorist with ideas more current (and by implication relevant) than those of Clausewitz. In the introduction to his magnum opus, On War of Today, which he wished to offer as a replacement for Clausewitz' On War, Bernhardi declared: "We have not yet grasped clearly enough a uniform point of view to which all individual efforts must subordinate themselves if an harmonious whole is to emerge."*73 This phrase obviously proceeds from Clausewitz' expression: "Nothing is more important in life than finding the right standpoint for seeing and judging events, and then adhering to it. One point and one only yields an integrated view of all phenomena."*74 Caemmerer, too, employed this Clausewitzian expression in the preface to his Development, but he gave due credit to its author.*75

Bernhardi also attempted to supersede the master by challenging Clausewitz' expression that the defensive form of war was stronger than the offensive. Bernhardi argued that since the defender cannot rest until he has vanquished the attacker, and since he must attack to do so, the offensive is the stronger form of war.*76 Clausewitz, on the other hand, had never argued that attack and defense were exclusive concepts--an offensive consists of defensive measures, and a defensive involves offensive blows. Moreover, and this point speaks directly to Clausewitz' appreciation for the different natures of attack and defense, the defender need merely ward off the blows of the attacker to prevail, while the attacker must either obtain something from the defender or vanquish him.


In the course of the polemics discussed above, we have seen how uses of Clausewitz began as out-of-context references, such as Schlichting's use of his dictum that the "defensive form of war was stronger than the offensive," which were intended to lend authority to a particular argument. These appropriations gradually evolved into efforts to turn that authority against one's opponents, as evidenced by Shack's use of Clausewitz' comment that "we do not care to hear of generals who would be victorious without shedding blood." Finally, the works of Goltz, Bernhardi, Caemmerer, and Freytag demonstrate that the polemics over doctrine resulted in a struggle to define (or redefine) more precisely the essence of Clausewitz' doctrine. Each side of the doctrinal debate attempted to show that it had the better grasp of Clausewitz' precepts.

Despite its general inconclusiveness, the Schlichting controversy reflected not only a proper professional focus on the problematics of doctrinal change, it also raised a number of important questions that would continue to occupy Imperial Germany's military writers for the next several decades: How should one coordinate the separate combat arms during the conduct of battle? How will new technologies of mass transportation and communication impact leadership and command and control? Which contributions of Clausewitz are still relevant? How useful are military-historical examples in the education of an officer and the development of doctrine? How far back into history is too far? To what extent is it desirable to develop and prescribe principles of war?*77

The nineteenth-century crisis in warfighting had thus shaped military thinking around urgent themes. It is perhaps too obvious a point to say that Clausewitz and the epigones dealt with different problems in different historical eras. Nonetheless, the evidence is clear. Axiomatic pragmatism went hand-in-hand with the professionalism of men like Goltz, Bernhardi, and Schlichting, who were responsible for training officers and soldiers to perform in combat. The time had come to address the changed circumstances of warfighting, and attempt to comprehend their impact at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war. The polemics over doctrinal change in fact reveal that, beyond Schlieffen and the GGS at least, German military thinking remained lively throughout the decades before the First World War. That it had such disappointing results between 1914 and 1918 only proves that theory and doctrine are not the same thing, the latter is far more a political process than the former.

Clausewitz' ubiquity in German military literature before the Great War also allows us to extend further the conclusions of Clausewitzian scholars like Werner Hahlweg, Peter Paret, Michael Howard, Jehuda Wallach, and Ulrich Marwedel.*78 By separating Clausewitz' original thought from the traditions of confusion and misrepresentation which have surrounded it, these historians have contributed significantly to our understanding of the nature and extent of his influence. Thanks to their efforts we know that the neo-Clausewitzians arrived at a one-sided representation of the master by stressing only four of his many themes: 1) the uses and limitations of theory; 2) the impact of psychological and moral forces on war; 3) the importance of striving for a decisive battle; and, 4) the superiority of a strategy of annihilation.

As a complement to this list we might add that neo-Clausewitzianism included four basic but closely related attitudes: 1) a desire to see Clausewitz and On War as the source of current Prusso-German military doctrine; 2) a penchant for appropriating his "voice" in the form of aphoristic and pithy axioms; 3) an interest in proving his continued relevance to warfighting despite the doctrinal and ideological challenges of the "present"; and, 4) an imitation of his style and form.

