Kind-hearted people might of course think there was some ingenious way to disarm or defeat an enemy without too much bloodshed, and might imagine this is the true goal of the art of war. Pleasant as it sounds; it is a fallacy that must be exposed: War is such a dangerous business that the mistakes which come from kindness are the very worst.— Carl von Clausewitz
The most attractive Carl von Clausewitz quotes that will inspire your inner self
We repeat again: strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.
The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.
To secure peace is to prepare for war.
Tactics is the art of using troops in battle; strategy is the art of using battles to win the war
To achieve victory we must mass our forces at the hub of all power & movement.
The enemy's 'Center of Gravity'
Be audacious and cunning in your plans, firm and persevering in their execution, determined to find a glorious end.
Knowledge must become capability.
Responsibility and danger do not tend to free or stimulate the average person's mind- rather the contrary; but wherever they do liberate an individual's judgement and confidence we can be sure that we are in the presence of exceptional ability.
Self-reliance is the best defence against the pressures of the moment.
War is an act of force, and to the application of that force there is no limit.
Each of the adversaries forces the hand of the other, and a reciprocal action results which in theory can have no limit.
Four elements make up the climate of war: danger, exertion, uncertainty and chance.
Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity
In war, where imperfect intelligence, the threat of a catastrophe, and the number of accidents are incomparably greater than any other human endeavor, the amount of missed opportunities, so to speak, is therefore bound to be greater.
The best strategy is always to be very strong.
War is...a trinity of violence, chance, and reason.
Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions and its own peculiar preconceptions.
The majority of people are timid by nature, and that is why they constantly exaggerate danger. all influences on the military leader, therefore, combine to give him a false impression of his opponent's strength, and from this arises a new source of indecision.
Whenever armed forces . . . are used, the idea of combat must be present. . . . The end for which a soldier is recruited, clothed, armed, and trained, the whole object of his sleeping, eating, drinking, and marching is simply that he should fight at the right place and the right time.
The Conqueror is always a lover of peace: he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.
There is nothing more common than to find considerations of supply affecting the strategic lines of a campaign and a war.
Where absolute superiority is not attainable, you must produce a relative one at the decisive point by making skillful use ofwhat you have.
The more physical the activity, the less the difficulties will be.
The more the activity becomes intellectual and turns into motives which exercise a determining influence on the commander's will, the more the difficulties will increase.
Any complex activity, if it is to be carried on with any degree of virtuosity, calls for appropriate gifts of intellect and temperament. If they are outstanding and reveal themselves in exceptional achievements, their possessor is called a 'genius'.
Blood is the price of victory
Der Krieg ist nichts als eine Fortsetzung des politischen Verkehrs mit Einmischung anderer Mittel. War is merely the continuation of policy with the admixture of other means.
The invention of gunpowder and the constant improvement of firearms are enough in themselves to show that the advance of civilization has done nothing practical to alter or deflect the impulse to destroy the enemy, which is central to the very idea of war.
Surprise becomes effective when we suddenly face the enemy at one point with far more troops than he expected. This type of numerical superiority is quite distinct from numerical superiority in general: it is the most powerful medium in the art of war.
Great things alone can make a great mind, and petty things will make a petty mind unless a man rejects them as completely alien.
Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one's balance in spite of them.
Obstinacy is a fault of temperament. Stubbornness and intolerance of contradiction result from a special kind of egotism, which elevates above everything else the pleasure of its autonomous intellect, to which others must bow.
War therefore is an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfill our will.
Only great and general battles can produce great results
Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.
The bloody solution of the crisis, the effort for the destruction of the enemy's forces, is the first-born son of war. Only great and general battles can produce great results. Blood is the price of victory.
[...] to introduce into the philosophy of war itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity
A conqueror is always a lover of peace.
...as man under pressure tends to give in to physical and intellectual weakness, only great strength of will can lead to the objective.
War is the province of chance. In no sphere of human activity is such a margin to be left for this intruder. It increases the uncertainty of every circumstance, and deranges the course of events.
This tremendous friction which cannot, as in mechanics, be reduced to a few points, is everywhere in contact with chance, and brings about effects that cannot be measured just because they are largely due to chance.
The very nature of interactions is bound to make it unpredictable.
Architects and painters know precisely what they are about as long as they deal with material phenomena.... But when they come to the aesthetics of their work, when they aim at a particular effect on the mind or on the senses, the rules dissolve into nothing but vague ideas.
Blind aggressiveness would destroy the attack itself, not the defense.
Every combat is the bloody and destructive measuring of the strength of forces, physical and moral; whoever at the close has the greatest amount of both left is the conqueror.
No other human activity is so continuously or universally bound up with chance.
And through the element of chance, guesswork and luck come to play a great part in war.
Talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.
War is an act of violence pushed to its utmost bounds.
War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.
As each man's strength gives out, as it no longer responds to his will, the inertia of the whole gradually comes to rest on the commander's will alone. The ardor of his spirit must rekindle the flame of purpose in all others; his inward fire must revive their hope.
Boldness governed by superior intellect is the mark of a hero.
There are cases in which the greatest daring is the greatest wisdom.