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Title: The Reality of War - A Companion to Clausewitz
Author: Murray, Stewart L.
Language: English
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THE REALITY OF WAR



  THE
  REALITY OF WAR

  A COMPANION
  TO CLAUSEWITZ

  BY
  MAJOR STEWART L. MURRAY
  LATE GORDON HIGHLANDERS

  POPULAR EDITION EDITED BY
  A. HILLIARD ATTERIDGE

  LONDON
  HODDER AND STOUGHTON
  WARWICK SQUARE, E.C.

  HUGH REES, LTD.
  5 REGENT STREET, S.W.


  _Reprinted in 1914_



EDITOR'S PREFACE


Great books, the masterpieces of the special branch of knowledge with
which they deal, are often very big books; and busy men, who have not
unlimited time for reading, find it helpful to have some one who will
give them a general summary of a famous writer's teaching, and point
out the most important passages in which the author himself embodies
the very essence of his argument.

This is what Major Murray has done for the most important work on war
that was ever written. He does not give a mere dry summary of its
contents. He sets forth, in language so plain that even the civilian
reader or the youngest soldier can read it with interest, the essence
of the teaching of Clausewitz, and he embodies in his book the most
striking passages of the original work. He adds to each section of his
subject some useful criticisms, and at the end of the book he sums up
the effect of recent changes on the practice of war.

The book is a popular manual of the realities of war, which should be
read not only by soldiers, but by every one who takes an intelligent
interest in the great events of our time.

As to the practical value of the writings of Clausewitz, it may be
well to quote here the words of Mr. Spenser Wilkinson, the Professor
of Military History at Oxford, from his introduction to the original
edition of Major Murray's work:

"Clausewitz was a Prussian officer who first saw fighting as a boy in
1793, and whose experience of war lasted until 1815, when the great
war ended. He was then thirty-five and spent the next fifteen years in
trying to clear his mind on the subject of war, which he did by writing
a number of military histories and a systematic treatise 'On War.' At
the age of fifty he tied his manuscripts into a parcel, hoping to work
at them again on the conclusion of the duties for which he was ordered
from home. A little more than a year later he died at Breslau of
cholera, and the papers, to which he had never put the finishing touch,
were afterwards published by his widow.

"Part of the value of his work is due to the exceptional opportunities
which he enjoyed. When the war of 1806 began he had long been the
personal adjutant of one of the Prussian princes, and an intimate
friend of Scharnhorst, who was probably the greatest of Napoleon's
contemporaries. In the period of reorganization which followed
the Peace of Tilsit he made the acquaintance of Gneisenau, and of
almost all the officers who made their mark in the subsequent wars
of liberation. During the years of preparation he was Scharnhorst's
assistant, first in the Ministry of War and then on the General Staff.
During the campaign of 1812 he served with the Russian army as a
staff officer. Thus his experience during the four years of the Wars
of Liberation was that of one who was continually behind the scenes,
always in touch with the Governments and Generals, and therefore better
able than any one not so favourably placed to see everything in its
proper perspective, and to follow and appreciate the considerations
which directed the decisions both of statesmen and of the commanders
of armies. His personal character was of the finest mould, and his
writings have the sincerity, the absence of which makes it so difficult
to rely upon those of Napoleon.

"The ultimate test of the value of books is time. When Clausewitz
died, the two books on war which were thought the best were those of
the Archduke Charles of Austria and General Jomini. To-day the book
of Clausewitz, 'On War,' easily holds the first place. It is the
least technical of all the great books on war; from beginning to end
it is nothing but common sense applied to the subject, but for that
reason it is the hardest to digest, because common sense or a man's
natural instinctive judgment on any subject is exceedingly hard to
analyse and put into words. An exceptionally gifted man can go through
this process, but few can follow it for any length of time without a
distinct effort.

"Almost every good institution has arisen out of the effort to provide
a remedy for some evil, but in the imperfection of human nature nearly
every institution brings with it fresh evils, which in their turn have
to be counteracted. The modern spirit, with its hatred of nepotism
and its belief in knowledge, has grafted the examination system upon
every form of education from the lowest to the highest. The British
army shares in the benefits and in the disadvantages of the system,
of which, in the case of an officer, the danger to be guarded against
is that it tends to accustom a man to rely rather on his memory than
his intelligence, and to lean more on other people's thinking than on
his own. Clausewitz aimed at producing the very opposite result. He
does not offer specific solutions of the various problems of war lest
officers, in moments when their business is to decide and to act,
should be trying to recall his precepts instead of using their eyes and
their wits. His purpose rather is to enable them to understand what war
is. He believed that if a man had accustomed himself to think of war as
it really is, had got to know the different elements which go to make
it up, and to distinguish those that are important from those that are
comparative trifles, he would be more likely to know of himself what
to do in a given situation, and would be much less likely to confuse
himself by trying to remember what some general, long since dead, did
on some occasion in which after all the position was by no means the
same as that in which he finds himself."

What is said here of the soldier actually engaged in war, is true also
even of the onlooker who takes a patriotic interest in the progress of
a war in which his country is involved. Unless he has a clear idea of
the real character of modern war, and the principles on which success
or failure depend, he will be utterly unable to grasp the significance
of the events of which he reads each day. And it is of real importance
that in time of war every citizen should judge soundly the course of
events, for opinion influences action, and public opinion is made up of
the ideas of the units who compose the public. In this connection it is
well to bear in mind a point that is often overlooked, a point on which
Clausewitz insists in a singularly convincing passage--namely, the fact
that one of the main objects of a nation waging war is to force the
enemy's population into a state of mind favourable to submission. This
fact is sufficient proof of the importance of public opinion being
well informed not only as to the course of events, but also as to the
principles that give to these events their real significance.



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I

                                           PAGE
  THE LIFE OF CLAUSEWITZ                      3


  CHAPTER II

  THE INFLUENCE OF CLAUSEWITZ ON MODERN
    POLICY AND WAR                           11


  CHAPTER III

  THE WRITINGS OF CLAUSEWITZ                 23


  CHAPTER IV

  THE THEORY AND THE PRACTICE OF WAR         33


  CHAPTER V

  THE MAGNITUDE OF THE EFFORT REQUIRED
    IN A MODERN NATIONAL WAR                 47


  CHAPTER VI

  PUBLIC OPINION IN WAR                      65


  CHAPTER VII

  THE NATURE OF WAR                          79


  CHAPTER VIII

  WAR AS POLICY                             119


  CHAPTER IX

  STRATEGY                                  137


  CHAPTER X

  THE EXECUTION OF STRATEGY                 161


  CHAPTER XI

  TACTICS                                   177


  CHAPTER XII

  CHANGES SINCE THE DAYS OF CLAUSEWITZ      213



CHAPTER I

THE LIFE OF CLAUSEWITZ


In an endeavour, such as the present, to interest the British public in
even the greatest military writer, the first necessity is to show that
he was not a mere theorist or bookworm. The wide and varied experience
which the British officer gradually gains in so many different parts
of the world shows up the weak points of most theories, and produces
a certain distrust of them. Also a distrust of theory is undoubtedly
one of our national characteristics. Hence, in order to appeal to the
British officer or civilian, a writer must be a practical soldier.

Such was General Clausewitz: a practical soldier of very great
experience in the long series of wars 1793 to 1815, and one present
throughout that most awful of all campaigns, Napoleon's Russian
campaign in 1812.

"General Karl von Clausewitz was born near Magdeburg in 1780, and
entered the Prussian army as Fahnenjunker in 1792. He served in the
campaigns of 1793-1794 on the Rhine. In 1801 he entered the military
school at Berlin as an officer, and remained there till 1803. He here
attracted the notice of Scharnhorst. In the campaign of 1806 he served
as aide-de-camp to Prince Augustus of Prussia, was present at the
battle of Jena, and saw that awful retreat which ended a fortnight
later in the surrender at Prentzlau. Being wounded and captured, he
was sent into France as a prisoner till the end of the war." "On his
return (in November, 1807) he was placed on General Scharnhorst's
staff, and employed on the work then going on for the reorganization
of the Prussian army. In 1812 Clausewitz entered the Russian service,
was employed on the general staff, and was thus able to gain much
experience in the most gigantic of all the struggles of his time." "In
the spring campaign of 1813 (battles of Lutzen, Bautzen, etc.), he, as
a Russian officer, was attached to Blucher's staff; during the winter
campaign he found employment as chief-of-the-staff to Count Walmoden,
who fought against Davoust on the Lower Elbe, and the splendid action
of the Goerde was entirely the result of his able dispositions. In 1815
he again entered the Prussian service, and was chief-of-the-staff to
the III. Army Corps (Thielman), which at Ligny formed the left of the
line of battle, and at Wavre covered the rear of Blucher's army." "In
addition to this, we may say, considerable practical training (note,
enormous and varied indeed compared to any obtainable in the present
day), he also possessed a comprehensive and thorough knowledge of
military history, and also an uncommonly clear perception of general
history" (Von Caemmerer). After the Peace he was employed in a command
on the Rhine. In 1818 he became major-general, and was made Director of
the Military School at Berlin. Here he remained for some years. This
was the chief period of his writings. As General von Caemmerer, in his
"Development of Strategical Science," puts it: "This practical and
experienced, and at the same time highly cultured soldier, feels now,
in peaceful repose, as he himself confesses, the urgent need to develop
and systematize the whole world of thought which occupies him, yet also
resolves to keep secret till his death the fruit of his researches, in
order that his soul, which is thirsting for _Truth_, may be safely and
finally spared all temptations from subordinate considerations."

In 1830 he was appointed Director of Artillery at Breslau, and, having
no more time for writing, sealed up and put away his papers, unfinished
as they were. In the same year he was appointed chief-of-the-staff to
Field-Marshal Gneisenau's army. In the winter of that year war with
France was considered imminent, and Clausewitz had prospects of acting
as chief of the general staff of the Commander-in-Chief Gneisenau. He
then drew up two plans for war with France, which bear the stamp of
that practical knowledge of war and adaptation of means to ends which
distinguish his writings.

In the same year the war scare passed away, the army of Gneisenau was
disbanded, and Clausewitz returned to Breslau, where after a few days
he was seized with cholera, and died in November, 1831, aged only 51.

His works were published after his death by his widow.



CHAPTER II

THE INFLUENCE OF CLAUSEWITZ ON MODERN POLICY AND WAR


From the day of their publication until now the influence of the
writings of Clausewitz has been steadily growing, till to-day it is
impossible to over-estimate the extent of that influence upon modern
military and political thought, especially in Germany. As General von
Caemmerer, in his "Development of Strategical Science," says: "Karl
von Clausewitz, the pupil and friend of Scharnhorst and the confidant
of Gneisenau, is in Germany generally recognized as the most prominent
theorist on war, as the real philosopher on war, to whom our famous
victors on the more modern battlefields owe their spiritual training."

Field-Marshal Moltke was "his most distinguished pupil," and adapted
the teaching of Clausewitz to the conditions of to-day.

General von der Goltz, in the introduction to his great work, "The
Nation in Arms," thus describes the veneration which he inspires: "A
military writer who, after Clausewitz, writes upon the subject of war,
runs the risk of being likened to a poet who, after Goethe, attempts a
_Faust_, or, after Shakespeare, a _Hamlet_. Everything important that
can be told about the nature of war can be found stereotyped in the
works which that great military genius has left behind him. Although
Clausewitz has himself described his book as being something as yet
incomplete, this remark of his must be taken to mean that he, too,
was subject to the fate of all aspiring spirits, and was forced to
feel that all he attained lay far beneath his ideal. For us, who knew
not what that ideal was, his labours are a complete work. I have,
accordingly, not attempted to write anything new, or of universal
applicability about the science of warfare, but have limited myself to
turning my attention to the military operations of our own day." One
can hardly imagine a stronger tribute of admiration.

And, as Moltke was Clausewitz's most distinguished pupil, so also
are all those trained in the school of Moltke pupils of Clausewitz,
including the most eminent of modern German military writers, such as
General von Blume, in his "Strategy"; Von der Goltz, in his "Nation in
Arms" and "The Conduct of War," who trained the Turkish General Staff
for the campaign of 1897 against Greece and the battle of Pharsalia,
etc.; General von Boguslawski; General von Verdy du Vernois, the
father of the study of Applied Tactics; General von Schlichting, in his
"Tactical and Strategical Principles of the Present"; General Meckel,
who trained the Japanese Staff, etc., etc.

We all remember the telegram sent to General Meckel by Marshal Oyama
after the battle of Liao-yang: "We hope you are proud of your pupils."

Some time ago, when asked to give a lecture at Aldershot to the
officers of the 2nd Division on Clausewitz, it struck me that it would
be very interesting, anxious as we all were then to know the causes
of the wonderful Japanese efficiency and success, if I could obtain a
pronouncement from General Meckel how far he had been influenced in his
teaching by Clausewitz. My friend Herr von Donat did me the favour to
write to General von Caemmerer and ask him if he could procure me such
a pronouncement which I might publish. General Meckel, whose death both
Japan and Germany have since had to mourn, most kindly consented, and
I esteem it a great honour to be allowed to quote part of his letter.
He said: "I, like every other German officer, have, consciously or
unconsciously, instructed in the spirit of Clausewitz. Clausewitz is
the _founder_ of that theory of war which resulted from the Napoleonic.
I maintain that _every one_ who nowadays either makes or teaches war
in a modern sense, bases himself upon Clausewitz, even if he is not
conscious of it." This opinion of General Meckel, to whose training of
the Japanese General Staff the success of the Japanese armies must be
largely attributed, is most interesting. It is not possible to give a
stronger or more up-to-date example of the magnitude of the influence
of Clausewitz.

In this connection I should like to make a short quotation from "The
War in the Far East," by the _Times_ military correspondent. In his
short but suggestive chapter on "Clausewitz in Manchuria" he says: "But
as all save one of the great battles in Manchuria have been waged by
the Japanese in close accordance with the spirit and almost the letter
of Clausewitz's doctrine, and as the same battles have been fought by
the Russians in absolute disregard of them (though his works had been
translated into Russian by General Dragomiroff long before the war),
it is certainly worth showing how reading and reflection may profit
one army, and how the neglect of this respectable practice may ruin
another." "Clausewitz in Manchuria"! That brings us up to date. It is a
far cry for his influence to have reached, and triumphed.


REFLECTIONS

Clausewitz wrote his book expressly for statesmen as well as soldiers.
We may be sure, therefore, that the influence of Clausewitz on the
Continent has penetrated the realm of policy little less widely than
the realm of war. From this thought arise many reflections. It will be
sufficient here to suggest one. I would suggest that we should regard
every foreign statesman, especially in Germany, as, consciously or
unconsciously, a disciple of Clausewitz. That is to say, we should
regard him as a man who, underneath everything else, underneath the
most pacific assurances for the present, considers war an unalterable
part of policy. He will regard war as part of the ordinary intercourse
of nations, and occasional warlike struggles as inevitable as
commercial struggles. He will consider war also as an instrument
of policy, which he himself may have to use, and to be studied
accordingly. He will consider it not as a thing merely for speeches,
but for practical use in furthering or defending the interests of his
State. He will regard war as the means by which some day his nation
shall impose its will upon another nation. He will be prepared to wait
and wait, to make "every imaginable preparation," and finally to let
loose war in its most absolute and ruthless character, war carried out
with the utmost means, the utmost energy, and the utmost effort of a
whole nation-in-arms, determined to achieve its political object and
compel submission to its will by force.

