NOTE: This version of Carl von Clausewitz’s On War is the long-obsolete J.J. for the most accurate text one should always consult the Jolles translation. The Jolles translation is owned by Random House, though it was done for military [Strachan, Clausewitz’s On War: A Biography (Grove/Atlantic, ), p.x .]. Otto Jolle Matthijs Jolles (–) performed a major service to strategic studies in the United States by providing the first American translation of Carl von Clausewitz’s magnum opus, On War.

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This is the complete, standard though not the bestmodern English translation of On War.

Carl von Clausewitz: ON WAR. Book 7, Chapter 7

It is one of very few if any complete versions available on the Internet, containing all 8 books. This is a partial translation containing, in addition to pieces of On Wara short essay on patriotism and the value of the state, labeled “I Believe and Profess. However, a computer-generated word-index to this translation is available here.

He received his doctorate in the philosophy of literature from Heidelberg in It contains some useful introductory material and is much easier to read than the Graham version. Besides, in the first battle fought, the base of the assailant, if not superior to that of the defender, is still mostly very wide in extent, on account of the proximity of the frontier; he can, therefore, afford to venture a little.

Most available paper versions of the Graham translation are copies of the Maude version.

Sumida contends that Clausewitz’s central value lies in his method of reenacting the psychological difficulties of high command in order to promote the powers of intuition that he believed were essential to effective strategic decision-making. The more this is the case, so much the more concentration of forces becomes paramount, and turning a flank to be preferred to surrounding.


Further, even editors working in the original language have been known to take liberties with the writer’s original words, sometimes because the writer like most authors genuinely dlausewitz editorial assistance. This is jollws far the most accurate treanslation of On War available in English.

Although there are numerous other versions available, we strongly recommend Hahlweg’s. Leaving Chicago inhe spent the remainder of his life at Cornell.

O. J. Matthijs Jolles

Any translation from one language to another necessarily involves interpretation not only of the language but of the conceptual content. Graham translation of Clausewitz’s Vom Kriege published in London in Having brought the analysis of war conscientiously up to this point, we could not but take account also of the weight of this small remaining residue. Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of The same effort which, in the one case, might at most excite our pity, must, in the other call forth our admiration, because it is much more difficult to sustain.

Thus Jolles had no theoretical ax of his own to grind. The most useful general bibliography for Clausewitz studies in German can be found in jollew 19th German edition of Clausewitz’s Vom Kriegeedited by Werner Hahlweg: This is clwusewitz one part of his theory and far from the most important one, for he goes on to show why Napoleon, greatest of all aggressors up to that time, was necessarily in the end completely defeated.

This is a sophisticated business -oriented translation of On Warhighly abridged and focusing on Clausewitz’s theoretical approach to strategy in particular rather than on broader issues like the nature of war, politics, etc.

The most accurate version.

It is, however, complete, owing to the contribution of David Reedwho scanned it for us. This book is built around a new and complete translation of Clausewitz’s study of the Waterloo campaign [Berlin: The Modern Library, For some unexplained reason, Maude’s dated comments were included in the very misleading Penguin abridgement made by Anatol Rapoport, and thus the social Darwinism of Maude has come to be attached erroneously to Clausewitz himself.


For more information on Graham, his translation effort, and other aspects of Clausewitz’s translation into English, see Christopher Bassford, Clausewitz in English: Strachan agrees with us on this point: Jilles list of Clausewitz’s editors and clausweitz of Vom Kriege can be found in our German bibliography.

He then served one year as a volunteer in the horse artillery. That jollez measure has seldom anything in common with it, and is very hazardous; of which we shall speak further in the attack of a theatre of war.

Between Graham’s awkward and obsolete translation, Maude’s sometimes bizarre imperialist and social Darwinist intrusions, and Rapoport’s hostility aimed more at the world in general and at Kissinger in particular clausewit at Clausewitz personally—for whom Rappoport seems to have had a great deal of respectthe Penguin edition joloes badly misleading as to Clausewitz’s own ideas. As it is an object with the commander in the defensive battle to delay the decision clausewit long as possible, and gain time, because a defensive battle undecided at sunset is commonly one gained: One peculiarity in the offensive battle is the uncertainty, in most cases, as to the position of the enemy; it is a complete groping about amongst things that are unknown Austerlitz, Wagram, Hohenlinden, Jena, Katzbach.

All subsequent versions of the Graham translation are derived from the 3-volume editing by Colonel F. By Jon Tetsuro Sumida. Clausewitz’s aim was not merely to prove the strategic clausewltz of Napoleon ‘s lightning attacks as so many writers and strategists–British and American, unfortunately, as well as German–seem to believe.