That Clausewitz' thoughts were indeed misappropriated and misrepresented, often to the point of being militarized, does not negate his influence but confirms it. Misrepresentation and misuse (according to Renaissance intellectual historian Paul Kristeller) constitute valid forms of intellectual influence.*79 Each historical generation appropriates, eclectically and syncreticly, the ideas of its predecessors and combines them with present concerns, until the resultant "accretions, like the tributaries of a broadening river, bec[o]me integral parts of the continuing tradition."*80 In other words, the "original thought" itself has but a fleeting existence in the history of ideas. Renaissance thinkers and writers like Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandolla, and Lorenzo Valla, for example, revived and applied the doctrines of Plato, Aristotle and other classical philosophers to their own age. Although distorted, the ideas of these masters certainly exercised an influence upon Renaissance intellectual society.

Arguably, then, contemporary historians have held the epigones to an anachronistic standard of intellectual influence. As Schlieffen's introduction to the fifth edition of On War implied, Clausewitz' influence was considered more or less spiritual--subliminal--rather than the result of a deliberate analysis and application of his thought: Whoever amongst us teaches war, does so, consciously or unconsciously, by more or less closely following Clausewitz, and drawing from the inexhaustible reservoir of his thought.*81 Or, as Bernhardi suggested, "ideas from others flow forth to combine with one's own to form new structures, since consciously or unconsciously, we appropriate the mental efforts of others."*82

In an age in which military thinkers believed that the natures of both, warfare and international politics, had "changed from the ground up"*83 only portions of Clausewitz' doctrine were likely to remain applicable. Hence, for the epigones, influence meant not a direct application of Clausewitz' thought but the further stimulation and direction his ideas might afford their own. From this perspective, then, Clausewitz' influence was significant, indeed.


1. "Über Militär-Bildung und Wissenschaft," Beihefte zum Militär-Wochenblatt No. 1, (1873), 29. (Hereafter, Beihefte).

2. Herbert Rosinski, "Scharnhorst to Schlieffen: The Rise and Decline of German Military Thought," Naval War College Review 29 (1976): 83-103. See, also: Martin Kitchen, "The Political History of Clausewitz," The Journal of Strategic Studies 11, March 1988, No. 1, p. 47, n. 25, which refers to the article as "valuable" due to its analysis of Clausewitz' vision of war as a "totality." Rosinski (1903-1962) lectured on Clausewitz at Oxford University during the autumn of 1937, and was a member of E. M. Earle's seminar on military studies at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton from 1940-41. He also delivered lectures on Clausewitz at the U.S. Naval War College, and authored The German Army (London: Hogarth Press, 1939), a study of the background, organization, and doctrines of the German Army which saw numerous editions in Great Britain and the United States. Another seminal work, The Development of Naval Thought (Newport: Naval War College Press, 1977), was published posthumously. For a detailed biography see: Richard Stebbins, The Career of Herbert Rosinski: an Intellectual Pilgrimage (New York: P. Long, 1989).

3. Rosinski, 97, 95.

4. Rosinski, 103, n. 9.

5. The historical literature examining turn-of-the-century German military thought is too extensive to list completely. On the one hand, the work of Jay Luvaas, Herbert Rosinski, Jehuda Wallach, and Martin Kitchen has portrayed German military thought as tactically and strategically "static." Jay Luvaas, "European Military Thought and Doctrine," The Theory and Practice of War, 69-93; Rosinski, "Scharnhorst to Schlieffen;" Jehuda Wallach, Das Dogma der Vernichtungsschlacht: Die Lehren von Clausewitz und Schlieffen und ihre Wirkungen in zwei Weltkriege (Frankfurt am Main: Bernard & Graefe, 1967); and Martin Kitchen, "The Traditions of German Strategic Thought," The International History Review I, No. 2, (April 1979): 163-190. Joachim Hoffmann's work, which pre-dated Rosinski's and Kitchen's, offers an opposing point of view by tracing the lively doctrinal debates that occurred between leading military thinkers like Schlichting and von der Goltz. Joachim Hoffmann, "Wandlungen im Kriegsbild der preu8ischen Armee zur Zeit der nationalen Einigungskriege," Militärgeschichtlichen Mitteilungen No. 1 (1968): 5-33; and its continuation, "Die Kriegslehre des Generals von Schlichting," Militärgeschichtlichen Mitteilungen No. 1 (1969): 5-35. More recently, Arden Bucholz and Dennis Showalter have offered new interpretations of turn-of-the-century German military thinking emphasizing its attempts to cope with modernization. Arden Bucholz, Moltke, Schlieffen and Prussian War Planning (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1991); Dennis E. Showalter, "Infantry Weapons, Infantry Tactics, and the Armies of Germany, 1849-64," European Studies Review 4 (April 1974): 119-40; "The Eastern Front and German Military Planning, 1871-1914--Some Observations," East European Quarterly XV, No. 2, (June 1981): 163-80; "Army and Society in Imperial Germany: The Pains of Modernization," Journal of Contemporary History 18, No. 4, (October 1983): 583-618; "Even Generals Wet Their Pants: The First Three Weeks in East Prussia, August 1914," War & Society Vol. 2, No. 2, (September 1984): 60-86; "Goltz and Bernhardi: The Institutionalization of Originality in the Imperial German Army," Defense Analysis Vol. 3, No. 1, (1987): 305-318; and his recent book, Tannenberg: Clash of Empires (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1991).