To talk to such a man of "the evils of war," or of "the burden of
armaments"; or to propose to him "disarmament" or "reduction of
armed forces," and so forth can only appear to him as the result of
"imperfect knowledge." He will not say so, but he will think so, and
act accordingly. To the partially instructed opponent of such a man
one can only say, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he
fall."



CHAPTER III

THE WRITINGS OF CLAUSEWITZ


The writings of Clausewitz are contained in nine volumes, published
after his death in 1831, but his fame rests chiefly on his three
volumes "On War," which have been translated by Colonel J. J. Graham
(the last edition edited by Colonel F. N. Maude, and published by
Messrs. Kegan Paul, London). Clausewitz calls them "a collection of
materials," "a mass of conceptions not brought into form," and states
that he intended to revise, and throw the whole into more complete
shape.

We must lament that he did not live to complete his revision. But,
on the other hand, it is perhaps possible that this unfinished
state is really an advantage, for it leaves us free to apply his
great maxims and principles and mode of thought to the ever-varying
conditions of the present and future, unhampered by too complete a
crystallization of his ideas written before more modern conditions of
railways, telegraphs, and rapid long-ranging arms of precision, etc.,
arose. It is perhaps this unfinished state which renders Clausewitz
so essentially in touch with, and a part of, the onward movement and
evolution of military thought. For his great aim was "the truth, the
whole truth, and nothing but the truth," without preconception or
favour, as far as he could go--essentially "a realist" of war--and what
better aim can we set before ourselves?

As Sir Arthur Helps has so well put it in his "Friends in Council,"
every man needs a sort of central stem for his reading and culture. I
wish here to say why I think that Clausewitz is admirably adapted to
form such a main stem in the military culture of British officers.

In the first place there is a lofty sort of tone about his writings
which one gradually realizes as one reads them, and which I will not
attempt to describe further than by saying that they stamp themselves
as the writings of a gentleman of fine character.

In the second place it is a book which "any fellow" can read, for
there is nothing to "put one off," nothing abstruse or mathematical or
formal, no formulæ or lines and angles and technical terms, such as in
other writers, Jomini, Hamley, etc. Clausewitz is free from all such
pedantries, which for my part, and I dare say for the part of many
others, often "put one off" a book, and made one instinctively feel
that there was something wrong, something unpractical about it, which
rendered it hardly worth the sacrifice of time involved in its study.
There is in Clausewitz nothing of that kind at all. All those lines and
angles and formulæ he dismisses in a few pages as of little practical
importance.

In the third place Clausewitz only goes in for experience and the
practical facts of war. As he somewhat poetically puts it, "The
flowers of Speculation require to be cut down low near the ground of
Experience, their proper soil."[1] He is the great apostle of human
nature and character as being everything in war. "All war supposes
human weakness, and against that it is directed."[2] I believe that the
British officer will find himself in sympathy with the great thinker
on war, who asserts that "_Of_ _all military virtues Energy in the
conduct of Operations has always conduced most to glory and success of
arms_."[3]

In the fourth place, to the practical mind will appeal his denunciation
of all elaborate plans, because _Time_ is required for all elaborate
combinations, and Time is just the one thing that an active enemy
will not give us,--and his consequent deduction that all plans must
be of the simplest possible form. His famous sentence, "_In war all
things are simple, but the simple are difficult_,"[4] gives the key
to his writings, for to _overcome those simple yet great difficulties
he regards as the art of war_, which can only be done by the military
virtues of perseverance, energy, and boldness.

In the fifth place he does not want men to be bookworms, for he says:

"_Theory is nothing but rational reflection upon all the situations
in which we can be placed in war_."[5] And we can all reflect, without
reading too many books. Also he says: "Much reading of history is
not required for the above object. The knowledge of a few separate
battles, _in their details_, is more useful than a general knowledge of
several campaigns. On this account it is more useful to read detailed
narratives and journals than regular works of history."[6] He wants
history in detail, not a general smattering and a loose application
thereof, which fault he strongly denounces. And he expressly states
that the history of the very latest war is the most useful. All of
which is very practical, and in accord with what we feel to be true.

As he pictures war, "_the struggle between the spiritual and moral
forces_ on _both_ sides is the centre of all,"[7] and to this aspect
of the subject he gives much more attention than Jomini and most of
Jomini's disciples. He has freed us once for all from all formalism.
The formation of character, careful, practical, detailed study, and
thorough preparation in peace, the simplest plans carried out with the
utmost perseverance, resolution, energy, and boldness in war--these are
the practical fruits of his teaching.

Therefore, I say again, that I do not think that the British officer
could possibly find a more interesting or a better guide for the main
stem of his reading than Clausewitz, nor any one that will appeal
to his practical instincts of what is _True_ half so well. I do not
believe that he could possibly do better than with Clausewitz as
main stem, and a detailed study of the latest campaigns and modern
technicalities as the up-to-date addition required to transform
knowledge into action. I trust that every reader of Clausewitz will
agree with me in this.



CHAPTER IV

THE THEORY AND THE PRACTICE OF WAR


"Moltke, the most gifted pupil of Clausewitz," "Moltke, who knew
Clausewitz's book well, and often liked to describe him as the
theoretical instructor." As Chaucer would say, "What needeth wordes
more?"

Clausewitz has treated practically every chief branch of strategy
and tactics (except, of course, the present-day developments of
railways, telegraphs, quick-firing guns, smokeless powder, universal
service armies, etc.). The whole of his bulky work "On War" is full
of interesting and sometimes eloquent and almost poetical passages,
of concentrated, pregnant, and far-reaching thoughts on every
subject. Through all these it is, of course, impossible to follow
him in any introduction. One can really do no more than urge all to
read Clausewitz for themselves, to go to the fountain-head, to the
master-work itself. In the short space to which I have restricted
myself, I propose, therefore, to concentrate on a few of his leading
ideas, reluctantly leaving out many others which are really almost just
as good.


THEORY AND PRACTICE

One of the things for which we are most deeply indebted to Clausewitz
is that he has shown us clearly the proper place of theory in relation
to practice. "It should educate the mind of the future leader in
war, or, rather, guide him in his _self-instruction_, but _not_
accompany him on to the battlefield; just as a sensible tutor forms
and enlightens the opening mind of a youth without therefore keeping
him in leading-strings all his life."[8] Again, "In real action most
men are guided by the tact of judgment, which hits the object more or
less accurately, according as they possess more or less genius. This
is the way in which all great generals have acted, and therein partly
lay their greatness and their genius, in that they always hit upon what
was right by this tact. Thus also it will always be in _action_, and
so far this tact is amply sufficient. But when it is a question not of
acting one's self, but of convincing others _in consultation_, then
all depends upon clear conceptions and demonstrations and the inherent
relations; and so little progress has been made in this respect that
most deliberations are merely a contention of words, resting on no
firm basis, and ending either in every one retaining his own opinion,
or in a compromise from mutual considerations of respect, a middle
course really without any value. Clear ideas on these matters are not,
therefore, wholly useless."[9]

How true this is any one will admit who reflects for a moment upon
the great diversity of opinions on almost every subject held in our
army, just because of this want of a central theory common to all. In
the domain of tactics it is evident that this holds good even as in
strategy, for a common central theory of war will produce a more or
less common way of looking at things, from which results more or less
common action towards the attainment of the common object.


REJECTION OF SET AND GEOMETRICAL THEORIES

"It should educate the mind of the future leader in war" is what
Clausewitz demands from a useful theory; but he most expressly and
unreservedly rejects every attempt at a method "by which definite
plans for wars or campaigns are to be given out all ready made as if
from a machine."[10] He mocks at Bülow's including at first in the
one term "base" all sorts of things, like the supply of the army, its
reinforcements and equipments, the security of its communications with
the home country, and lastly the security of its line of retreat, and
then fixing the extent of the base, and finally fixing an angle for the
extent of that base: "And all this was done merely to obtain a pure
geometrical result utterly useless" (Von Caemmerer).

For the same reason Jomini's principle of the Inner Line does not
satisfy him, owing to its mere geometrical nature, although he right
willingly acknowledges "that it rests on a sound foundation, on
the truth that the combat is the only effectual means in war" (Von
Caemmerer). All such attempts at theory seem to him therefore perfectly
useless, "because they strive to work with fixed quantities, while in
war everything is _uncertain_, and all considerations must reckon with
all kinds of variable quantities; because they only consider _material_
objects, while every action in war is saturated with _moral_ forces and
effects; lastly, because they deal only with the action of _one_ party,
while war is a constant reciprocal effect of _both_ parties" (Von
Caemmerer).

"Pity the warrior," says Clausewitz, "who is contented to crawl about
in this beggardom of rules." "Pity the theory which sets itself in
opposition to the mind"[11] (note, the moral forces).


A THEORY TO BE PRACTICALLY USEFUL

Clausewitz insists that a useful theory cannot be more than a thorough
knowledge of military history and "reflection upon all the situations
in which we can be placed in war." "What genius does must be just the
best of all rules, and theory cannot do better than to show just how
and why it is so." "It is an analytical investigation of the subject
which leads to exact knowledge: and if brought to bear on the results
of experience, which in our case would be military history, to a
_thorough_ familiarity with it. If theory investigates the subjects
which constitute war; if it separates more distinctly that which at
first sight seems amalgamated; if it explains fully the properties of
the means; if it shows their probable effects; if it makes evident the
nature of objects; _if it brings to bear all over the field of war the
light of essentially critical investigation_,--then it has fulfilled
the chief duties of its province. It becomes then a guide to him who
wishes to make himself acquainted with war from books; it lights up the
whole road for him, facilitates his progress, educates his judgment,
and shields him from error."[12]


KNOWLEDGE MUST BE THOROUGH

This Clausewitz considers most important. He says that "Knowledge of
the conduct of war ... _must pass completely into the mind_, and almost
cease to be something objective." For in war "The moral reaction, the
ever-changing form of things makes it necessary for the chief actor
to carry _in himself_ the whole mental apparatus of his knowledge, in
order that anywhere and at every pulse-beat he may be capable of giving
the requisite decision _from himself_. Knowledge must, by this complete
assimilation with his own mind and life, be converted into real power."

       *       *       *       *       *

So much for Clausewitz, therefore, as the greatest yet the simplest and
least theoretical of theorists on war. Mark well his comforting dictum
that "Theory is nothing but rational reflection upon all the situations
in which we can be placed in war." That is a task which we have all
more or less attempted. Therefore we are all more or less theorists.
The only question is that of comparative "thoroughness" in our
reflections. And it is essentially this "thoroughness" in investigation
and reflection towards which Clausewitz helps us. Like every other
habit, the _habit_ of military reflection gradually grows with use;
till, fortified and strengthened by detailed knowledge, it gradually
becomes Power.


REFLECTIONS

The theory of war is simple, and there is no reason why any man who
chooses to take the trouble to read and reflect carefully on one or
two of the acknowledged best books thereon, should not attain to a
fair knowledge thereof. He may with reasonable trouble attain to such
knowledge of the theory of war as will enable him to follow with
intelligent appreciation the discussions of experienced soldier or
soldiers. Such knowledge as will prevent his misunderstanding the
experienced soldier's argument from pure ignorance, and such knowledge
as will enable him to understand the military reasons put forward and
the military object proposed. To the opinion of such a man all respect
will be due. Thus, and thus only.

It is indeed the plain duty of all who aspire to rule either thus to
qualify themselves to understand, or else to abstain from interference
with, the military interests of the State.



CHAPTER V

THE MAGNITUDE OF THE EFFORT REQUIRED IN A MODERN NATIONAL WAR


This point is here illustrated with more detail from Clausewitz than
may seem necessary to some, because it is precisely the point regarding
modern war which is least understood in this country.

"The complete overthrow of the enemy is the natural end of the art of
war." "As this idea must apply to both the belligerent parties, it
must follow, that there can be no suspension in the military act, and
peace cannot take place until one or other of the parties concerned is
completely overthrown." This is what Clausewitz means by Absolute War,
that is war carried to its absolute and logical conclusion with the
utmost force, the utmost effort and the utmost energy. He then proceeds
to show that war, owing "to all the natural inertia and friction of its
parts, the whole of the inconsistency, the vagueness and hesitation (or
timidity) of the human mind," usually takes a weaker or less absolute
form according to circumstances. "All this, theory must admit, but it
is its duty to give the foremost place to the absolute form of war, and
to use that form as a general point of direction." He then proceeds to
show that war finally took its absolute form under Napoleon. To-day we
may say that war takes its absolute form in the modern great national
war, which is waged by each belligerent with the whole concentrated
physical and mental power of the nation-in-arms.

This requires to be gone into a little more in detail, for it is a
most important point.

Clausewitz in Book VIII. approaches this part of his subject by an
historical survey of war from the time of the Roman Empire to that
of Napoleon. He shows how as the feudal system gradually merged into
the later monarchical States of Europe, armies gradually became less
and less national, more and more mercenary. Omitting this, we arrive
at the seventeenth century. He says: "The end of the seventeenth
century, the time of Louis XIV., is to be regarded as the point in
history at which the standing military power, such as it existed in the
eighteenth century, reached its zenith. That military force was based
on enlistment and money. States had organized themselves into complete
unities; and the governments, by commuting the personal services of
their subjects into money payments, had concentrated their whole power
in their treasuries. Through the rapid strides in social improvements,
and a more enlightened system of government, this power had become very
great in comparison with what it had been. France appeared in the field
with a standing army of a couple of hundred thousand men, and the other
Powers in proportion."

Armies were supported out of the Treasury, which the sovereign regarded
partly as his privy purse, at least as a resource belonging to the
Government, and not to the people. Relations with other States, except
with respect to a few commercial subjects, mostly concerned only the
interests of the Treasury or of the Government, not those of the
people; at least ideas tended everywhere in that way. The Cabinets
therefore looked upon themselves as the owners and administrators
of large estates, which they were continually seeking to increase,
without the tenants on those estates being particularly interested in
this improvement.

The people, therefore, who in the Tartar invasions were everything in
war, who in the old republics and in the Middle Ages were of great
consequence, were in the eighteenth century absolutely nothing directly.

In this manner, in proportion as the Government separated itself more
from the people, and regarded itself as the State, war became more and
more exclusively a business of the Government, which it carried on
by means of the money in its coffers and the idle vagabonds it could
pick up in its own and neighbouring countries. The army was a State
property, very expensive, and not to be lightly risked in battle.
"In its signification war was only diplomacy somewhat intensified, a
more vigorous way of negotiating, in which battles and sieges were
substituted for diplomatic notes."

"Plundering and devastating the enemy's country were no longer in
accordance with the spirit of the age." "They were justly looked upon
as unnecessary barbarity." "War, therefore, confined itself more and
more, both as regards means and ends, to the army itself. The army,
with its fortresses and some prepared positions, constituted a State in
a State, within which the element of war slowly consumed itself. All
Europe rejoiced at its taking this direction, and held it to be the
necessary consequence of the spirit of progress."

