Ends in War More Precisely Defined Overthrow of the Enemyby@carlvonclausewitz

Ends in War More Precisely Defined Overthrow of the Enemy

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The aim of war in conception must always be the overthrow of the enemy; this is the fundamental idea from which we set out. Now, what is this overthrow? It does not always imply as necessary the complete conquest of the enemy’s country. If the Germans had reached Paris, in 1792, there—in all human probability—the war with the Revolutionary party would have been brought to an end at once for a season; it was not at all necessary at that time to beat their armies beforehand, for those armies were not yet to be looked upon as potent powers in themselves singly. On the other hand, in 1814, the allies would not have gained everything by taking Paris if Buonaparte had still remained at the head of a considerable army; but as his army had nearly melted away, therefore, also in the year 1814 and 1815 the taking of Paris decided all. If Buonaparte in the year 1812, either before or after taking Moscow, had been able to give the Russian army of 120,000 on the Kaluga road, a complete defeat, such as he gave the Austrians in 1805, and the Prussian army, 1806, then the possession of that capital would most probably have brought about a peace, although an enormous tract of country still remained to be conquered. In the year 1805 it was the battle of Austerlitz that was decisive; and, therefore, the previous possession of Vienna and two-thirds of the Austrian States, was not of sufficient weight to gain for Buonaparte a peace; but, on the other hand also, after that battle of Austerlitz, the integrity of Hungary, still intact, was not of sufficient weight to prevent the conclusion of peace. In the Russian campaign, the complete defeat of the Russian army was the last blow required: the Emperor Alexander had no other army at hand, and, therefore, peace was the certain consequence of victory. If the Russian army had been on the Danube along with the Austrian, and had shared in its defeat, then probably the conquest of Vienna would not have been necessary, and peace would have been concluded in Linz.
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Overthrow of the Enemy
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Carl Von Clausewitz

Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz was a general and military theorist who stressed the "moral", in modern terms.


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by Carl Von Clausewitz @carlvonclausewitz.Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz was a general and military theorist who stressed the "moral", in modern terms.
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