While many scholars agree that Clausewitz’s On War is frequently misunderstood, almost none have explored his methodology to see whether it might enhance our understanding of his concepts. This book lays out Clausewitz’s methodology in a brisk and straightforward style. It then uses that as a basis for understanding his contributions to the ever growing body of knowledge of war. The specific contributions this study addresses are Clausewitz’s theories concerning the nature of war, the relationship between war and politics, and several of the major principles of strategy he examined.
These theories and principles lie at the heart of the current debates over the nature of contemporary conflict. They also underpin much of the instruction that prepares military and civilian leaders for their roles in the development and execution of military strategy. Thus, they are important even in circles where Clausewitz is only briefly studied. While understanding On War is no more a prerequisite for winning wars than knowledge is a requirement for exercising power, Clausewitz’s opus has become something of an authoritative reference for those desiring to expand their knowledge of war. By linking method and concept, this book contributes significantly to that end.