So think many in this country to-day. They are only a hundred years
behind the times.

"The plan of a war on the part of the State assuming the offensive in
those times consisted generally in the conquest of one or other of the
enemy's provinces; the plan of the defender was to prevent this. The
plan of campaign was to take one or other of the enemy's fortresses, or
to prevent one of our own being taken; it was only when a battle became
unavoidable for this purpose that it was sought for and fought. Whoever
fought a battle without this unavoidable necessity, from mere innate
desire of gaining a victory, was reckoned a general with too much
daring." For armies were too precious to be lightly risked. "Winter
quarters, in which the mutual relations of the two parties almost
entirely ceased, formed a distinct limit to the activity which was
considered to belong to one campaign." "As long as war was universally
conducted in this manner, all was considered to be in the most regular
order." "Thus there was eminence and perfection of every kind, and
even Field-Marshal Daun, to whom it was chiefly owing that Frederick
the Great completely attained his object, and Maria Theresa completely
failed in hers, notwithstanding that could still pass for a great
general."

Beyond this stage of military thought, many in this country have not
yet advanced.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Thus matters stood when the French Revolution broke out; Austria
and Prussia tried their diplomatic art of war; this very soon proved
insufficient. Whilst, according to the usual way of seeing things,
all hopes were placed on a very limited military force in 1793, such
a force as no one had any conception of made its appearance. War had
suddenly become again an affair of the people, and that of a people
numbering thirty millions, every one of whom regarded himself as a
citizen of the State." "_By this participation of the people in the
war_, instead of a cabinet and an army, a whole nation with its natural
weight came into the scale. Henceforth the means available--the efforts
which might be called forth--had no longer any definite limits; the
energy with which the war itself might be conducted had no longer any
counterpoise, and consequently the danger to the adversary had risen to
the extreme."

If only our politicians could learn this old lesson of the French
Revolution! For many, too many, of them appear to derive their ideas of
war to-day from some dim reminiscent recollections of school histories
of the wars in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

To continue: "After all this was perfected by the hand of Bonaparte,
this military power based on the strength of the whole nation, marched
over Europe, smashing everything in pieces so surely and certainly,
that where it only encountered the old-fashioned armies the result was
not doubtful for a moment.

"A reaction, however, awoke in due time. In Spain the war became of
itself an affair of the people." In Austria. In Russia. "In Germany
Prussia rose up the first, made the war a national cause, and without
either money or credit, and with a population reduced one-half, took
the field with an army twice as strong as in 1806. The rest of Germany
followed the example of Prussia sooner or later." "Thus it was that
Germany and Russia, in the years 1813 and 1814, appeared against France
with about a million of men."

"Under these circumstances the energy thrown into the conduct of war
was quite different." "In eight months the theatre of war was removed
from the Oder to the Seine. Proud Paris had to bow its head for the
first time; and the redoubtable Bonaparte lay fettered on the ground."

"Therefore, since the time of Bonaparte, war, through being, first on
one side, then again on the other, an affair of the whole nation, has
assumed quite a new nature, or rather it has approached much nearer
to its real nature, to its absolute perfection. The means then called
forth had no visible limit, the limit losing itself in the energy
and enthusiasm of the Government and its subjects. By the extent of
the means, and the wide field of possible results, as well as by
the powerful excitement of feeling which prevailed, energy in the
conduct of war was immensely increased; the object of its action was
the downfall of the foe; and not until the enemy lay powerless on
the ground was it supposed to be possible to stop, or to come to any
understanding with regard to the mutual objects of the contest.

"Thus, therefore the element of war, freed from all conventional
restrictions, broke loose with all its natural force. The cause was the
participation of the people in this great affair of State, and this
participation arose partly from the effects of the French Revolution on
the internal affairs of other countries, partly from the threatening
attitude of the French towards all nations.

"Now, whether this will be the case always in future, whether all wars
hereafter in Europe will be carried on with the whole power of the
States, and, consequently, _will only take place on account of great
interests closely affecting the people_, would be a difficult point to
settle. But every one will agree with us that, at least, _Whenever
great interests are in dispute_, mutual hostility will discharge itself
in the same manner as it has done in our times."


REFLECTIONS

This is so true, that every war since the days of Clausewitz has made
its truth more apparent. Since he wrote, the participation of the
people in war has become, not a revolutionary fact, but an organized
fact, an ordinary fact in the everyday life of nations. To-day every
State except Great Britain, securely based on the system of the
universal training of its sons to arms, stands ready to defend its
interests with the whole concentrated power, physical, intellectual,
and material, of its whole manhood. Consequently, European war,
as Clausewitz foresaw, "will only take place on account of great
interests closely affecting the people." The character of such war
will be absolute, the object of its action will be the downfall of the
foe, and not till the foe (be it Great Britain or not) lies powerless
on the ground will it be supposed possible to stop. In the prosecution
of such a national war the means available, the energy and the effort
called forth, will be without limits. Such must be the conflicts of
nations-in-arms.

Yet, even now, so many years after Clausewitz wrote, in the hope, as he
himself stated, "to iron out many creases in the heads of strategists
and statesmen," the great transformation in the character of modern
war, due to the participation of the people therein, has not yet been
adequately realized by many men in this country _who ought to know_.
It is earnestly to be hoped that they will endeavour to adjust their
minds, as regards war, to the fact that we are living, not in the
eighteenth century, but in the twentieth, and that they will consider
that war has once for all become an affair of the people, that our
opponents will be a people-in-arms, using the uttermost means of their
whole manhood to crush us, and that disaster can only be prevented by a
like utmost effort on our part, by an effort regardless of everything
except self-preservation.



CHAPTER VI

PUBLIC OPINION IN WAR


"War belongs, not to the province of arts and sciences, but to the
province of social life. It is a conflict of great interests which is
settled by bloodshed, and only in that respect is it different from
others. It would be better, instead of comparing it with any art, to
liken it to trade, which is also a conflict of human interests and
activities; and it is still more like state policy, which again, on
its part, may be looked upon as a kind of trade on a great scale.
Besides, state policy is the womb in which war is developed, in which
its outlines lie hidden in a rudimentary state, like the qualities of
living creatures in their germs."[13]

These conflicts of interest can bring about gradually such a state of
feeling that "even the most civilized nations may burn with passionate
hatred of each other." It is an unpleasant fact for the philosopher,
for the social reformer, to contemplate, but history repeats and
repeats the lesson. Still more, "It is quite possible for such a state
of feeling to exist between two States that a very trifling political
motive for war may produce an effect quite disproportionate--in fact, a
perfect explosion."

"War is a wonderful trinity, composed of the original violence of its
elements--hatred and animosity--which may be looked upon as blind
instinct; of the play of probabilities and chance, which make it a free
activity of the soul; and of the subordinate nature of a political
instrument, by which it belongs purely to the reason.

"The first of these three phases concerns more the people; the second,
more the general and his army; the third more the Government. _The
passions which break forth in war must already have a latent existence
in the peoples._

"These three tendencies are deeply rooted in the nature of the subject.
A theory which would leave any one of them out of account would
immediately become involved in such a contradiction with the reality,
that it might be regarded as destroyed at once by that alone."[14]

Clausewitz is the great thinker, the great realist, the great
philosopher of war. His aim was, free from all bias, to get at _the
truth of things_. His view of war as a social act, as part of the
intercourse of nations, so that occasional warlike struggles can no
more be avoided than occasional commercial struggles, is a view which
requires to be most carefully pondered over by every statesman. It
is based upon the essential fundamental characteristics of human
nature, which do not alter. It is not to be lightly set aside by
declamation about the blessings of peace, the evils of war, the burden
of armaments, and such-like sophistries. To submit without a struggle
to injustice or to the destruction of one's vital interests is not in
passionate human nature. Nor will it ever be in the nature of a virile
people. It is indeed to be most sincerely hoped that _arbitration_
will be resorted to more and more as a means of peacefully settling
all non-vital causes of dispute. But arbitration has its limits. For
_no great nation will ever submit to arbitration any interest that
it regards as absolutely vital_. The view of war, therefore, as a
social act, as part of the intercourse of nations, with all that it
implies, appears to be the only one which a statesman, however much he
may regret the fact, can take. It has, therefore, been brought forward
here at once, as it underlies the whole subject and is essential to all
clear thought thereon.

So much for the influence of Public Opinion in producing war. Now for
its influence in and during war.

"There are three principal objects in carrying on war," says Clausewitz.

  "(_a_) To conquer and destroy the enemy's armed force.

  "(_b_) To get possession of the material elements of aggression,
  and of the other sources of existence of the hostile army.

  "(_c_) _To gain Public Opinion._[15]

"To attain the first of these objects, the chief operation must be
directed against the enemy's principal army, for it must be beaten
before we can follow up the other two objects with success.

"In order to seize the material forces, operations are directed against
those points at which those resources are chiefly concentrated:
principal towns, magazines, great fortresses. On the road to these the
enemy's principal force, or a considerable part of his army, will be
encountered.

"Public Opinion is ultimately gained by great victories, and by the
possession of the enemy's capital."[16]

This almost prophetic (as it was in his day) recognition by Clausewitz
of the vast importance of gaining Public Opinion _as one of the
three great aims in war_, is fundamental. It is just one of those
instances of his rare insight into the principles and development of
modern national war which make his book of such great and enduring
value to us. For since his day Europe has become organized into great
industrial nations, democracy and popular passion have become more
and more a force to be reckoned with, and the gaining and preserving
of Public Opinion in war has become more and more important. It has,
in fact, become the statesman's chief business during a great modern
national war. It has become necessary for him to study intently war in
its relation to industry, and to the industrial millions over whom he
presides, or over whom he may preside.


REFLECTIONS

(1) In the time of Clausewitz we in Britain were a nation of
18,000,000, practically self-supporting, and governed by an
aristocracy. To-day we are a crowded nation of 43,000,000 dependent
upon over-sea sources for three-fourths of our food, for our raw
materials, for our trade, for our staying power, _and_ we are governed
by a democracy. In a modern democratic State it will only be possible
to carry on the most just and unavoidable war so long as the hardships
brought on the democracy by the war do not become intolerable. To
prevent these hardships from thus becoming intolerable to the people,
to Public Opinion, will be the task of the modern statesman during war,
and this can only be done by wise prevision and timely preparation. _It
requires the internal organization of the Industrial State for war._

It appears to the _writer_ that internal organization can be subdivided
as follows:--

I. An adequate gold reserve.

II. The protection of our ships carrying raw material, food, and
exports during their passage on the high seas from the places of
origin to the consumers: (A) by the few available cruisers which could
be spared from the fighting fleets, assisted by a thoroughly well
thought out and prepared scheme of national indemnity (_vide_ Blue Book
thereon); (B) by insuring the distribution to the consumers of food
and raw material, after it has arrived in the country, by preparing a
thorough organization which would deal with the blocking of any of the
principal ports of arrival, and by guarding the vulnerable points of
our internal lines of communications to and from the shipping centres.

III. Organization of Poor Law system to bring immediate relief by
selling at peace price food to those unable to pay war prices owing to
(A) normal poverty (7,000,000 to 8,000,000 souls), (B) out-of-works,
due to effect of war on trade.

Work and wages the State _must_ guarantee during modern war, and
before the State _can_ guarantee these, it is absolutely necessary
that it should satisfy itself that the above preparations are actually
_in being_. This pre-supposes a more earnest study of the industrial
effects of a great national war than has yet been given to the subject
by our political leaders. For in the warfare of the present and future
the importance of gaining and preserving Public Opinion, as pointed
out by Clausewitz, cannot be over-estimated. It is as fundamentally
important _to safeguard our own Public Opinion as it is to attack,
weaken, and gain over that of the enemy_. This has not yet passed
the stage of thought. But good thoughts are no better than good dreams
unless they be put into action. We are waiting for the statesman to DO
it. There is no great difficulty.

(2) In arousing the national spirit to the requisite height of
patriotic self-denial and self-sacrifice, in elevating, preserving, and
safe-guarding Public Opinion during a great national struggle, much
may be hoped for from the patriotism of our Press. Only in fairness to
those whose patriotism is self-originating and spontaneous, it must
be made compulsory upon ALL, so that no journal may suffer loss of
circulation or pecuniary injury thereby.

(3) There lies a practical task immediately to the hand of our
statesmen if they will seriously set themselves to the task of
improving the _moral_ of our nation by reforming our education
_curriculum_, on the leading principle that the moral is to the
physical as three to one in life, and that therefore character-building
must be its chief aim. Then they will do much towards strengthening
us for war, towards carrying out Clausewitz's idea of the gaining and
preserving of our Public Opinion in War.



CHAPTER VII

THE NATURE OF WAR


"It is necessary for us to commence with a glance at the nature of the
whole, because it is particularly necessary that, in the consideration
of any of the parts, the whole should be kept constantly in view. We
shall not enter into any of the abstruse definitions of war used by
Publicists. We shall keep to the element of the thing itself, to a
duel. War is nothing but a duel on an extensive scale. If we would
conceive as a unit the countless numbers of duels which make up a
war, we shall do so best by supposing two wrestlers. Each strives
by physical force to throw his adversary, and thus to render him
incapable of further resistance.

"Violence arms itself with the inventions of arts and science in
order to contend against violence. Self-imposed restrictions, almost
imperceptible, and _hardly worth mentioning_, termed _usages of
International Law_, accompany it without essentially impairing its
power.

"Violence, that is to say physical force, is therefore _the Means_;
the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate
_object_. In order to attain this object fully the enemy must first be
disarmed: and this is, correctly speaking, the real aim of hostilities
in theory."[17]

Now, "philanthropists may easily imagine that there is a skilful
method of disarming and overcoming an adversary without causing great
bloodshed, and that this is the proper tendency of the art of war.
However plausible this may appear, _still it is an error which must
be extirpated_, for in such dangerous things as war _the errors which
proceed from a spirit of benevolence are just the worst_. As the
use of physical power to the utmost extent by no means excludes the
co-operation of the intelligence, it follows that _he who uses force
unsparingly without reference to the quantity of bloodshed_, MUST
_obtain a superiority if his adversary does not act likewise_." "To
introduce into the philosophy of war itself a principle of moderation
would be an absurdity." "We therefore repeat our proposition, that _War
is an act of violence which in its application knows no bounds_."


THE POLITICAL NATURE OF WAR

In endeavouring briefly to describe Clausewitz's method of looking at
war, one is continually confronted by the difficulty of selecting
a few leading ideas out of so many profound thoughts and pregnant
passages. However, a selection must be made.

I assign the first place to his conception of war as a part of policy,
because that is fundamentally necessary to understand his practical
way of looking at things. This point of view is as necessary for
the strategist as for the statesman, indeed for every man who would
understand the nature of war. For otherwise it is impossible to
understand the military conduct of many campaigns and battles, in which
the political outweighed the military influence, and led to action
incomprehensible almost from a purely military point of view. History
is full of such examples.

