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100 Von Clausewitz Quotes About War From The Prussian General

Here are Prussian General Von Clausewitz best war quotes

Carl von Clausewitz (1780 –1831) served in the Rhine Campaigns and fought in the Napoleonic Wars from 1806 to 1815 when the Prussian army invaded France during the French Revolution.

Clausewitz was the first military theorist who emphasized the psychological and political facets of war.  He gained all this expertise as he worked as a lance corporal at the age of 12 and became a major general in the Prussian army.

Here are some of Clausewitz's famous war quotes. For similar quotes, visit Andrew Jackson quotes and Kant quotes.

Von Clausewitz 'On War' Quotes

Clausewitz's book, 'Vom Kriege' ('On War') though unfinished due to his untimely death, was highly regarded for the inputs on war tactics. This section includes famous quotes by him.

Prussian General Von Clausewitz quotes: military history and war strategy

1."War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

2."The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

3."There are cases in which the greatest daring is the greatest wisdom."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

4."The Statesman who, knowing his instrument to be ready, and seeing War inevitable, hesitates to strike first is guilty of a crime against his country."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

5."Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more, are false, and most are uncertain."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

6."For political and social as well as for military reasons the preferred way of bringing about victory was the shortest, most direct way, and that meant using all possible force."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

7."The talent of the strategist is to identify the decisive point and to concentrate everything on it, removing forces from secondary fronts and ignoring lesser objectives."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

8."The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and means can never be considered in isolation from their purpose."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

9."War therefore is an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfill our will."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

10."Peace is maintained by the equilibrium of forces, and will continue just as long as this equilibrium exists, and no longer."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

11."Pity the theory which sets itself in opposition to the mind! It cannot repair this contradiction by any humility, and the humbler it is so much the sooner will ridicule and contempt drive it from real life."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

12."Vanity is content with the appearance alone."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

13."Everything takes a different shape when we pass from abstractions to reality."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

14."A strong character is one that will not be unbalanced by the most powerful emotions."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

15."If we read history with an open mind, we cannot fail to conclude that, among all the military virtues, the energetic conduct of war has always contributed most to glory and success."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

16."Anyone who falls into the habit of thinking and expecting the best of his subordinates at all times is, for that reason alone, unsuited to command an army."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

17."To introduce into the philosophy of war itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

18."In the whole range of human activities, war most closely resembles a game of cards."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

19."History had no lessons or rules to offer the student, it could only broaden his understanding and strengthen his critical judgment."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

20."Great things alone can make a great mind, and petty things will make a petty mind unless a man rejects them as completely alien."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

21."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.

22."Theory must also take into account the human element; it must accord a place to courage, to boldness, even to rashness."

-Carl Von Clausewitz.

Best Von Clausewitz Quotes About War

Clausewitz's quotes on war from his book outline many objectives for military success. Here are some of them.

23."Everything in war is very simple. But the simplest thing is difficult."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

24."No one starts a war or rather, no one in his sense ought to do so without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by the war and how he intends to conduct it."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

25."To secure peace is to prepare for war."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

26."War is not an exercise of the will directed at an inanimate matter."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

27."The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

28."The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish the kind of war on which they are embarking."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

29."The world has a way of undermining complex plans."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

30."Close combat, man to man, is plainly to be regarded as the real basis of combat."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

31."A fast-moving environment can evolve more quickly than a complex plan can be adapted to it. By the time you have adapted, the target has changed."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

32."The intellect needs to arouse the quality of courage, which then supports and sustains it in action."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

33."Knowledge must become capability."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

34."The difficulty of accurate recognition constitutes one of the most serious sources of friction in war, by making things appear entirely different from what one had expected."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

35."Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

36."The first and most important rule to observe is to use our entire forces with the utmost energy. "

-Carl von Clausewitz.

