Theories and opinions about War - Clausewitz & others.
“War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to
fulfil our will.''
"War is neither a scientific game nor an international sport; it is an act of violence, characterized by destruction."
" ... war exists in the realm of chance. The most certain idea about war lies in the uncertainty of it."
(...) "War is only a branch of political activity… it is in no sense autonomous."
(...)‘War is nothing more than the continuation of politics by other means…
For political aims are the end and war is the means, and the means can
never be conceived without the end."
" When the … required outlay becomes so great that political object is no longer
equal in value, the object must be given up, and peace will be the
result. In wars where one side cannot disarm the other side entirely,
the motives towards peace will rise and fall on each side depending on
the probability of future success."
Carl von Clausewitz: ON WAR. Book
1, Chapter 1
"(...) There are two motives that lead men to war in the absolute and total
sense, instinctive hostility and hostile intention.
In terms of absolute
war, Clausewitz discusses three characteristics that make it unique.
First, the utmost use of force is necessary. Second, the aim is to
disarm the enemy. Lastly, absolute war calls for the utmost exertion of
powers. However, absolute war only exists in the abstract ..."
"(...) three objectives for success (in war). First, the armed forces of the opponent
must be destroyed. Second, the country must be occupied. Third, the will
of the enemy must be broken."
"(...) Though Clausewitz admits that war could begin again directly after the
peace, he argues that it only serves to prove that war does not carry in
itself elements for a final settlement of peace. War, though not always
constant, is continual. "
"(...) Throughout Vom Kriege, Carl von Clausewitz, continually refers
to a ‘remarkable’ or ‘paradoxical’ trinity which drives real war,
composed of 1) primordial violence, enmity, and hatred 2) chance and
probability, and 3) the element of war of subordination to rational
policy. The trinity serves as a magnet to balance the three forces of
war – the people, the military, and the statesmen. Clausewitz argues
that the passions that kindle war must be innate in the people, the
courage and talent of the commander and army plays into the realm of
probability and chance, but the political aims are only the business of
the government alone. Though, without the three branches working in
harmony, war cannot be successfully waged."
Jordan Lindell, Nov 26 2009
‘What Clausewitz meant is that war… is not an autonomous game produced
by fixed external or internal constraints; it is instead a matter of
political choice, reflecting all the variety of political purposes that
make wars into exterminations.’
(Doyle 1997: 23)
“Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die.”
― Herbert Hoover
“When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Le diable et le bon
“I am young, I am twenty years old; yet I know nothing of life but
despair, death, fear, and fatuous superficiality cast over an abyss of sorrow.
I see how peoples are set against one another, and in silence, unknowingly,
foolishly, obediently, innocently slay one another.”
Maria Remarque, All
Quiet on the Western Front
true war story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor
suggest models of proper human behavior, nor restrain men from doing the things
men have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end
of a war story you feel uplifted, or if you feel that some small bit of
rectitude has been salvaged from the larger waste, then you have been made the
victim of a very old and terrible lie. There is no rectitude whatsoever. There
is no virtue. As a first rule of thumb, therefore, you can tell a true war
story by its absolute and uncompromising allegiance to obscenity and evil.”
O'Brien, The Things
who joyfully marches to music rank and file has already earned my contempt. He
has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would
surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once.
Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance and
all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism, how violently I
hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to
shreds than be part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing
under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.”
― Albert Einstein
isn't the cause of wars, it's the excuse.”
― Jasper Fforde, The
are for children. This is war, and in war the only crime is to lose.”
― Joe Abercrombie, Last
Argument of Kings