Clausewitz clearly lays down: "_War is only a continuation of State
policy by other means._ This point of view being adhered to will
introduce much more unity into the consideration of the subject, and
things will be more easily disentangled from each other."[18] "It
is only thus that we can obtain a clear conception of war, for the
political view is the _object_, war is the _means_, and the means
must always include the object in our conception." "Each (nation or
government) strives by physical force to compel the other to submit to
its will."[19]

Owing to the great importance of this point of view, so little
understood in this country, I have devoted the next chapter to it
alone, so as to bring out Clausewitz's view more in detail. We can,
therefore, pass on for the present.


THE CULMINATING POINT OF VICTORY

Secondly, I select his doctrine of the culminating point of victory,
because that is essential in order to understand his division of all
wars into two classes, according to how far the attack is likely to be
able to extend into the hostile country before reaching its culminating
point, where reaction may set in.[20]

"The conqueror in a war is not always in a condition to subdue his
adversary completely. Often, in fact almost _universally, there is a
culminating point of victory_. Experience shows this sufficiently."[21]
As the attack or invasion progresses it becomes weaker even from its
successes, from sieges or corps left to observe fortified places, from
the troops required to guard the territory gained, and the lengthening
line of communications, from the fact that we are removing further
from our resource while the enemy is falling back upon and drawing
nearer to his, from the danger of other States joining in to prevent
the utter destruction of the defeated nation, from the rousing of
the whole nation in extremity to save themselves by a people's war,
from the slackening of effort in the victorious army itself, etc.,
etc. Leoben, Friedland, Austerlitz, Moscow, are instances of such a
culminating point, and probably in the late Russo-Japanese war Harbin
would have proved so, too, if peace had not intervened.

Clausewitz continues: "It is necessary to know how far it (our
preponderance) will reach, in order not to go beyond that point and,
instead of fresh advantage, reap disaster." He defines it as "_The
point at which the offensive changes into the defensive_," and says,
"to overstep this point is more than simply a useless expenditure of
power yielding no further results, it is a _destructive_ step which
causes reaction, and the reaction is, according to all experience,
productive of most disproportionate effects."[22] The reader will find
it an interesting exercise to search for this culminating point of
victory in historical campaigns, and mark the result where it has been
overstepped and where it has not been overstepped.


THE TWO CLASSES OF WARS

From this consideration of the culminating point of victory follow the
two classes into which Clausewitz divides all wars.

"The two kinds of war are, first, those in which the object is the
complete _overthrow of the enemy_, whether it be that we aim at his
destruction politically, or merely at disarming him and forcing him to
conclude peace on our terms; and, _next_, those in which our aim is
merely to make some conquests on the frontiers of his country, either
for the purpose of retaining them permanently, or of turning them to
account as matters for exchange in the settlement of Peace."[23]

All wars, therefore, are wars for the complete destruction of the
enemy, _i.e._ "unlimited object," or wars with a "limited object."
In the plan of a war it is necessary to settle which it is to be in
accordance with our powers and resources of attack compared with
the enemy's resources for defence, and where our culminating point
of victory is likely to be, on this side of the enemy's capital or
beyond it. If the former--then the plan should be one with a "limited
object," such as the Crimea, Manchuria, etc.; if the latter--then the
plan should aim at the enemy's total destruction, such as most of
Napoleon's campaigns, or the Allies in 1813, 1814, 1815, or as 1866,
or 1870. As Clausewitz says: "_Now, the first, the grandest, and most
decisive act of judgment which the statesman and general exercises, is
rightly to understand in this respect the war in which he engages_,
not to take it for something or to wish to make of it something which,
by the nature of its relations, it is impossible for it to be. _This,
therefore, is the first and most comprehensive of all strategical
questions._"[24]

In Clausewitz's two plans for war with France in 1831,[25] this
difference is plain. In the first plan, he considered Prussia, Austria,
the German Confederation, and Great Britain united as allies against
France,--and with this great superiority of numbers he plans an attack
by two armies, each of 300,000 men, one marching on Paris from Belgium,
one on Orleans from the Upper Rhine. In the second plan the political
conditions had meanwhile changed; Austria and Great Britain were
doubtful, and Clausewitz held it accordingly dubious if Prussia and
the German Confederation alone could appear before Paris in sufficient
strength to guarantee victory in a decisive battle, and with which it
would be permissible to venture even beyond Paris. So he proposed to
limit the object to the conquest of Belgium, and to attack the French
vigorously the moment they entered that country.

Which strict limitation of the object within the means available to
attain it is characteristic of Clausewitz's practical way of looking
at things. In each plan, however, a vigorous offensive aiming at a
decisive victory was to be adopted.


PREPARATION FOR WAR

The third place, in respect to its present-day importance, I assign to
Clausewitz's clear statement that--

"If we have clearly understood the result of our reflections, then
the activities belonging to war divide themselves into two principal
classes, into such as are only _preparations for war_ and into _the war
itself_. This distinction must also be made in theory."

Nothing could be more clearly stated than this, or place in greater
honour peace preparations. Like his doctrine of the importance of
gaining public opinion in war, it is one of those almost prophetic
utterances which make Clausewitz the germ of modern military evolution.

Clausewitz, unlike Jomini who did not, foresaw to a certain extent
(probably owing to his employment in organizing the new Prussian
short-service army after 1806) the nation-in-arms of the present day.
And, since his time, the greater the forces which have to be prepared,
the greater has become the value of preparation for war. It has been
continually growing, till to-day it has obtained such overwhelming
importance that one may almost say that a modern war is practically (or
nearly so) decided _before_ war breaks out, according to which nation
has made the greatest and most thorough peace preparations.

Clausewitz elsewhere speaks of "every imaginable preparation." We may
nowadays almost go so far as to say that preparation is war, and that
that nation which is beaten in preparation is already beaten BEFORE
the war breaks out.

A failure to understand this fact is a fundamental error at the root
of the idea of war as held by civilians, for many of them think that
speeches are a substitute for preparations.

It is plain that these three ideas of Clausewitz regarding the nature
of war, its political nature, the distinction between wars with an
unlimited object and a limited object, and preparations in peace-time,
are as much matters for the statesman as for the soldier, and require
study and reflection on the part of the former as much as on the part
of the latter.


FRICTION IN WAR

I place friction here before the more detailed consideration of actual
war, of war in itself, because it is that which distinguishes war
on paper from real war, the statesman's and soldier's part from the
part of the soldier only, and is therefore to be fitly treated midway
between the two.

Friction in war is one of Clausewitz's most characteristic ideas. He
always looks at everything from that point of view, and as friction
and the fog of war, and their influence on human nature will always be
the chief characteristic of real war as distinguished from theoretical
war or war on paper, it is chiefly this habit or mode of thought which
makes his writings of such great and permanent value. It is also a
habit which we ought sedulously to cultivate in ourselves.

"_In war everything is very simple, but the simplest thing is
difficult_,"[26] runs his famous saying. Why is the simplest thing
difficult? Because of the friction of war. And how can that friction
be minimized? Only by force of character, and the military virtues of
discipline, perseverance, resolution, energy, and boldness. Hence the
great emphasis which he always and everywhere lays upon character and
these military virtues as the deciding factors in war.

"_Friction is the only conception which in a general way corresponds to
that which distinguishes real war from war on paper_," he says. Each
individual of the army "keeps up his own friction in all directions."
"The danger which war brings with it, the bodily exertions which it
requires, augment this evil so much that they may be regarded as the
greatest causes of it."[27] "_This enormous friction is everywhere
brought into contact with chance_, and thus facts take place
upon which it was impossible to calculate, their chief origin being
chance. As an instance of one such chance take the weather. Here the
fog prevents the enemy from being discovered in time,--a battery from
firing, or a report from reaching the general. The rain (mud) prevents
a battalion from arriving,--or the cavalry from charging effectively,
because it had stuck fast in the heavy ground." And so on. Consider
for examples the foggy mornings of Jena or Austerlitz, of Eylau, the
Katzbach, Grosbeeren, Dennewitz, Pultusk, Dresden, Sadowa; or the mud
of Poland, the snow of Russia, or, latest, the mud of Manchuria.

"_Activity in war is movement in a resistant medium._" "_The knowledge
of friction is a chief part of that so often talked of experience in
war_, which is required in a good general." "It is therefore this
friction which makes that which appears easy in war so difficult in
reality."[28] In considering any situation in war we must therefore
always add to the known circumstances--friction.


WAR ITSELF

In Clausewitz's way of looking at war itself I assign at once the first
place to his doctrine, "_The destruction of the enemy's military force
is the leading principle of war_, and for the whole chapter of positive
action _the direct way to the aim_."[29] This dictum, repeated in
many different forms, underlies his whole conception of war. All the
old theoretical ideas about threatening by manoeuvring, conquering by
manoeuvring, forcing the enemy to retreat by manoeuvring, and so forth,
in which his predecessors entangled strategy, and from which even the
Archduke Charles and Jomini had not completely freed themselves, he
brushes aside by "our assertion is that ONLY great tactical results can
lead to great strategical results."[30] Thus he leads and concentrates
our thoughts in strategy on the central idea of victory in battle,
and frees us once for all from the obscuring veil of lines and angles
and geometrical forms by which other writers have hidden that truth.
"Philanthropists may easily imagine that there is a skilful method of
overcoming and disarming an adversary without causing great bloodshed,
and that this is the proper tendency of the art of war. However
plausible this may appear, _it is an error which must be extirpated_,
for, in such dangerous things as war, _the errors which spring from a
spirit of benevolence are just the worst_."[31] For "he who uses force
unsparingly without reference to the quantity of bloodshed, _must_
obtain the superiority if his adversary does not act likewise." And the
"worst of all errors in wars" is still the idea of war too commonly
held by civilians in this country, as witness the outcries which
greeted every loss during the South African war, which shows how much
Clausewitz is needed as a tonic to brace their minds to the reality.

"War is an act of violence which in its application knows NO bounds."
"Let us not hear of generals who conquer without bloodshed; if a bloody
slaughter be a horrible sight, then that is a ground for paying more
respect to war (for avoiding unnecessary war), but not for making the
sword we wear blunt and blunter by degrees from feelings of humanity,
till some one steps in with a sword that is sharp, and lops off the
arm from our body."


SIMPLE PLANS

The second place I assign to his doctrine of _the simplest plans_,
because time is required for the completion of complicated evolutions,
but "a bold, courageous, resolute enemy will not let us have _time_
for wide-reaching skilful combination."[32] "By this it appears to us
that the advantage of simple and direct results over those that are
complicated is conclusively shown."

"We must not lift the arm too far for the room given to strike," or the
opponent will get his thrust in first.

"Whenever this is the case, we must ourselves choose the shorter."
"Therefore, far from making it our aim to gain upon the enemy by
complicated plans, _we must always rather endeavour to be beforehand
with him by the simplest and shortest_."


STRATEGIC LINES

The salient and re-entrant frontiers, the subtle distinctions between
the numerous kinds of strategic lines, and lines of operation,
and lines of manoeuvre, etc., etc., etc., which in Jomini and his
predecessors and followers play so great, so pedantic, and so confusing
a part,--for these Clausewitz has little respect. In his chapter on
"The Geometrical Element,"[33] he says, "We therefore do not hesitate
to regard it as an established truth that _in strategy more depends
upon the number and magnitude of the victorious battles than on the
form of the great lines by which they are connected_."[34] Of course
he does not altogether leave out such considerations, but the above
sentence shows how he regards them as only of minor importance. He
therefore frees us from a great deal of pedantry, and takes us back to
the heart of things.


FRICTION

has been already dealt with, so no more need be said here, except about
its components.


DANGER

"An ordinary character never attains to complete coolness" in danger.
"Danger in war belongs to its friction, and a correct idea of it is
necessary for truth of perception, and therefore it is brought under
notice here."[35]


BODILY EXERTION

Clausewitz says that bodily exertion and fatigue in war "put fetters on
the action of the mind, and wear out in secret the powers of the soul."
"Like danger, they belong to the fundamental causes of friction."[36]

To one who, like Clausewitz, had seen the retreat from Moscow, the
awful passage of the Beresina, and the battle of the nations round
Leipzig, bodily exertion could not be overlooked. Had he not seen
bodily exertion and hardship break up the Grand Army into a small horde
of stragglers, and destroy the army of Kutusoff in almost an equal
measure, in 1812, as well as practically ruin the spirit, and largely
break up the great army of Napoleon in 1813?

As for the effects of bodily exertion on the mind, purpose, and
resolution of the general, compare Benningsen at Eylau after thirty-six
hours in the saddle, or Napoleon at Dresden, by which he lost all the
results of his victory.


INFORMATION IN WAR

"_The foundation of all our ideas and actions_," but "in a few words,
_most reports are false_." "When in the thick of war itself one
report follows hard upon the heels of another, it is fortunate if
these reports in contradicting each other show a certain balance of
probability." In another passage, in order to illustrate this perpetual
uncertainty under which all decisions in war have to be made, he
compares two opposing commanders to two men fighting in a dark room and
groping uncertainly for one another.

"These things which as elements meet together in the atmosphere of war
and make it a _resistant medium for every activity_, we have designated
danger, bodily exertion, information, and friction."[37] He never loses
sight of this; it pervades everything he writes.


THE MORAL AND PHYSICAL

"And therefore the most of the subjects which we shall go through in
this book are composed _half of physical, half of moral causes and
effects_, and we might say that the physical are almost no more than
the wooden handle, whilst the moral are the noble metal, the real
bright polished weapon."[38] Pages might be filled with extracts
showing his opinion that the moral is everything in war, but the reader
is already convinced of that. Compare Napoleon's in war, "The moral
is to the physical as three to one." Clausewitz regards all military
questions from this point. His psychological attitude is what chiefly
characterizes Clausewitz from all writers who came before him, and
which makes his deductions so realistic, so interesting and so valuable
for all who come after him.


TENSION AND REST IN WAR

In order not to weary the reader I will bring this chapter to a
conclusion with one or two extracts relating to "tension and rest;
the suspension of the act in warfare." This is explanatory of those
frequent halts which take place in a campaign, which appear at first
sight contradictory to the absolute theory of war. These halts are
due to many causes, such as preparations, exhaustion, uncertainty,
irresolution, friction, waiting for reinforcements, etc.

In this connection one must remember that war is "a chain of battles
all strung together, one of which always brings on another." But they
seldom follow each other immediately; there is usually a certain
pause between. As soon as one battle is gained, strategy makes new
combinations in accordance with the altered circumstances to win the
next. Whilst these new combinations are being developed, or perhaps
considered, there may be a greater or less suspension of the act, a
longer or shorter halt in the forward movement. Then another spring
forward. Clausewitz has a great many interesting things to say on this
subject.[39]

"If there is a suspension of the act in war, that is to say, if neither
party for the moment wills anything positive, there is _rest_, and for
the moment equilibrium.... As soon as ever one of the parties proposes
to himself a new positive object, and commences active steps towards
it, even if it is only by preparations, and as soon as the enemy
opposes this, there is _tension_ of the powers; this lasts until the
decision takes place.... This decision, the foundation of which lies
always in the battle-combinations which are made on each side, ... is
followed by a movement in one or other direction."

"It may so happen that both parties, at one and the same time, not only
feel themselves too weak to attack, but are so in reality."

