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Clausewitz's Puzzle: The Political Theory of War 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0199202690
ISBN-10: 0199202699
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Editorial Reviews

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"This work makes important aspects of the Prussian's thinking more accessible to students and non-specialists."--International History Review


About the Author


Andreas Herberg-Rothe, Dr. phil. habil., Private Lecturer at the Institute for Social Sciences (since 2001), Humboldt University Berlin; Visiting fellow at London School of Economics and Political Science (2005-2006), Associate of the Oxford Leverhulme Programme 'The changing character of war' (2004-2005); Post doctoral thesis: 'Enigma Clausewitz' (Expert witnesses: Bredow, Muenkler, Paret) at Humboldt University (2000).
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199202699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199202690
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 0.8 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,188,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
Dr. Andreas Herberg-Rothe's book Clausewitz's Puzzle is a book for those interested in cutting-edge strategic theory from a Clausewitzian perspective. Clausewitz's On War is a complex work because, as the author points out, it actually contains two different books at the same time: one is a Napoleonic "art of war" which is of more interest to historians, although certain aspects still apply today. The second "book" is Clausewitz's general theory of war which is the basic element of Clausewitzian strategic theory, provides the base upon which all the various theorists of this school of theory have built their applications. What complicates matters is that the two books are jumbled together as it were (although On War's Books 1, 6 and 8 contain most of the general theory). However it is Chapter 1 of Book !, What is War?, which provides the clearest explanation of the general theory as a whole. It is for that reason that Herberg-Rothe focuses on this chapter.

The first section is devoted to an interesting discussion of the effects of three Napoleonic battles that Clausewitz had personally experienced and how these three very different engagements influenced his ever more complex view of unlimited war. The first was Jena-Auerstedt in 1806 which destroyed the Prussian Army inherited from Fredrick the Great and forced the defeated Prussian state to not only renounce important territorial holdings, but enter into a humiliating alliance with Napoleon. This opened for Clausewitz the way in which political changes lead to changes in how wars are fought, the mass mobilization of disciplined and dedicated citizen soldiers allowed for concentration of mass armies in place and time and led to decisive victories.
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