NCSS Standard VI. Power, Authority, and Governance.
Understanding the historical development of structures of power, authority, and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary U.S. society and other parts of the world is essential for developing civic competence.
How and why did changes in warfare affect diplomacy, the European state system, and the balance of power?
Analysis of Clausewitz and Synthesis of AP Euro Wars
Excerpt from film Crimson Tide (1995). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Yw3qU58w4&feature=youtu.be
The content is the theoretical argument scene between Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington.
Direct your students to watch it closely. Clausewitz does not argue that the commander who ignores the political issues is the one most likely to win, but he does make an argument in very similar language that the opponent who considers his objectives to be worth a higher price has an advantage.
2. Whole class direct instruction:
Discuss the three fundamental concepts from On War by Carl von Clausewitz: Book One, Chapter One:
(1) “War is . . . an act of force [or threat of force] to compel our enemy to do our will;”
(2) “War is not a mere act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political activity by other means;”
(3) “As a total phenomenon its dominant tendencies always make war a remarkable trinity – composed of primordial violence, hatred and enmity, which are to be regarded as a blind natural force; of the play of chance and probability within which the creative spirit is free to roam; and of its element of subordination, as an instrument of policy, which makes it subject to reason.”
3. Class discussion of political objectives and military aims.
Use these three fundamental concepts as the organizing approach to discuss the nature and purpose of war by dividing the class into small groups with the task of explaining what Clausewitz “really meant,” provide historical examples. Work through the reading selections in the order read and ask the students to identify, explain, and evaluate the development of Clausewitz’s ideas and how his thinking may have changed as he wrote. Utilizing the Student Analysis section in each part of the reading.
At the end, have the students draw Clausewitz’s ideas together into a systematic, coherent body of thought and analyze their relevance and implications for the Major Wars studied in AP European History.
I have included a chart for reference. Use the 7 Cs as an Analytical Tool
Conflict Causes Course Consequences Conquerors Conquered Clausewitz
Teachers can modify the instruction to include a PPT presentation on Von Clausewitz and his general strategy that war has 3 objectives.
To conquer and destroy the armed power of the enemy.
To take possession of his material and other sources of strength.
To gain public opinion.