"Wild as is the nature of war it still wears the claims of human
weakness, and the contradiction we see here, that man seeks and creates
dangers which he fears at the same time, will astonish no one."

"If we cast a glance at military history in general, there we find
so much the opposite of an incessant advance towards the aim, that
_standing still_ and _doing nothing_ is quite plainly the _normal
condition_ of an army in the midst of war, _acting_ the _exception_.
This must almost raise a doubt as to the correctness of our conception.
But if military history has this effect by the great body of its
events, so also the latest series of wars redeem the view. The war of
the French Revolution shows only too plainly its reality, and only
proves too plainly its necessity. In that war, and especially in the
campaigns of Bonaparte, the conduct of war attained to that unlimited
degree of energy which we have represented as the natural law of the
element. This degree is therefore possible, and if it is possible then
it is necessary."


REFLECTIONS

(1) "Hardly worth mentioning"! So that is how Clausewitz regards
International Law, Clausewitz to whom in Germany "our most famous
victors on the more modern battlefields owe their spiritual training,"
and on whom "everybody who to-day either makes or teaches modern war
bases himself, even if he is not conscious of it." And we must regard
nearly every foreign statesman as, consciously or unconsciously, a
disciple of Clausewitz. It is, therefore, high time that we should
cease to pin our faith on International Law, or think that it can in
any way protect us, if we neglect strongly to protect ourselves. Power
and expediency are the only rules that the practical politicians of
foreign countries recognize, and the only question they ask themselves
is, "Have we got sufficient power to do this," and if so, "Is it
expedient to do it?"

(2) Treaties, too, what reliance can we place upon them for any length
of time? None whatever. For treaties are only considered binding as
long as the interests of _both_ contracting parties remain the same.
Directly circumstances change, and they change constantly, the most
solemn treaties are torn up, as Russia tore up the Treaty of Paris, or
as Austria tore up the Treaty of Berlin. All history is full of torn-up
treaties. And as it has been so it will be. The European waste-paper
basket is the place to which all treaties eventually find their way,
and a thing which can any day be thrown into a waste-paper basket
is, indeed, a poor thing on which to hang our national safety. Only
in ourselves can we trust. Therefore no treaties at present existing
should be allowed in any way to alter or lessen our preparations to
enable us to fight _alone_ when necessary.

(3) It cannot be too often repeated, or too much insisted on, that the
success or failure of a State policy is dependent upon the amount of
armed force behind it. For upon the amount of armed force behind a
policy depends the greater or less amount of resistance, of friction,
which that policy will meet with on the part of other nations. The
prestige of a nation depends upon the general belief in its strength.
The less its prestige, the more it will be checked and foiled by its
rivals, till at last perhaps it is goaded into a war which would have
been prevented if its prestige, or armed force, had been greater. On
the other hand, the greater its prestige, its armed force, the more
reasonable and inclined to a fair compromise are its rivals found. So
that the greater the prestige, the armed force, of our nation is, the
more likely is it that all our negotiations will be settled by peaceful
compromise, and the longer we shall enjoy peace.

Therefore, under this consideration, those who would reduce our
national forces are deeply mistaken, for such action would imperil our
prestige, imperil our negotiations, imperil our peace, and perhaps lead
eventually to a war that we might otherwise have avoided. Therefore
no such deeply mistaken economy for us. A few hundred thousand pounds
saved would be dear economy indeed if it led, as well it might, to the
payment before many years of a War Indemnity of £800,000,000 or so.
Better the evils we know than the far greater evils we know not of.

(4) Surprise in war is what we have to fear. There are two sorts of
national surprise that we must consider. These are (A) the _surprise
by actual hostilities_ taking place before the actual declaration of
war, such as the Japanese surprise and practical destruction of the
fighting force of the Russian fleet at Port Arthur; (B) the _surprise
by superior preparation_, silently carried out till all is ready for a
decisive blow, whilst we are not ready for equally efficient defence,
and then a declaration of war before we have time to get properly
ready, as the surprise in this sense of France by Germany in 1870.

(A) Every successful example is always copied, and usually on a larger
scale. We may be quite certain that our rivals have taken to heart
the lesson of Port Arthur. It is possible that our next war will open
with a similar night attack on our fleet, either just before, or
simultaneously with the declaration of war. If it is successful, or
even partially successful, it may produce the most grave results, as in
the Russo-Japanese War. It _may_ render possible a naval action with
almost equal forces, in which our opponents _might_ be victorious. The
invasion of this country on a gigantic scale by 300,000 men or more
would then follow as a certainty. This is not a probability, but a
possibility which requires to be kept in our view.

(B) _The surprise by superior preparation_, as I term it, for want
of a better name, is a danger to which we are peculiarly liable. As
Lord Salisbury said, "The British constitution is a bad fighting
machine," and it is made an infinitely worse fighting machine by
the lack of interest which our politicians appear to take in all
that appertains to war. Hence they are always liable to oppose, as
excessive, preparations which are in reality the minimum consistent
with national safety. Consequently our preparations for war, controlled
as they are by those who have no special knowledge of war, are always
apt to be insufficient, as were those of France in 1870. In former
days this did not perhaps so very much matter, although it resulted
in the unnecessary loss of hundreds of thousands of British lives and
hundreds of millions of British treasure. But still we were able, at
this somewhat excessive price, to "muddle through," owing to the heroic
efforts of our soldiers and sailors to make bricks without straw and
retrieve the mistakes of our policy. For our opponents then conducted
war in such a slow way as to give us time to repair _after_ the
outbreak of war our lack of preparation _before_ it. But opposed to a
modern nation-in-arms, guided by statesmen and led by generals brought
up in the school of Napoleon, Clausewitz, and Moltke--all will be
different. In such a war the national forces brought into play are so
immense that it is only possible to do so efficaciously if everything
has been most carefully prepared and organized beforehand. It is not
_possible_ to improvise such organization of national force _after_
the war has begun, for there cannot be sufficient time. If our rival
makes adequate preparation before the war to bring to bear in that
war the _whole_ of its national force, material, moral, and physical,
while we only prepare to bring to bear a _small portion_ thereof, then
there will be no time afterwards for us to repair our negligence. The
war will be conducted with the utmost energy, and the aim will be to
utilize to the utmost the superiority obtained by superior preparation,
so as to make the decision as rapid as possible before we have time to
recover from the effects of our surprise. That is the danger we have to
fear, and to keep ever in mind.



CHAPTER VIII

WAR AS POLICY


"War," says Clausewitz, "is only a continuation of State policy by
other means." The first question that at once arises in the mind is
what is meant by Policy. We may safely lay down that State policy is
the defence and furtherance of the interests of the nation as a whole
amidst the play of the conflicting tendencies towards rest and towards
acquisition, and that its instruments are the pen and the sword. There
can, of course, be any degree of consistency or fickleness, of strength
or weakness, of success or failure, in the policy of a State.

Clausewitz expressly stated that he hoped "to iron out many creases
in the heads of strategists and statesmen," such, for instance, as
the idea that it is possible to consider either policy or war as
independent of the other.

It is only possible to obtain a proper conception of policy if we
regard it as continuous both in peace and war, using sometimes peace
negotiations, sometimes war negotiations, as circumstances require, to
attain the political object.

War is only a part of policy, a continuance of the previous
negotiations; but the instrument is now the sword and not the pen. As
Clausewitz says, "_In one word, the art of war, in its highest point
of view, is policy; but no doubt a policy which fights battles instead
of writing notes._" War is merely a means whereby a nation attempts
to impose its will upon another nation in order to attain a political
object. This object is settled by policy, which also orders the war,
determines what sort of war it is to be, with what means and resources
and expenditure it is to be waged, when its object has been attained,
and when it is to cease. In fact, policy prepares, leads up to, orders,
supports, guides, and stops the war. As Clausewitz said, "_All the
leading outlines of a war are always determined by the Cabinet--that
is, by a political, not a military functionary._"

Unity of thought is only to be obtained by "the conception that
war is only a part of political intercourse, therefore by no means
an independent thing in itself." "And how can we conceive it to be
otherwise? Does the cessation of diplomatic notes stop the political
relations between different nations and governments? Is not war
merely another kind of writing and language for political thoughts?"
"Accordingly war can never be separated from political intercourse;
and if, in the consideration of the matter, this is done in any way,
all the threads of the different relations are, to a certain extent,
broken, and we have before us a senseless thing without an object."

"If war belongs to policy, it will naturally take its character from
policy. If the policy is grand and powerful, so will also be the war,
and this may be carried to the point at which war attains to its
absolute form." "Only through this kind of view war recovers unity;
only by it can we see _all_ wars of _one_ kind, and it is only through
it that the judgment can obtain the true and perfect basis and point of
view from which _great plans_ may be traced out and determined upon."

"There is upon the whole nothing more important in life than to find
out the _right_ point of view from which things should be looked at and
judged of, and then to keep to that point; for we can only apprehend
the mass of events in their unity from _one_ standpoint; and it is only
the keeping to one point of view that guards us from inconsistency."
"We can only look at policy here as the representative of the interests
generally of the whole community," and "_wars are in reality only the
expressions or manifestations of policy itself_."

To the student of history this unity of conception is equally
necessary, for it supplies the key to many a military puzzle. Without
it we can never understand, for instance, Napoleon's conduct in
1812, 1813, 1814; nor without it can we see the compelling reason of
many battles, apparently fought against military judgment, such, for
instance, as Borodino, Leipzig, Sedan, etc. We have to remember that
these and many other battles, as, for instance, Ladysmith, were fought
from a political, not a military, motive. It is a well-known fact that
the strategist frequently has to alter and adapt his plans so as to
suit overmastering political necessity. Yet many people have failed to
draw therefrom the generalization of Clausewitz that "war is only a
continuation of State policy by other means." But having got it now,
let us hold fast to it, with all its consequences.


SOME KNOWLEDGE OF WAR NECESSARY FOR STATESMEN

"From this point of view there is no longer in the nature of things
a necessary conflict between the political and military interests,
and where it appears it is therefore to be regarded as _imperfect
knowledge_ only. That policy makes demands upon the war which it
cannot respond to, would be contrary to the supposition that _it knows
the instrument it is going to use_, therefore contrary to a natural and
_indispensable supposition_."

"_None of the principal plans which are required for a war can be made
without an insight into the political relations_; and in reality when
people speak, as they often do, of the prejudicial influence of policy
on the conduct of a war, they say in reality something very different
to what they intend. It is not this influence, but the policy itself
which should be found fault with. If policy is right, if it succeeds
in hitting the object, then it can only act on the war also with
advantage; and if this influence of policy causes a divergence from the
object, the cause is to be looked for in a mistaken policy.

"It is only when policy promises itself a wrong effect from certain
military means and measures, an effect opposed to their nature, that it
can exercise a prejudicial effect on war by the course it prescribes.
Just as a person in a language with which he is not conversant
sometimes says what he does not intend, _so policy, when intending
right, may often order things which do not tally with its own views_.

"_This has happened times without end, and it shows that a certain
knowledge of the nature of war is essential to the management of
political intercourse._"


THE WAR MINISTER

"Before going further we must guard ourselves against a false
interpretation of which this is very susceptible. We do not mean to
say that this acquaintance with the nature of war is the _principal_
qualification for a war minister. Elevation, superiority of mind,
strength of character, these are the principal qualifications which he
must possess; a knowledge of war may be supplied in one way or another."


POLICY AND THE MEANS TO CARRY OUT THAT POLICY MUST HARMONIZE

"_If war is to harmonize entirely with the political views, and policy
to accommodate itself to the means available for war_, there is only
one alternative to be recommended when the statesman and soldier are
not combined in one person (note, as William of Orange, Frederick
the Great, or Napoleon), which is to make the chief commander an
_ex-officio_ member of the Cabinet, that he may take part in its
councils and decisions on important occasions."

"The influence of any military man except the general-in-chief in the
Cabinet is extremely dangerous; it very seldom leads to able, vigorous
action."


REFLECTIONS

We shall conclude this chapter with a few reflections on the preceding
dicta of Clausewitz, with which it is hoped that the reader will agree.

Firstly, then, it is clearly apparent that war is subordinate to
policy, is an instrument of policy, is a part of policy, just as much
as diplomatic negotiations are a part of policy.

Secondly, a statesman, however good at peaceful administration he may
be, who is ignorant of war is, therefore, ignorant of one part of
his profession; that part which deals with the preparing, ordering,
guiding, and controlling of war. As Clausewitz says, "it is an
_indispensable supposition_ that policy knows the instrument it is
going to use." It is a mistake to suppose, when diplomatic relations
between two States cease, and war breaks out, that therefore the
political negotiations cease, for they do not, but are merely continued
in another form--in the form of war. The statesman still retains
control, and uses the military events as they occur to attain his
object. He is still responsible for the success of the warlike, as well
as of the peaceful, policy of the nation.

Thirdly, it is a disputed point how far the influence of policy is
theoretically allowable during the course of actual operations, _i.e._
after the war has actually begun. Moltke's opinion was that policy
should only act at the beginning and at the end of a war, and should
keep clear during the actual operations. Clausewitz, however, holds
that the two are so intimately related that the political influence
cannot be lost sight of even during actual operations. Between two
such authorities we may well hesitate to give a definite opinion, and
must seek for the middle way. Undoubtedly, in history policy often
has really affected the actual operations, as in 1812, 1813, 1814,
1864, Macmahon's march to Sedan, or Bismarck's interference to hurry
on the siege of Paris in 1870, or Ladysmith in the Boer War, and in
many other cases. That, we must admit. We must also admit that its
interference frequently produces a weakening effect on the operations.
Clausewitz says that that only occurs when the policy itself is
wrong. Perhaps. But the safest middle way rule appears to be this,
that policy should be dominant at the beginning and end of a war, but
during actual operations the statesman should exercise the greatest
possible restraint, and avoid all interference, except when demanded by
_overwhelming political necessity_.

Fourthly, a politician is bound to study war. He is bound to study war
as well as diplomacy, his two instruments. If he only studies how to
use one of his two instruments, he will be a poor statesman indeed.
It is plain that he MUST study war, so that he may not try to use an
instrument of which he knows nothing. It is not meant, of course,
that a politician should study all the details of naval and military
matters, but only that he should study the general principles of war,
and the means, resources, and forces required to attain the political
object of war, through the submission of the enemy.

Fifthly, in order that the object and the means of policy may
harmonize, it is necessary that the one to whom the national interests
are entrusted should study the principles of war, so that _he may keep
his policy proportionate to the means of enforcing it_. That is to say,
he must not propose or commit the nation to a policy which is likely
to be strongly opposed by another Power, unless he has from careful
study and enquiry made certain that he has sufficient armed force at
his disposal, in case the opposing nation suddenly challenges his
policy and declares war. He should not even consider a policy without
_at the same time_ considering with his military and naval advisers the
nation's means of enforcing that policy if challenged to do so. He must
not think of embarking upon a war, or of provoking another nation to do
so, till he has carefully provided sufficient armed force to give a
reasonable prospect, if not a certainty, of success. Otherwise,

Sixthly, as our next contest will be with a nation-in-arms, as the war
will be in its character absolute, as its object will be the downfall
of the foe, as not until the foe (whether it be Great Britain or not)
lies powerless upon the ground will it be supposed possible to stop, as
we shall have to contend against the utmost means, the utmost energy,
the utmost efforts of a whole people-in-arms,--these points deserve the
most serious consideration of every politician who aspires to guide the
destinies of the Anglo-Saxon Race.