6. The Infantry Drill Regulations (Exerzierreglement für die Infanterie), upon which, because this branch was the mainstay of battle, everything else depended, were revised in 1888 and 1906; the cavalry regulations in 1895 and 1909; the artillery regulations in 1876, 1907, and 1910; and the Field Service Regulations (Felddienstordnung) in 1887, 1900, and 1908.

7. The following works by Boguslawski are but a sample of the army's attacks against Social Democracy: A. von Boguslawski, Contra Bebel und Bleibtreu. Noch ein Wort in Heeressachen für weitere Volkskreise (Berlin: A. Schall, 1899); Nicht rede--aber fehde wider die Socialdemocratie (Berlin: H. Walter, 1904); and Los vom Joch der Socialdemocratie! Ein Mahnwort von A. von Boguslawski (Leipzig: W. Weicher, 1905). For samples of its rejection of pacifism, see: C. Freiherrn v.d. Goltz, "Der ewige Friede und der nächste Krieg," Deutsche Revue 29 (February 1904): 129-37; and Colmar Frhr. v. d. Goltz, "Noch einmal der 'ewige Friede,'" Deutsche Revue 29, No. 2, (July 1904): 23-25; which is a response to pacifist Bertha Suttner's article, "Der ewige Krieg und die Friedensbewegung," Deutsche Revue 29, No. 2, (July 1904): 18-23.

8. Friedrich v. Bernhardi, Deutschland und der nächste Krieg (Berlin: J.G. Cotta'sche, 1911).

9. Moltke listed Homer's works, the Bible, and On War among three of the five books which most influenced him. Eberhard Kessel, Moltke (Stuttgart: K.F. Koehler, 1957), 108. Cited in Michael Howard, "Influence of Clausewitz," On War trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1976), 30. In numerous conversations and essays Moltke stressed how valuable Clausewitz' writings were to individuals studying war. See Ulrich Marwedel, Carl von Clausewitz: Persönlichkeit und Wirkungsgeschichte seines Werkes bis 1918 (Boppard am Rhein: Harald Boldt Verlag, 1978), 130.

10. Frhr. v. Freytag-Loringhoven, Macht der Persönlichkeit im Kriege (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1911), 44-5.

11. Frhr. v. Freytag-Loringhoven, "Theorie und Praxis bei König Friedrich, Napoleon und Moltke," Vierteljahrshefte für Truppenführung und Heereskunde V, No. 1, (1909): 28-47, here 45. Hereafter cited as Vjhft.

12. Vom Kriege itself went through ten editions between 1905 and 1918, compared to only four between 1832 and 1880. The first edition appeared in 1832/34, the second twenty years later, in 1853, the third in 1867, and the fourth in 1880. In 1905, the fifth edition appeared (with an introduction by Schlieffen). The sixth appeared in 1911 and the seventh in 1912. The eighth (1914), ninth, tenth, eleventh (1915), and twelfth (1917) were all wartime editions, abridged, portable, and usually featuring selected chapters only. The thirteenth (1918) edition recaptures Schlieffen's 1905 introduction, and contains endorsements from a number of the First World War's prominent general officers: Prince Leopold, von Bülow, von Eichhorn, von Mackensen, and von Kluck, among others. Vom Kriege, Hahlweg (19th Ed.), pp. 1362-64.

13. See Werner Hahlweg's introduction to Vom Kriege (19th Ed.), pp. 69-70; and On War, Howard and Paret, 608.

14. Hoffmann, "Kriegslehre Schlichting," 7. Dieter Storz, Kriegsbild und Rüstung vor 1914: Europäische Landstreitkräfte vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1992) looks at the doctrinal reforms of all of the major powers.

