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Notes on video lecture:
Carl von Clausewitz: On War
Choose from these words to fill the blanks below:
escalation, politics, 1831, Prussian, army, total, asymmetry, sovereignty, support, military, finitudes, existential, state, rational, influence, inhibit, concept, unfinished, break, puzzle, control, duel, trinity, mimetic, facets, relative, logical, antagonism, Napoleonic, chameleon, fragmentary, compel, Politik, cholera
Carl von Clausewitz (1780-        )
in his book "On War" tried to distill a                of war
a book that would have lasting                    on thoughts about war in the 19th century and beyond
On War
a collection of              pieces that don't add up to one unified image
struggled in his life to come to terms with the profound changes in warfare that he experienced in the                      wars
died in the                epidemic
tried to arrive at a systematic understanding of warfare
on the other hand, the                        structure reflects the difficulty to write about the concept of war
war is on the one hand a                   , meaning it has different shapes, forms, and manifestations
war is a            phenomenon
encompasses a society
a unity phenomenon
can be brought under a single concept
a tension to arrive at a concept of war
yet has many various             
five of the most important definitions of war
1. a         
an antagonism in which two parties act on their will in order to              the other to act in some way
an act act of force to compel the enemy to do our will
therefore is fundamentally an instrument of                 
2. distinction between absolute war and                  war
war is the organized application of violence, and there is no                limit to the amount of violence that can be applied
in the concept of war as an                     , there is a natural dynamic which tends toward escalation of ever more extreme uses of force and violence
a. reciprocity
b. loss of               
sets up the idea of friction
c.                principle
antagonistic parties will imitate each other because they are in a competitive relationship and by imitating each other this will have a natural                      of violence towards an extreme
               this tendency to the extremity towards violence
1. human psychology
human frailties and                   
bad judgement
lack of courage
2.                    between attack and defense
3. anti-escalation
to            the cycle of mimetic imitation
3. war is the continuation of politics by other means
ambiguity of how to understand the word               
broad definition
the realization of the political
narrow definition
legitimate and                  instrument of policy
war is rational to the extent that it serves rational means
4. war as the holy               
a sociological organization
involves three different forms of agencies within a nation-state
1. professional army
2. national-state and                       
declares the state of war and sends the         
3. the people
has to                the effort of war
people are not on the side of war
only the                  is active but not the government
5. the importance of chance and fiction
war is the rational activity of the           
war is fundamentally predicated by friction and chance
war is a rational activity that tries to master chance
the form of war is to be a game, a war game
the attempt for different parties to master the game


mimesis, n. from the Ancient Greek μίμησις, the imitative representation of nature and human behavior, imitation of another's gestures and actions  "In the concept of war as antagonism, there is a natural dynamic which tends toward escalation of ever more extreme uses of force and violence which include three aspects: (1) reciprocity, (2) loss of control, and a (3) mimetic principle in which antagonistic parties will imitate each other in a competitive relationship which leads to a natural escalation of violence towards an extreme."
salient, n. a piece of land or section of fortification that juts out to form an angle  "The front line of World War I formed a salient surrounding Ypres on three sides, and this area saw some fof the most bitter and contested fighting during the war."


Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831)
Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the moral, psychological, and political aspects of war in his book "On War" ("Vom Kriege")
  • a realist and, while in some respects a romantic, also drew heavily on the rationalist ideas of the European Enlightenment
  • stressed the dialectical interaction of diverse factors, noting how unexpected developments unfolding under the "fog of war", that in the face of incomplete, dubious, and often completely erroneous information and high levels of fear, doubt, and excitement, nevertheless call for rapid decisions by alert commanders
  • he argued that war could not be quantified or reduced to mapwork, geometry, and graphs
  • "War is the continuation of politics by other means."

Spelling Corrections:

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Hodgson and Reinach on Foreboding