CHAPTER IX

STRATEGY


Clausewitz defines strategy as "_the use of the battle to gain the
object of the war_." War is "a chain of battles all strung together,
one of which always brings on another."[40] The great thing in strategy
is to win these battles one after the other till the enemy submits.
"_The best strategy is always to be very strong, first, generally;
secondly, at the decisive point._"[41]

"In such an aspect we grant that the superiority of numbers is the
most important factor in the result of a battle, only it must be
sufficiently great to be a counterpoise to all the other co-operating
circumstances. The direct result of all this is that the _greatest
possible number of troops should be brought into action at the decisive
point_.[42] Whether the troops thus brought up are sufficient or not,
we have then done in this respect all that our means allowed. This is
_the first great principle of strategy_, as well suited for Greeks or
Persians, or for Englishmen, or Mahrattas, as for French or Germans."

It sounds so simple, and yet how many times has it not been done. How
many generals have been ruined in consequence!


SUPERIORITY IN NUMBERS WHAT IS REQUIRED FOR STRATEGIC CERTAINTY

Clausewitz says, "It is a fact that we may search modern military
history in vain for a battle (except Leuthen or Rosbach) in which an
army has beaten another double its own strength, an occurrence by no
means uncommon in former times. Bonaparte, the greatest general of
modern days, in all his great victorious battles, with one exception,
that of Dresden 1813, had managed to assemble an army superior in
numbers, or at least very little inferior, to that of his opponent, and
when it was impossible for him to do so, as at Leipzig, Brienne, Laon,
Waterloo, he was beaten."[43] "From this we may infer, in the present
state of Europe, that it is very difficult for the most talented
general to gain a victory over an enemy double his strength. Now, if
we see that double numbers are such a weight in the scale against even
the greatest generals, we may be sure that in ordinary cases, in small
as well as in great combats, an important superiority of numbers, but
which need not be over _two to one_, will be sufficient to _ensure the
victory_, however disadvantageous other circumstances may be."[44]

The double superiority of numbers at the decisive point is, therefore,
the ideal of strategy. "_The superiority of numbers is, therefore, to
be regarded as the fundamental idea, always to be aimed at, before
all_, and as far as possible." If strategy has done this, then it has
done its utmost duty. It is then for the tactician to make the most
of this superiority thus provided by strategy, and win the victory.
Strategy then repeats the operation with new combinations suited to
the altered circumstances to win the next battle, and so on, till the
hostile armed force is destroyed.

This _superiority of numbers_ in battle as the _first principle of
strategy_ we require, on all occasions in season and out of season, to
repeat and repeat. At present we have not the numbers we shall want. We
must get them. Otherwise we are bound to be inferior in numbers, and
"the best strategy" will be possible for our enemies and impossible for
us. This rests with our statesmen.


THE DECISIVE POINT

If the double superiority, or as near the double as possible, at the
decisive point is the ideal of strategy ... what is the decisive point?

Here we owe another debt to Clausewitz. Jomini, even after Napoleon,
confuses us with three different sorts of decisive points in a theatre
of war, but Clausewitz clears the air by asserting only _one_.

"But whatever may be the central point of the enemy's power against
which we are to direct our ultimate operations, _still the conquest and
destruction of his army is the surest commencement_ and, _in all cases,
the most essential_."[45]

Here we have it in a nutshell; wherever the enemy's main force is THERE
is the decisive point, against which we must concentrate ALL our forces.

"There are," said Napoleon, "many good generals in Europe, but they
see too many things at one time. _As for me, I see only one thing, the
enemy's chief army, and I concentrate all my efforts to destroy it._"


THE SIMULTANEOUS USE OF ALL THE FORCES

"The rule," says Clausewitz, "which we have been endeavouring to set
forth is, therefore, that all the forces which are available and
destined for a strategic object should be _simultaneously_ applied
to it. And this application will be all the more complete the more
everything is compressed into one act and one moment."[46] This he
calls "_the law of the simultaneous employment of the forces in
strategy_."[47] "In strategy we can never employ too many forces."[48]
"What can be looked upon in tactics as an excess of force must be
regarded in strategy as a means of giving expansion to success."
"_No troops should be kept back as a strategic reserve_," but every
available man hurried up to the first battlefield, fresh levies being
meanwhile formed in rear. As an instance of what not to do, Prussia, in
1806, kept back 45,000 men in Brandenburg and East Prussia; they might,
if present at Jena, have turned defeat into victory, but they were
useless afterwards.[49] A fault so often made may be made again.


CONCENTRATION

"It is impossible to be too strong at the decisive point," said
Napoleon. To concentrate every available man and gun at the decisive
point so as to attain superiority there, is not an easy thing, for the
enemy will be making a similar attempt. "The calculation of time and
space appears the most essential thing to this end. But the calculation
of time and space, though it lies universally at the foundation of
strategy, and is to a certain extent its daily bread, is still neither
the most difficult nor the most decisive one." "Much more frequently
the relative superiority, that is the skilful assemblage of superior
forces at the decisive point, has its foundation in the right
appreciation of those points, in the judicious distribution which by
that means has been given to the forces from the very first, and in
_the resolution to sacrifice the unimportant to the advantage of the
important_. In this respect Frederick the Great and Bonaparte are
especially characteristic."[50]

"There is no simpler and more imperative rule for strategy than _to
keep all the forces concentrated. No portion to be separated from the
main body unless called away by some urgent necessity._ On this maxim
we stand firm, and look upon it as a fact to be depended upon."[51]

"_The concentration of the whole force_ (_i.e._ within supporting
distance) _should be the rule_, and _every separation or division is an
exception which must be justified_."[52] Of course, this does not
mean that all the troops are to be kept concentrated in one mass upon
one road, but within supporting distance, for he expressly states, "_It
is sufficient now if the concentration takes place during the course of
the action._"[53] This doctrine, qualified by the last sentence, makes
Clausewitz the germ of modern military thought, for the last sentence
leaves room for all the modern developments of new roads, railways,
telegraphs, wire and wireless, and so forth.

Therefore in war, according to Clausewitz, concentration,
concentration, concentration, and _every division or detachment is an
evil which can only be justified by urgent necessity_. Here again we
find a simple truth, which, however, the history of all wars shows us
to be very difficult to carry out. Hence the value of keeping such an
imperative maxim always in our minds.


THE FIRST PITCHED BATTLE

"The more a general takes the field in the true spirit of war, as
well as of every other contest, that he must and _will_ conquer, the
more will he strive to throw every weight into the scale in the first
battle, and hope and strive to win everything by it. Napoleon hardly
ever entered upon a war without thinking of conquering his enemy at
once in the first battle."[54]

"_At the very outset of war we must direct all our efforts to gain the
first battle_, because an unfavourable issue is always a disadvantage
to which no one would willingly expose himself, and also because the
first decision, though not the only one, still will have the more
influence on subsequent events the greater it is in itself."[1]

"The law of the simultaneous use of the forces in strategy lets the
principal result (which need not be the final one) take place almost
always at the commencement of the great act."[55] A great victory thus
won at the outset will upset all the enemy's plan of campaign and allow
us to carry out our own. The first pitched battle is, therefore, the
crisis of the rival strategies, and towards its favourable decision
all our preparations, all our forces, and all our energies should be
directed. This is a point that civilians seem to find hard to grasp.
Witness all our history, with inadequate forces at the beginning of
every war, as even in the latest of our wars--that in South Africa. It
is a point which our statesmen should very seriously consider.

The difficulty of concentrating superior numbers for the first battle
is that the enemy will be, or should be, of the same opinion, and will
be making equal efforts to win the first battle. So, then, the crisis
will be all the more acute, the battle greater, and the result greater.

"_We would not avoid showing at once that the bloody solution of the
crisis, the effort for the destruction of the enemy's main force, is
the first-born son of war._"[56]

Till this is done, the first great victory gained, strategy should
think of nothing else.

Then, and only then, a further combination in accordance with the
altered circumstances to win the next.

"For we maintain that, with few exceptions, _the victory at the
decisive point will carry with it the decision on all minor
points_"[57] over the whole theatre of war. Therefore nothing else
matters for long, and to victory in the first great battle "everything
else must be sacrificed." For concentration can only be obtained by
sacrifice.


PURSUIT

"Once the great victory is gained, the next question is not about
rest, not about taking breath, not about re-organizing, etc., but only
of pursuit, of fresh blows wherever necessary, of the capture of the
enemy's capital, of the attack of the armies of his allies, or whatever
else appears as a rallying point for the enemy."[58]

Clausewitz points out that this is very difficult, and that to compel
his exhausted troops vigorously to pursue till nightfall requires GREAT
force of WILL on the part of the equally exhausted commander. We need
only remember that Napoleon himself at the supreme crisis of his fate,
being physically tired, failed to pursue the allies after his victory
at Dresden, 1813, whereby he lost all the fruits of his victory, and
indeed his last chance of ultimate success.


SUMMARY OF STRATEGIC PRINCIPLES

Leaving out, for the sake of shortness, the rest of his strategical
thoughts, I hasten to conclude this sketch with a glance at
Clausewitz's admirable summary[59] of strategic principles:--

"_The first and most important maxim which we can set before ourselves
is to employ_ ALL _the forces which we can make available with the_
UTMOST ENERGY. Even if the result is tolerably certain in itself, it
is extremely unwise not to make it _perfectly certain_.

"_The second principle is to concentrate our forces as much as possible
at the point where the_ DECISIVE _blow is to be struck. The success at
that point will compensate for all defeats at secondary points._

"_The third principle is not to lose time. Rapidity and surprise are
the most powerful elements of victory._

"_Lastly, the fourth principle is to_ FOLLOW UP THE SUCCESS _we gain
with the_ UTMOST ENERGY. _The pursuit of the enemy when defeated is the
only means of gathering up the fruits of victory._

"The first of these principles is the foundation of all the others. _If
we have followed the first principle, we can venture any length with
regard to the three others without risking our all._ It gives the means
of _continually creating new forces behind us_, and with new forces
every disaster may be repaired. _In this, and not in going forward
with timid steps, lies that prudence which may be called wise._"

These great principles are everything in war, and "due regard being
paid to these principles, the form (_i.e._ the geometrical element)
in which the operations are carried on is in the end of little
consequence."

"Therefore I am perfectly convinced that whoever calls forth all his
powers to appear _incessantly with new masses_, whoever adopts _every
imaginable means of preparation_, whoever _concentrates his force at
the decisive point, whoever thus armed pursues a great object with
resolution and energy_, has done all that can be done in a general
way for the strategical conduct of the war, and that, unless he is
altogether unfortunate in battle, will undoubtedly be victorious in the
same measure that his adversary has fallen short of this exertion and
energy."


REFLECTIONS

When we have got these great simple leading principles of strategy
firmly into our heads, the next question is how to make use of
our knowledge. For principles are no use unless we apply them. On
consideration it appears that there are three ways in which we can all
apply these principles with advantage.

I. It will prove a very interesting and strengthening mental exercise
to apply these few leading principles to every campaign we read about,
to search for indications of their application in the strategy of each
belligerent, how far each commander succeeded, and how far failed to
carry them out in their entirety, and where, when, and why he succeeded
or failed, and the results of doing or not doing so. Also to search
for the interaction of the political motive of the war on the military
operations, and to see how far the belligerent statesmen gained or
failed to gain their political object, according to the comparative
degree of preparation they had made for it, and the magnitude of
effort which they made or did not make to support it with the whole
means of the nation, material, moral and physical. Also to see how
far the national spirit was aroused or not, and the causes thereof,
and to note the greater or less energy, resolution and boldness which
was consequently infused into the war. Also to note how the thorough
application of these great simple principles of strategy shortens the
war and thereby reduces its cost (1866 to 1870), and how the neglect of
them by statesmen, despite their fortitude afterwards, lengthens a war
and adds to its cost enormously (South Africa, etc.). Used thus, these
principles give us a theoretically correct ground for criticism.

II. These principles also give us a theoretically correct ground for
anticipating what the action of our opponents in any future war will
be, the measure of the forces they will bring to bear, how they will
direct those forces, and the amount of energy, resolution, and boldness
with which they will use them against us. It is an axiom always to
assume that the enemy will do the best and wisest thing, and to prepare
accordingly.

III. These principles also give us a theoretically correct ground for
our own counter-preparations. We require to take the most dangerous war
which is probable or possible, and make every imaginable preparation to
carry out these principles therein.

In such a case how are we going to render it possible for our generals
to win, and thus save the nation from the irreparable consequences
and the huge war indemnity of £800,000,000 or so, which would follow
defeat? How are we going to do it? How are we going to render it
possible for our generals to employ the best strategy? The ideal of
strategy, always to be aimed at, is the double superiority of numbers.
How are we going to give our generals that? If we cannot do that,
how are we going to give them even any superiority _at all_, so that
they may be able to carry out the first principle of strategy? How?
Or are we going to make NO _adequate preparations_ for these three
eventualities, and when one of them suddenly comes ask our generals to
save us from the fate we have brought upon ourselves, by performing the
impossible? It is in this way that a statesman should use these few
great simple principles of strategy in order to attain his political
object and safeguard the interests of the nation.



CHAPTER X

THE EXECUTION OF STRATEGY


Now, as Clausewitz teaches it, the theory of war is easy enough to
understand. There is no reason--one might almost say no excuse--why
every one, soldier or statesman, should not know it fairly well. The
great leading principles of strategy are few and simple. There is no
reason why every one, soldier and statesman, should not understand
and know these few simple principles thoroughly, and have them at his
finger ends ready to apply them to the consideration of any military
question, past, present, or future. So far all is easy. But when it
is a question of carrying out in actual war this easy theory, these
simple strategical principles, then it is QUITE a different matter,
then it is a matter of the very greatest difficulty. This is a
difference which the mind always finds very hard to grasp, as witness
the denunciations with which any failure in execution by a general, no
matter how great the real difficulties with which he had to contend,
is nearly always greeted. Observers rarely make allowances for these
difficulties, very largely probably because they do not understand
them. The present chapter is devoted to these difficulties of execution
in war.


THE GENIUS FOR WAR

In Clausewitz's great chapter on "the genius for war"[60] he sets forth
the difficulties which confront a general, the character and genius,
the driving and animating force, required to overcome the friction of
war. It is impossible to abstract it adequately; I can only advise all
to read it for themselves. But I will endeavour to give an idea of it.

After discussing the various sorts of courage required by a general,
physical before danger and moral before responsibility, the strength
of body and mind, the personal pride, the patriotism, the enthusiasm,
etc., he comes to the unexpected.

"_War_," he says, "_is the province of uncertainty. Three-fourths of
those things upon which action in war must be calculated are hidden
more or less in the clouds of great uncertainty._ Here, then, above
all other, a fine and penetrating mind is called for, to grope out the
truth by the tact of its judgment." Mark this point, that three-fourths
of the things that we as critics AFTER the event know, when all
information of the situation has been collected and published, were
unknown to the general who had to decide, or only dimly guessed at from
a number of contradictory reports.