15. See, for example: General-Major Blume, Strategie. Eine Studie, 2nd Ed., (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1886); Schlichting, Taktische und strategische Grundsätze der Gegenwart (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1898-9); C. Frhr. v. d. Goltz, Das Volk in Waffen. Ein Buch über Heerwesen und Kriegführung unserer Zeit (Berlin: R. v. Decker's Verlag, 1883). The book went through numerous editions up to 1913; and Friedrich v. Bernhardi, Vom heutigen Kriege (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1912).

16. R. Caemmerer, Die Entwicklung der strategischen Wissenschaft im 19. Jahrhundert (Berlin: Wilhelm Baensch, 1904), 123.

17. Lundby was a small, outpost-sized engagement fought between Danish and Prussian infantry (180 and 120 men respectively) which lasted less than twenty minutes. The Danes suffered 88 casualties to the Prussian three. The disparity in losses was largely due to the higher rate of fire and accuracy of the latter's needle gun. At Podol a Prussian battalion-size element repelled a counter-attack by an Austrian brigade, inflicting 1100 casualties while suffering 130. Again, the higher rate of fire of the Prussian breech-loading needle gun when compared to the slower, more cumbersome Austrian muzzle-loader accounted for the difference in number of casualties. Dennis E. Showalter, Railroads and Rifles. Soldiers, Technology, and the Unification of Germany (Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1975), 115-16 and 125-6. By the Franco-Prussian War, however, the needle gun was already obsolete: the French chassepot outranged it by more than 1000 yards. At Spichern, for example, the Prussians suffered 4500 casualties to the French 2000 largely because the French were able to open fire long before the Prussians. Michael Howard, The Franco-Prussian War: The German Invasion of France, 1870-1871 (London and New York: Routledge, 1989), 7, n. 4, and 98-99.

18. Howard, Franco-Prussian War, 175.

19. Compare: v. Keim, "Der gegenwärtige Stand der Gefechtslehre und die Ausbildung zum Gefecht," Beihefte (1890), 1-22, esp. 12; and v. Schack, "Der Angriff der Garde auf St. Privat," Beihefte (1901), 295-318.

20. Boguslawski, Taktische Folgerungen aus dem Krieg von 1870/71 (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1872).

21. [Boguslawski], Ueber den Einflu8 der Feuerwaffen auf die Taktik. Historisch-kritische Untersuchungen von einem höheren Offizier (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1872). The work was published anonymously. Cited from: Hoffmann, "Wandlungen," 21.

22. While skirmishers were generally used to harrass and wear down an enemy standing in close-order formation, Scherff proposed using them more aggressively, as small combat teams using fire and maneuver to close with the enemy. Scherff, Studien zur neuen Infanterie-Taktik, 2 Vols., (Berlin: A. Bath, 1873).

23. J.v. Verdy du Vernois, Studien über Truppen-Führung, 2 Vols., (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1870-73, and 1874-5).

24. Ernst v. Hoffbauer, Taktik der Feld-Artillerie unter eingehender Berücksightigung der Erfahungen der Kriege von 1866 und 1870-71 wie des Gefechtes der Infanterie und Cavallerie für Offiziere aller Waffen (Berlin: F. Schneider, 1876); A.v. Schell, Studien über die Taktik der Feldartillerie (Berlin: A. Bath, 1877).

25. Another problem which was not addressed in existing artillery doctrine lay in the need to accomplish two competing missions simultaneously: 1) silencing the enemy artillery as soon as possible; and 2) placing mass preparatory fires on an enemy position like St. Privat. The obvious solution of splitting the available batteries usually left too few to accomplish either mission effectively. Hoffmann, "Wandlungen," 25.

26. Hoffmann, "Wandlungen," 26-7.

27. F. von Bernhardi, Unsere Kavallerie im nächsten Krieg, (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1903); and Reiterdienst, (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1910).

28. Bernhardi, Vom heutigen Krieg, 343-68; see also his essays: "Die Elemente des modernen Krieges, Beihefte No. 9 (1898): 429-54; and "Ueber angriffsweise Kriegführung," Beihefte No. 4 (1905): 125-52.

29. In 1873 the first tentative steps toward doctrinal reform occurred when a Royal order decreed that the standard formation for operations within the enemy's radius of engagement was the company rather than battalion column. Two years later the War Ministry acknowledged that this step was only a half-measure and resolved to revise the current (1847) Infantry Drill Regulations. Hoffmann, "Wandlungen," 23.

30. V. Schlichting, "Ueber das Infanteriegefecht," Beihefte, 37-68. At the time the essay was published, Schlichting held the post of Chief of Staff of the Guard Corps.