37."Of all the passions that inspire a man in a battle, none, we have to admit, is so powerful and so constant as the longing for honor and renown."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

38."Self-reliance is the best defense against the pressures of the moment."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

39."Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

40."There are times when the utmost daring is the height of wisdom."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

41."What sort of mind is likeliest to display the qualities of military genius, experience and observation will both tell us that it is the inquiring, comprehensive, and the calm head to which in war we would choose to entrust."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

42."Our knowledge of circumstances has increased, but our uncertainty, instead of having diminished, has only increased."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

43."Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves more or less as a substitute for hatred between individuals."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

44."Casualty reports on either side are never accurate, seldom truthful, and in most cases deliberately falsified."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

45."Principles and rules are intended to provide a thinking man with a frame of reference."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

46."Numerical superiority is the most powerful medium in the art of war."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

47."If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

48."In war, the advantages and disadvantages of a single action could only be determined by the final balance."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

49."War is nothing but a duel on an extensive scale."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

50."The bloody solution of the crisis, the effort for the destruction of the enemy’s forces, is the first-born son of war."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

51."War is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

52."War is a conflict of great interests which is settled by bloodshed, and only in that is it different from others."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

53."In war the will is directed at an animate object that reacts."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

54."Politics is the womb in which war develops."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

Von Clausewitz Quotes About Victory

Listed below are quotations about victory from the famous Prussian General, Clausewitz.

Carl Von Clausewitz quotes on victory.

55."Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

56."Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

57."It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past."

- Carl von Clausewitz.

58."Blood is the price of victory."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

59."Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one 's balance in spite of them."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

60."Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination."

- Carl von Clausewitz.

61."To achieve victory we must mass our forces at the hub of all power & movement. The enemy's 'Center of Gravity'."

-Movie 'Law Abiding Citizen' quotes Von Clausewitz.

62."The best form of defense is attack."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

63."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.

64."Savage peoples are ruled by passion, civilized peoples by the mind."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

65."Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

66."Talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

67."Men are always more inclined to pitch their estimate of the enemy’s strength too high than too low, such is human nature."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

68."Intelligence alone is not courage; we often see that the most intelligent people are irresolute."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

69."The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

70. "The more a leader is in the habit of demanding from his men; the surer he will be that his demands will be answered."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

71."There is only one decisive victory: the last."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

72."Never to waste time. Follow up our successes with the utmost energy. "

-Carl von Clausewitz.

73."Whoever does great things with small means has successfully reached the goal."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

74."Only great and general battles can produce great results."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

Von Clausewitz Quotes About Defeat

Clausewitz's quotations about defeat are compiled here for your reference.

75."Fighting is the central military act. Engagements mean fighting. The object of fighting is the destruction or defeat of the enemy."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

76."Blind aggressiveness would destroy the attack itself, not the defense."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

77."The aim of war should be the defeat of the enemy."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

78."The defeat of the enemy means the destruction of his forces, whether by death, injury, or any other means to make him stop fighting."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

79."The complete or partial destruction of the enemy must be regarded as the sole object of all engagements."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

80."Only the element of chance is needed to make war a gamble, and that element is never absent."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

81."The aggressor is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

82."As long as the enemy is not defeated, he may defeat me."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

83."Man under pressure tends to give in to physical and intellectual weakness, only great strength of will can lead to the objective."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

Best War Strategy Quotes

Carl Von Clausewitz, Prussian General famous for military strategy, said these famous quotes about war in his book.

84."Strategy can therefore never take its hand from the work for a moment."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

85."To be practical, any plan must take account of the enemy’s power to frustrate it."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

86."A general in time of war is constantly bombarded by reports both true and false."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

87. "He is exposed to countless impressions, disturbing, few of them encouraging."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

88."If a man were to yield to these pressures, he would never complete an operation."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

89. "War is not merely a political act but a real political instrument."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

90."With uncertainty in one scale, courage and self-confidence should be thrown into the other to correct the balance."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

91."Be audacious and cunning in your plans, firm, and persevering in their execution, determined to find a glorious end."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

92."Surprise becomes effective when we suddenly face the enemy at one point with far more troops than he expected."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

93."War is the province of danger."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

94."Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

95."In open country, control is a simple matter and does not test his ability to the fullest."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

96."The probability of direct confrontation increases with the aggressiveness of the enemy."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

97. "All war presupposes human weakness and seeks to exploit it."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

98."The side that feels the lesser urge for peace will naturally get the better bargain."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

99."Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

100."Boldness governed by superior intellect is the mark of a hero."

-Carl von Clausewitz.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Carl Von Clausewitz Quotes, then why not take a look at Catherine The Great quotes or Patriotic quotes.

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