"From this uncertainty of all intelligence and suppositions, _this
continual interposition of chance_." "Now, if he is to get safely
through _this perpetual conflict with the unexpected_, two qualities
are indispensable; in the first place _an understanding which, even
in the midst of this intense obscurity, is not without some traces
of inner light_, which _lead to the truth_, and then _the courage to
follow this faint light_. The first is expressed by the French phrase
_coup d'oeil_; the second is resolution."

"Resolution is an _act of courage in face of responsibility_." "The
forerunner of resolution is an act of the mind making plain the
necessity of venturing and thus influencing the will. This quite
peculiar direction of the mind, which conquers every other fear in man
by the fear of wavering or doubting, is what makes up resolution in
strong minds."

The vital importance of firmness and resolution, so strongly urged
by Clausewitz, will be apparent to all if we reflect how even the
strongest characters have been ruined by a temporary fit of vacillation
in war. Compare, for instance, York _v._ Wartenburg's masterly
exposition of Napoleon's ruinous, suicidal vacillation in 1813 at
Dresden.

Also there is required "_the power of listening to reason in the midst
of the most intense excitement_, in the storm of the most violent
passions."

"But to keep to the result of by-gone reflections in opposition to the
stream of opinions and phenomena which the present brings with it, is
just THE difficulty." "Here nothing else can help us but an imperative
maxim which, independent of reflection, at once controls it: that maxim
is, _in all doubtful cases to adhere to the first opinion and not to
give it up till a clear conviction forces us to do so_."

"But as soon as difficulties arise, and that must always happen
when great results are at stake, then the machine, the army itself,
begins to offer a sort of passive resistance, and to overcome this
the commander must have great force of will." Driving power, such as
Napoleon's. And also "the heart-rending sight of the bloody sacrifice,
which the commander has to contend with in himself."

"These are the weights which the courage and intelligent faculties of
the commander have to contend with and OVERCOME, if he is to make his
name illustrious." If he is to prevent the downfall of his country.


REFLECTIONS

(1) In connection with these difficulties I would like to put forward a
suggestion as to criticism of a general's action in war, which though
not exactly Clausewitz's, is a corollary from Clausewitz. It is this.
In reading a war with the clearness and after-knowledge of history
nearly all defeats are easily seen to be due to the non-observance of
one or other of the few leading principles of strategy referred to in
the previous chapter. But we must assume that the defeated general was
_familiar_ with that principle, and that his _will_ was to carry it
out. What, then, were the difficulties, the friction, which, on any
particular day or days, overcame his will and made him sacrifice the
principle? This is where most critics fail us. Here seems the matter
to search for. And could a stronger resolution have enabled him to
overcome those difficulties, that friction? And if so, how and by what
means? But we must first discover the difficulties and uncertainties
of the particular day when his will gave way. Take the Manchurian
campaign as an instance. If we could only have a military history of
the campaign of 1870 or that of Manchuria, written in the form of a
series of "appreciations of the situation," so that we know nothing but
what the general knew at the time as we read, and if the true state of
affairs could be withheld from us till the end, this, I think, would
be very instructive and helpful. It would be a more difficult way of
writing a military history, but I think that the extra trouble would be
repaid by the extra value. So at least it appears.

(2) If we reflect upon the enormous difficulties, so strikingly
brought out by Clausewitz, which _our_ generals have to contend with
and _overcome_ in actual war, it should surely teach us to curb our
criticism. It should surely also make us resolve in future to try to
aid them as far as is in our power at home, and not thoughtlessly to
increase their already stupendous burdens. In the past we at home have
much to accuse ourselves of, much to regret. In the past often have
we added to the difficulties of our generals, often have we greatly
weakened their chances, and increased those of their opponents, often
have we, unintentionally, through ignorance cast a weight into the
scale against our country.

(3) The ignorance of the public regarding the conduct of war
constitutes for us a very serious national danger. If this ignorance
were less pronounced, if our statesmen understood the vast importance
of information to the enemy, and the equal importance to our generals
that this information the enemy should NOT obtain, then the public
craving for information regarding every detail of what occurs in
the field, and the demand for the wide publication thereof, would
certainly be repressed. Nothing occurs in any of our campaigns which
is not immediately made known; reports of actions with the fullest
details as to the troops engaged, and the casualties that have befallen
them, appear in the columns of the Press within a few hours of their
occurrence. _Any efforts, therefore, of our generals_ in the field
to maintain _secrecy as to strength, intentions, and movements are
deliberately_, though probably unintentionally, _counteracted by
their own countrymen_. This is due to pure ignorance of war, no doubt,
but the effect of this ignorance is as bad as if it were due to evil
intention. In fairness, however, we must admit that, in the past, the
immense value of reticence has not been fully appreciated by some of
our soldiers themselves, and it were well if, in the future, more
attention were directed to the importance of secrecy.

The results of such almost criminal stupidity may not be apparent
when we are fighting with a savage foe, but if we ever have, as we
undoubtedly some day shall have, the misfortune to find ourselves
engaged with a civilized Power, we may be certain that not only will
the operations be indefinitely prolonged, _and their cost enormously
increased_, but their successful issue will be for us highly
problematical.

In this connection it must be remembered that every Great Power has
secret agents in every country, including Great Britain, and that it
will be easy for such a secret agent to telegraph in cypher or in
some agreed code to an agent in a neutral State all war information
published here, who will telegraph it on at once to the hostile
general, who will thus get, within a very short time of its publication
in London, perhaps just exactly the information he requires to clear up
the strategical or tactical situation for him, and enable him to defeat
the combinations of our generals. As a case in point, take Macmahon's
march on Sedan to relieve Metz in 1870, where secrecy was absolutely
necessary for success, but which became known to the Germans by the
English newspapers.--Result, Sedan.

That this cannot be allowed is plain. It is believed that the
patriotism of our Press will welcome any necessary measure to this end
if it is made compulsory upon ALL.[61]



CHAPTER XI

TACTICS


Some will probably feel inclined to ask what Clausewitz, who wrote more
than eighty years ago, can possibly have to say about tactics which can
be valuable in the twentieth century.

It was said by Napoleon that tactics change every ten years, according,
of course, to the progress of technicalities, etc. Weapons indeed
change, but there is one thing that never changes, and that is human
nature. The most important thing in tactics, the man behind the gun,
never alters; in his heart and feelings, his strength and weakness, he
is always much the same.

Therefore, Clausewitz's tactical deductions, founded on the immense
and varied data supplied by the desperate and long-continued fighting
of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, permeated as they are by his
all-pervading psychological or moral view, can never lose their value
to us.

It is true, no doubt, that our rifles of to-day can be used with
effect at a distance ten times as great as the old smooth bores of
Clausewitz's day, our shrapnel five times as far as his cannon, and
that cover and ground play a far more important part now than then, and
so on. All these things, of course, considerably modify the tactics of
Clausewitz. Not so much, however, as some text-books would lead us to
suppose, which always seem to assume clear ground and clear weather.
For, after all, how many combats are fought on ground where there is
a very restricted field of fire (_vide_ Herbert's "Defence of Plevna,"
etc.), or at night? How many battles are fought during rain, or snow,
or mist, or fog, which destroys all long range? Compare the tremendous
fighting with "bullets, bayonets, swords, hand-grenades, and even
fists," of Nogi's attempt to cut the Russian line of retreat at Mukden,
with the hand-to-hand fighting of Eylau, Friedland, Borodino, or with
the desperate efforts of the French in 1812 to open their line of
retreat through Maro-Jaroslawitz, where all day the masses of troops
fought hand-to-hand in the streets, "the town was taken and retaken
seven times, and the rival nations fought with the bayonet in the midst
of the burning houses" (Alison).

When it comes to push of pike, as in all great decisions between
equally resolute adversaries it is bound to do, the difference between
the fighting of Clausewitz's day and ours is but small. The most recent
instances of all, the hand-to-hand fighting in Manchuria, take us back
to the Napoleonic struggles.

Therefore, despite the eighty years that have intervened, the writings
of Clausewitz are still valuable from a tactical point of view, always
considering of course the difference in weapons, because of the human
heart in battle.

His ideas on tactics have largely filtered through his German pupils
into our textbooks, minus the psychological or moral note, so that it
is not necessary to go at length into the subject, or give a number of
extracts. It would be wearisome. I will, however, give a few passages
at haphazard as illustrations.


FLANK ATTACKS

The endeavour to gain the enemy's line of retreat, and protect our own,
on which so much learned erudition has been spent by various writers,
he regards as a NATURAL instinct, which will ALWAYS produce itself both
in generals and subalterns.

"From this arises, in the whole conduct of war, and especially in great
and small combats, a PERFECT INSTINCT, which is the security of our
own line of retreat and the seizure of the enemy's; this follows from
the conception of victory, which, as we have seen, is something beyond
mere slaughter. In this effort we see, therefore, the FIRST immediate
purpose in the combat, and one which is quite universal. No combat
is _imaginable_ in which this effort, either in its double or single
form, is not to go hand in hand with the plain and simple stroke of
force. Even the smallest troop will not throw itself upon the enemy
without thinking of its line of retreat, and in most cases it will have
an eye upon that of the enemy."[62] "This is a great _natural law_ of
the combat," "and so becomes the pivot upon which ALL strategical and
tactical manoeuvres turn."


RESERVES--DESTRUCTIVE AND DECISIVE ACT

The combat he regards as settled by whoever has the preponderance of
moral force at the end; that is, in fresh or only partly used up troops.

The combat itself he divides into a destructive and a decisive act.
During the long destructive act, or period of fire preparation, the
troops engaged gradually wear each other out, and gradually almost
cease to count as factors in the decision. "After a fire combat of
some hours' duration, in which a body of troops has suffered severe
losses--for instance, a quarter or one-third of its numbers--the
_débris_ may for the time be looked upon as a heap of cinders. For the
men are physically exhausted; they have spent their ammunition; many
have left the field with the wounded, though not themselves wounded
(compare, for instance, Eylau and the 1870 battles); the rest think
they have done their part for the day, and if they get beyond the
sphere of danger, do not willingly return to it. The feeling of courage
with which they originally started has had the edge taken off, the
longing for the fight is satisfied, the original organization is partly
destroyed, and the formations broken up."

"So that the amount of moral force lost may be estimated by the amount
of the Reserves used up, almost as with a foot rule."[63]

This goes on till, "In all probability, only the untouched reserve and
some troops which, though they have been in action, have suffered very
little, are in reality to be regarded as serviceable, and the remainder
(perhaps four-sixths) may be looked upon for the present as a "caput
mortuum."

Therefore the art of the commander he regards as "economy of force"
during the destructive period; that is, to employ as few troops as
possible, by taking advantage of ground, cover, etc., "to use a smaller
number of men in the combat with firearms than the enemy employs," so
that a smaller proportionate number of his own are reduced to a "heap
of cinders" and more are left, more moral force, for the decision.

"Hundreds of times," he says, "a line of fire has maintained its own
against one twice its strength" (_e.g._ the Boers).

To do this and yet obtain a good fire-effect demands very skilful
handling of the troops, both on the part of the chief and subordinate
leaders.

With the preponderance thus obtained the commander at last starts the
decision. "Towards the close of a battle the line of retreat is always
regarded with increased jealousy, therefore a threat against that
line is always a potent means of bringing on the decision (Liao-yang,
Mukden). On that account, when circumstances permit, the plan of battle
will be aimed at that point from the very first." Or, "If this wear and
tear and exhaustion of the forces has reached a certain pitch, then a
rapid advance in concentrated masses on one side against the line of
battle of the other" (_i.e._ the Napoleonic breaking the centre, of
recent years thought almost hopeless, but revived in Manchuria with
success, in the case of Nodzu breaking the centre at Mukden).

From what precedes it is evident that, as in the preparatory acts, the
utmost economy of forces must prevail, so in the decisive act to win
the mastery through _numbers_ must be the ruling idea.

Just as in the preparatory acts endurance, firmness and coolness are
the first qualities, so in the decisive act boldness and fiery spirit
must predominate.

"The difference between these two acts will never be completely lost as
respects the whole."

"This is the way in which our view is to be understood; then, on the
one hand, it will not come short of the reality, and on the other
it will direct the attention of the leader of a combat (be it great
or small, partial or general) to giving each of the two acts of
activity its due share, so that there may be neither precipitation nor
negligence.

"_Precipitation_ there will be if space and time are not allowed
for the destructive act. _Negligence_ in general there will be if
a complete decision does not take place, either from want of moral
courage or from a wrong view of the situation."[64]


DURATION OF THE COMBAT

"Even the resistance of an ordinary division of 8,000 or 10,000 men
of all arms, even if opposed to an enemy considerably superior in
numbers, will last several hours, if the advantages of country are not
too preponderating. And if the enemy is only a little or not at all
superior in numbers, the combat will last half a day. A corps of three
or four divisions will prolong it to double that time; an army of
80,000 or 100,000 men to three or four times." "These calculations are
the result of experience."[65]

As General von Caemmerer points out, if these calculations were adhered
to in present-day German manoeuvres, as they are now in all war games,
tactical exercises, and staff rides, the dangerous dualism of their
training, the difference between theory and manoeuvre practice, would
cease.


ATTACK AND DEFENCE

I have left to the last the consideration of three or four disputed
points in Clausewitz. In considering these I shall quote a good deal
from General von Caemmerer's "Development of Strategical Science,"
as in such matters it is best to quote the most recent authors of
established reputation.

The most important of these, and the most disputed, is Clausewitz's
famous dictum that "the defensive is the stronger form of making war."
"The defence is the stronger form of war with a negative object; the
attack is the weaker form with a positive object."[66]

General von Caemmerer says, "It is strange, we Germans look upon
Clausewitz as indisputably the deepest and acutest thinker upon the
subject of war; the beneficial effect of his intellectual labours is
universally recognized and highly appreciated; but the more or less
keen opposition against this sentence never ceases. And yet that
sentence can as little be cut out of his work 'On War' as the heart out
of a man. Our most distinguished and prominent military writers are
here at variance with Clausewitz.

"Now, of course, I do not here propose to go into such a controversy.
I only wish to point out that Clausewitz, in saying this, only meant
the defensive-offensive, the form in which he always regards it, both
strategically and technically, in oft-repeated explanations all through
his works. For instance--

"It is a FIRST maxim NEVER to remain perfectly passive, but to fall
upon the enemy in front and flank, even when he is in the act of making
an attack upon us."[67]

And again--

"_A swift and vigorous assumption of the offensive--the flashing sword
of vengeance--is the most brilliant point in the defensive._ He who
does not at once think of it at the right moment, or rather he who
does not from the first include this transition in his idea of the
defensive, will never understand its superiority as a form of war."[68]
Von Caemmerer comments thus: "And this conception of the defence
by Clausewitz has become part and parcel of our army--everywhere,
strategically and tactically, he who has been forced into a defensive
attitude at once thinks how he can arrange a counter-attack. I am thus
unable to see how the way in which Clausewitz has contrasted Attack
and Defence could in any way paralyse the spirit of enterprise." Von
Caemmerer also justly remarks that, as Clausewitz always insisted
both in strategy and tactics, neither Attack nor Defence is pure, but
oscillates between the two forms; and as the Attack is frequently
temporarily reduced to defend itself, and also as no nation can be sure
of never being invaded by a superior coalition, it is most desirable
to encourage a belief in the strength of the Defence, if properly used.
In this I think that Wellington would probably have agreed. Certainly
Austerlitz and Waterloo were examples of battles such as Clausewitz
preferred.