31. Schlichting, "Infanteriegefecht," 38-9, 48.

32. Schlichting, Grundsätze, I: 106, III: 133. Due to the lively controversy which his ideas caused, Schlichting published this three-volume work in an effort to outline his position in greater detail and address the objections which Boguslawski and others had raised against him.

33. Schlichting, "Infanteriegefecht," 53.

34. Schlichting, "Infanteriegefecht," 47, 61, 65.

35. Hoffmann provides more detail concerning Schlichting's contributions to German military thinking, including his later works, such as Moltke und Benedek in "Kriegslehre Schlichting," 5-35. For more information regarding his military career see Werner Gembruch, "General von Schlichting," Wehrwissenschaftliche Rundschau 70 (1960): 188-196; and E. Freiherr von Gayl, General von Schlichting und sein Lebenswerk (Berlin: Georg Stilke, 1913).

36. See, for example: v. Kessel, "Zur Taktik der Infanterie von 1880," Beiheft (1880): 331-398.

37. Goltz, Volk in Waffen, 281.

38. Goltz, Volk in Waffen, 282.

39. The passage is an undocumented citation from Suvarov. Volk in Waffen, 279-80. Freytag-Loringhoven used a similar quotation of Suvarov in his 1899 essay, "Friedensarbeit und Kriegslehren," Beihefte 9, No. 4, (1899), 337.

40. "In dem umfassenden und gleichzeitigen Vorgehen aller unserer Streitkräfte gegen Front und Flanke des Feindes liegt die beste Gewähr für den Erfolg des Angriffs über die Verteidigung." Blume, Strategie, 169.

41. Colmar von der Goltz, Kriegführung. Kurze Lehre ihrer wichtigsten Grundsätze und Formen, (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1895).

42. V. Schlichting, "Taktische und strategische Grundsätze der Gegenwart. Eine Betrachtung, angeleitet durch die Schrift: Kriegführung. Kurze Lehre ihrer wichtigsten Grundsätze und Formen von Colmar Frhrn. von der Goltz, Verfasser von 'Das Volk in Waffen'. Beihefte No. 4, (1896), 194.

43. Schlichting, "Grundsätze," 224.

44. W. v. Scherff, Der Schlachtenangriff im Lichte der Schlichting'schen "Taktischen Grundsätze" und der Boguslawski'schen "Betrachtungen." Ein kritischer Vergleich (Berlin: R. Eisenschmidt, 1898), 154.

45. "Ein kritischer Vergleich," Jahrbücher für die Deutsche Armee und Marine 108, No. 1, (1898); 78-100, here 81.

46. Freytag, "Friedensarbeit," 336.

47. V. Boguslawski, "Strategisch-taktischer Meinungsstreit," Militär-Wochenblatt No. 32, (1902), 964. Hereafter cited as M-W.

48. Boguslawski, "Meinungsstreit," 964.

49. [v. Caemmerer,] "Das Gefecht mit Kommandoeinheiten und das Treffengefecht," M-W (1895): 771-781; "Der Kampf um die Schlichtingische Lehre," M-W (1902): Nos. 22, 25, 26, 28; and "Ein Stellungskampf im Divisionsmanöver," Beihefte (1902): 425-466; and "Zum 80. Geburtstage des Generals der Infanterie v. Schlichting," M-W (1909): No. 126. Caemmerer also defended Schlichting in his study of the development of strategical science in the nineteenth century: Caemmerer, Entwicklung, esp. 191-208.

50. J. von Verdy du Vernois, Studien über den Krieg (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1892), Vol. III, Book 7.

51. E. Freiherr von Gayl, General v. Schlichting und sein Lebenswerk (Berlin: Georg Stilke, 1913).

52. Compare: Volk in Waffen, Chapter 1 of Part II, 54-74, to Vom Kriege, Book I, Chapter III.

53. Schlichting, "Infanteriegefecht," 63, 64, and 67.

54. J. v. Verdy du Vernois, "gber 'unvorgesehene Situationen,'" Vjhft No. 3, (1904): 319-346, esp. 345-6.

55. Schlichting, "Grundsätze," 195.

56. Schlichting, "Grundsätze," 193, 194.

57. Schlichting, "Grundsätze," 228.

58. Freytag, "Friedensarbeit," 335. Freytag and von der Goltz reinforced one another's appropriations and interpretations of Clausewitz. For example, Freytag's last line is drawn almost verbatim from Goltz's, Kriegführung, "Mit Clausewitz halten wir nichts mehr von denjenigen Felherrn, welche ohne Menschenblut siegen wollen." pp. 257-8.

