Carl von Clausewitz Quotes

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Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz
Portrait while in Prussian service, by Karl Wilhelm Wach

Born (1780-06-01)1 June 1780
Burg bei Magdeburg, Prussia (now Germany)
Died 16 November 1831(1831-11-16) (aged 51)
Breslau, Prussia (now Wrocław, Poland)
Allegiance  Prussia
 Russian Empire (1812–1813)
Service/branch Prussian Cavalry Officer Army
Years of service 1792–1831
Rank Major-General
Unit Russian-German Legion (III Corps)
Commands held Kriegsakademie
Battles/wars French Revolutionary Wars

Siege of Mainz

Napoleonic Wars

Battle of Jena–Auerstedt
Battle of Borodino
Battle of Ligny
Battle of Wavre

War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means.
Carl von Clausewitz
Principles and rules are intended to provide a thinking man with a frame of reference.
Carl von Clausewitz
War is the continuation of politics by other means.
War is regarded as nothing but the continuation of state policy with other means.
Carl von Clausewitz
War is the domain of physical exertion and suffering.
War is not merely a political act but a real political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, a carrying out of the same by other means.
Carl von Clausewitz
War is not an independent phenomenon, but the continuation of politics by different means.
Carl von Clausewitz
Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.
Carl von Clausewitz
War is the province of danger.
If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.
Carl von Clausewitz
War is not an exercise of the will directed at an inanimate matter.
Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain.
Carl von Clausewitz
I shall proceed from the simple to the complex. But in war more than in any other subject we must begin by looking at the nature of the whole; for here more than elsewhere the part and the whole must always be thought of together.
Carl von Clausewitz
Everything in war is very simple. But the simplest thing is difficult.
The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation from their purposes.
Carl von Clausewitz
The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy.
Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior.
Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity.
Carl von Clausewitz
Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.
All action takes place, so to speak, in a kind of twilight, which like a fog or moonlight, often tends to make things seem grotesque and larger than they really are.
Carl von Clausewitz
Politics is the womb in which war develops.
The more a general is accustomed to place heavy demands on his soldiers, the more he can depend on their response.
Carl von Clausewitz
To secure peace is to prepare for war.
A conqueror is always a lover of peace.
Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.
Carl von Clausewitz
It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past.
Carl von Clausewitz