59. Schack, "Schlacht von Gravelotte," 317.

60. Boguslawski, Strategische Erörterungen, 6.

61. Scherff, Der Schlachtenangriff, 148.

62. C. Frhr. v. d. Goltz, "Karl von Clausewitz," Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte XIX, No. 9, (May 1905): 324-36.

63. Goltz, "Clausewitz," 336.

64. Strictly speaking, Clausewitz described no doctrine of absolute war. Rather, he established the concept of absolute war--an unattainable extreme--which served to illustrate the various elements of his overall theory of war.

65. Goltz, "Clausewitz," 336.

66. See especially: Goltz, Volk in Waffen, and Bernhardi, Vom heutigen Kriege. Similar ideas are expressed in Freytag's, Krieg und Politik in der Neuzeit (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1911); and Politik und Kriegführung (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1918).

67. Military honor evolved as a defense against human weakness in the form of fear and loss of morale in order that the warrior might perform his primary function in tribal society--fighting. It possesses both personal and collective aspects which compell an individual to act according to an established code or ethos. Prior to the twentieth century it was closely associated with the concept of duelling. Karl Demeter, Das Deutsche Offizierkorps in Gesellschaft und Staat 1650-1945, 4th. Ed., (Frankfurt am Main: Bernard & Graefe, 1965), 116-153.

68. Freytag, Macht, 228-29.

69. Goltz, Volk in Waffen, 46-7.

70. Reinhard Höhn, Die Armee als Erziehungsschule der Nation (Bad Harzburg, 1963).

71. Goltz, "Clausewitz," 336.

72. Goltz praised Freytag's work on the power of personality in war in his article, "Clausewitz," 336. Likewise, Freytag's Macht is referred to as a classic in Kuntze, "gber das kriegsgeschichtliche Studium des Offiziers," Beihefte No. 13, (1912): 388-405.

73. Bernhardi, Vom heutigen Kriege, 3.

74. On War, Howard and Paret, 606.

75. Caemmerer, Entwicklung, v.

76. Friedrich von Bernhardi, "Clausewitz uber Angriff und Verteidigung," Beihefte, No. 12, (1911): 399-412.

77. For an excellent discussion concerning the Imperial Army's struggle to avoid adopting "principles of war," which many Prussian officers considered an invitation to dogmatism, see John I. Alger, The Quest for Victory (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1982).

78. Werner Hahlweg, "Das Clausewitzbild Einst und Jetzt," Vom Kriege, Hahlweg, 1-70; Werner Hahlweg, Clausewitz, Soldat, Politiker, Denker (Göttingen: Munsterschmidt, 1957); Peter Paret, "Clausewitz and the Nineteenth Century," The Theory and Practice of War ed. Michael Howard (New York: Frederick A. Praeger, 1966), 23-41; Michael Howard, Clausewitz (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983); "The Influence of Clausewitz," and Peter Paret, "The Genesis of On War," On War, Howard and Paret, 27-44, and 3-25, respectively; Peter Paret, "Clausewitz," Makers of Modern Strategy from Machiavelli to the Nuclear Age ed. Peter Paret (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 186-213; Jehuda L. Wallach, Das Dogma der Vernichtungsschlacht, Die Lehren von Clausewitz und Schlieffen und ihre Wirkung in Zwei Weltkriegen (Frankfurt: Bernard & Graefe, 1967); Kriegstheorien: Ihre Entwicklung im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt a. Main: Bernard & Graefe Verlag, 1972); and his essay "Misperceptions of Clausewitz' On War by the German Military," in Clausewitz and Modern Strategy, 213-39; Marwedel, Carl von Clausewitz.

79. For example, Paul Kristeller discusses the influence of revised versions of Platonic and Aristotelean doctrine on Renaissance thinking. Paul Oskar Kristeller, Renaissance Thought and its Sources (New York: Columbia University Press, 1979).

80. Kristeller, Renaissance Thought, 50.

81. Cited from Schlieffen's introduction (drafted by Freytag-Loringhoven) to the fifth edition of Vom Kriege, 1905.

82. Bernhardi, Vom heutigen Kriege, vii.

83. See Schlichting, "Grundsätze," 194; and Erich Ludendorff, Kriegführung und Politik (Berlin: E.S. Mittler, 1922), 23.

Back to top of article.

Back to readings.

Back to Clausewitz Homepage.