Still, one must admit that Clausewitz's chapter on "The Relations
of the Offensive and Defensive to each other in Tactics," Book VII.
Chapter 2, is the least convincing chapter of his work.

Strategically, the argument is stronger. It always seems to me that we
must remember that Clausewitz had taken part in the defensive-offensive
in its strongest, most absolute and unlimited form, on the greatest
possible scale--the Moscow campaign and the ruin (consummated before
a single flake of snow fell) of the Grand Army. If he had lived to
complete the revision of his works, it always seems to me that he
would have made his theory undeniable by stating that the defensive is
the strongest form of war, _if unlimited by space_. What, for instance,
would have happened if the Japanese had tried to march through Siberia
on to St. Petersburg?

But, after all, which of the two is absolutely the stronger form of
war, attack or defence, is merely a theoretical abstraction, for,
practically, the choice is always settled for us by the pressing
necessity of circumstances. And, in this connection, let us always bear
in mind Clausewitz's dictum: "A swift and vigorous assumption of the
offensive--the flashing sword of vengeance--is the most brilliant point
in the defensive."


THE INNER LINE

A second disputed point is Clausewitz's alleged preference, as a rule,
for the Inner Line in strategy. But it is necessary to remember that
that was only due to the conditions of his time, before railways and
telegraphs, when it was difficult to communicate between columns acting
on concentric lines. And he is not in any way wedded to the Inner Line,
like Jomini, but _only_ when circumstances are favourable. He has many
sentences from which we may infer that, had he lived in railway and
telegraph days, his strategy, like Moltke's, his most distinguished
pupil, would have aimed at envelopment as a rule. For to bring up
troops rapidly by several railways necessitates a broad strategic
front, and Clausewitz especially lays down rapidity as his second great
principle, and says--

"If the concentration of the forces would occasion detours and loss
of time, and the danger of advancing by separate lines is not too
great, then the same may be justifiable on these grounds; for _to
effect an unnecessary concentration of the forces_ would be contrary
to the second principle we have laid down (_i.e._ 'to act as swiftly
as possible')."[69] Also: "Such separation into several columns as is
absolutely necessary must be made use of for the disposition of the
tactical attack in the enveloping form, _for that form is natural to
the attack, and must not be disregarded without good reason_."[70]
Also: "_It is sufficient now if the concentration takes place during
the action._" So that while the conditions of his time led Clausewitz
to prefer close concentration and the Inner Line, like Napoleon,
yet his reflections led him to propound the germ of the strategy of
Moltke. Substitute for Clausewitz's close concentration this: "As
close concentration, the combined movements regulated by telegraph,
as is compatible with the utmost use of the railways and the greatest
rapidity" (as he would certainly have said), and we arrive at Moltke's
strategy.


FRONTAL ATTACKS

A third disputed point is his belief in the superior tactical
efficiency, under favourable circumstances, of the Napoleonic method
of breaking the enemy's line in the centre. Breaking the line by a
frontal attack was, of course, much easier in Clausewitz's Napoleonic
day than it is with the long-ranging arms of our day, and it is only
natural that Clausewitz in his writings should give it the full
tactical importance which it then deserved. His book would not be true
to the tactical conditions of his day had he not done so, with Rivoli,
Austerlitz, Salamanca, Eckmuhl, etc., before his mind. But it seems
hardly correct to accuse him of over-partiality to frontal attacks, for
he has examined both frontal and enveloping attacks most fairly, giving
to each their relative advantages and disadvantages, and concluding:
"The envelopment may lead directly to the _destruction_ of the enemy's
army, if it is made with very superior numbers and succeeds. If it
leads to victory the early results are _in every case_ greater than
by breaking the enemy's line. Breaking the enemy's line can only lead
indirectly to the destruction of the enemy's army, and its effects
are hardly shown so much on the first day, but rather strategically
afterwards,"[71] by forcing apart on different lines of retreat the
separated fragments of the beaten army.

"The breaking through the hostile army by massing our principal force
against one point, _supposes an excessive length of front on the part
of the enemy_; for in this form of attack the difficulty of occupying
the remainder of the enemy's force with few troops is greater, because
the enemy's forces nearer to the principal point of attack can easily
join in opposing it. Now in an attack upon the centre there are such
forces on both sides of the attack; in an attack upon a flank, only
on one side. The consequence of this is that such a central attack
may easily end in a very disadvantageous form of combat, _through a
convergent counter-attack_." Which is exactly our modern difficulty.
"The choice between these two forms of attack must therefore be made
according to the existing conditions of the moment. Length of front,
the nature and direction of the line of retreat, the military qualities
of the enemy's troops, and the characteristics of their general,
lastly the ground must determine the choice."

Speaking generally he regards the _concentric_ enveloping form of
tactical attack aiming at the enemy's line of retreat as the most
efficacious and natural. "On the field of battle itself ... the
enveloping form must always be considered the most effectual."[72] And
the _eccentric_ or frontal counter-attack at the extended enveloping
attack as the most efficacious and natural form of the defence, such as
Napoleon's counter-attacks at Austerlitz or Dresden, or Wellington's
at Salamanca. "And we think that one means is at least as good as the
other."[73]

       *       *       *       *       *

Now I think that these extracts sufficiently defend Clausewitz from the
imputation of too great a belief in frontal attacks, and considering
the frequent success of such Napoleonic attacks in his day, he gives
a very fair summing up of the relative advantages and disadvantages
thereof, and indeed such as might be written in the present day.
Indeed the quite abnormal conditions of the Boer war produced such a
feeling against frontal attacks, and so much loose talk of their being
extinct, that it is very useful to turn to Clausewitz for a reminder
that breaking the centre, whenever the condition he postulates, namely
_over-extension of front_ on the enemy's part, is present, will
always remain one of the two great forms of decisive attack open to a
commander.

And as in our day the forces are so enormous that to reach the hostile
flank becomes more difficult, and the extension of front becomes so
gigantic (a front of several armies on a line of forty to seventy miles
perhaps), it is well to consider whether breaking the enemy's centre
will not again offer the most advantageous form for the final decisive
act, coupled of course, as Clausewitz says it ALWAYS MUST be, with a
strong flank attack. And in these gigantic battles of the future, such
as Liao-yang and Mukden, which we must consider typical of the future,
battles which must take several days, during which the troops in the
first line become utterly exhausted and used up,--a decisive attack
on the centre can well be imagined after the hostile reserves have
been decoyed away over a day's march by a strong flank attack. As, for
example, Nogi's flank attack round Mukden followed by Nodzu's decisive
breaking the centre and capture of Mukden itself.

So that far from thinking Clausewitz's remarks about frontal attacks
and breaking the line to be obsolete, it rather appears from the great
Russo-Japanese battles that they are worthy of close study in view of
the future.


TACTICAL VERSUS STRATEGICAL ENVELOPMENT

A fourth disputed point is the preference of Clausewitz, owing to his
insistence on the greatest concentration possible with proper regard
for the circumstances, for the tactical envelopment arranged on or
near the field to strategical envelopment with divided forces arranged
beforehand. In this matter I will again quote General v. Caemmerer,
who disagrees with him, and says: "Clausewitz proclaims the oblique
front as the most effective strategic form of attack, ... that is to
say, when the whole army with one united front falls upon the strategic
_flank_ of the enemy, and, if victorious, cuts him from his line of
retreat. But where such a situation cannot be brought about, where our
advance has brought us before the strategic _front_ of the enemy, then
he sees in the tactical envelopment, in the formation of an offensive
flank, the proper means of effectively preparing to push the enemy
from his line of retreat, and he distinctly explains that tactical
envelopment need not at all be the _consequence_ of strategical
envelopment, and need not at all be prepared long beforehand by a
corresponding advance of divided forces."

Clausewitz says, "The consequence of this is that battles fought with
enveloping lines, or even with an oblique front, which should properly
result from an advantageous relation of the lines of communication,
are commonly the result of a moral and physical preponderance."[74]
Also "he should therefore only advance with his columns on such a width
of front as will admit of their all coming into action together."
"Such separation into several columns should be made use of for the
disposition of the tactical attack in the enveloping form" (_i.e._ by
troops within a day's march of each other). "But it must be only of a
tactical nature, for a strategic envelopment, when a great blow is to
be struck, is a complete waste of power."

General v. Caemmerer comments: "He is thus of opinion that the lateral
movement of part of the army against the flank of the enemy could
without any difficulty still be carried out as initiated by the plan of
battle; and in order to understand this idea we must again bear in mind
the difference between the fire-effect of then and now. In those days a
comparatively short movement made it still possible for a considerable
portion of the army to gain the defenders' flank; to-day a lengthy
and troublesome operation would be necessary for the same object, and
its successful execution would only be counted upon if the defender
remained entirely passive, and would neither think of a counter-stroke
nor of a corresponding movement of his forces to the threatened flank."

Without going into this controversy I will, however, quote the
excellent reason given by Clausewitz for his preference for tactical as
opposed to strategical envelopment: "One peculiarity of the offensive
battle is the uncertainty, in most cases, as to the position (note, and
strength) of the enemy; it is a complete groping about amongst things
that are unknown (Austerlitz, Wagram, Hohenlinden, Jena, Katzbach).
The more this is the case the more concentration of forces becomes
paramount, and turning a flank to be preferred to surrounding."[75]

It is also well to recollect how many famous generals had been ruined
in Clausewitz's experience through over-extension or dispersion of
their forces. The crushing defeats of Napoleon's marshals in the winter
of 1813, Macdonald at the Katzbach, Oudinot at Gros Beeren, Ney at
Dennewitz, which neutralized Napoleon's great victory at Dresden and
began his ruin, were all chiefly owing to this cause.

And the weather may, again, have as great influence in shortening
resistance and allowing troops to be overwhelmed before the too-distant
reinforcements arrive, as it had in those battles. If the weather then
prevented the old muskets going off, and enabled the attack to rush
the defence, so now a fog, rain, mist, or snow, by restricting the
field of view and fire, may produce the same results. When one thinks
of the number of great battles fought in such weather, as they may
well be again, one sees an additional reason for carefully considering
Clausewitz's warning. Far from relegating his preference for the
tactical as opposed to the strategical envelopment to the region of
the obsolete, because of our improved armament, it seems right to give
it full weight as a corrective to a perceivable tendency to elevate
strategical envelopment (after Königgrätz) into a formula for victory.
If in the past many great generals have been ruined by over-extension,
so may they be again. Against this tendency Clausewitz will for ever
lift his voice.

Also it remains to be considered, with the huge armies of to-day and
the future, such armies as at Liao-yang and Mukden, such armies as
may possibly one day join issue in Afghanistan, whether strategical
envelopment will be practicable, or whether tactical envelopment,
such as General Kuroki's tactical enveloping movement on Yentai, and
the Russian line of retreat at Liao-yang, or General Nogi's tactical
enveloping dash northward on Hsinminting and the railway at Mukden,
will not be preferable.

Perhaps, as a compromise, one might call such a movement
strategical-tactical, and so avoid the dispute by jugglery of words.

I have not attempted to do more than roughly indicate that the solution
of these four disputed tactical questions in Clausewitz is to be sought
in a study of the latest campaign, as he would have said himself; that
is, the campaign in Manchuria. For, as the _Times_ correspondent in the
XLVth Chapter, "Clausewitz in Manchuria," of his book "The War in the
Far East," observes, "It will be abundantly clear to any one who has
followed the great battles in Manchuria that the spirit of Clausewitz
has presided over Japanese victories and wept over Russian defeats."



CHAPTER XII

CHANGES SINCE THE DAYS OF CLAUSEWITZ


In reading Clausewitz it is, first, the great principles of the nature
of war founded on human nature, which alter not; and, secondly, it
is his spirit and practical way of looking at things that we want to
assimilate and apply to THE PROBLEMS OF TO-DAY, to which end it is
necessary to read him always with the changed conditions of to-day in
our minds, and think what he would have said under the circumstances.
These changes are chiefly:--

    (1) The improved net-work of roads.
    (2) Railways.
    (3) Telegraphs, wire and wireless.
    (4) Improved arms.
    (5) Aviation
    (6) Universal service armies.


THE IMPROVED NET-WORK OF ROADS

The improved net-work of roads in Europe (not, of course, in Manchuria,
or in Afghanistan where we have to consider our future strategy, but in
Europe), as General v. Caemmerer puts it, "now offers to the movements
of armies everywhere a whole series of useful roads where formerly one
or two only were available," easier gradients, good bridges instead of
unreliable ones, etc. So that the march-discipline of that day when
concentrated for battle, artillery and train _on_ the roads, infantry
and cavalry _by the side_ of the roads, has disappeared. Such close
concentration is therefore now not possible, as we move all arms _on_
the road, and an army corps with train, or two without, is the most
that we can now calculate on bringing into action in one day on one
road.


RAILWAYS

"Railways have, above all, completely altered the term 'base,'" remarks
V. Caemmerer. "Railways carry in a few days men, horses, vehicles,
and materials of all kinds from the remotest district to any desired
point of our country, and nobody would any longer think of accumulating
enormous supplies of all kinds at certain fortified points on his
own frontier with the object of basing himself on those points. One
does not base one's self any longer on a distinct district which is
specially prepared for that object, but upon the whole country, which
has become one single magazine, with separate store-rooms. So the term
'base' has now to be considered in this light."

It is only when operating in savage or semi-savage countries, where
there are no railways, that the old idea of a base applies.

As we penetrate deeper and further from our own country into the
enemy's, and as a small raiding party can demolish the railway line so
as to stop all traffic for days or weeks, it becomes far more necessary
than it ever was in Clausewitz's day to guard our communications.
And armies become more and more sensitive to any attack upon their
communications.

Also "such a line cannot easily be changed, and consequently those
celebrated changes of the line of communication in an enemy's country
which Napoleon himself, on some occasion, declared to be the ablest
manoeuvre in the art of war, could scarcely be carried out any more"
(V. Caemmerer).

Also concentration by means of several railways demands a broad
strategic front, which produces that separation of corps or armies
which prepares the way for strategical envelopment, and so on.

General von der Goltz, in his "Conduct of War," says: "The more recent
treatises on the conduct of war on a large scale are principally taken
up with the mobilization and strategical concentration of armies, a
department of strategy which only began to play an important part in
modern times. It is the result of a dense net-work of railways in
Western Europe which has rendered it possible to mass large bodies
of troops in a surprisingly brief time. Each Power tries to outdo
its neighbours in this respect, ... which gives an opportunity to
the strategical specialist to show off his brilliant qualities....
Consequently it is now frequently assumed that the whole conduct of
war is comprised in this one section of it." This over-estimate is of
course an error, which, however, requires to be pointed out.


TELEGRAPHS

The telegraph has very greatly reduced the danger of separation.
The great advantage of the inner line in the day of Napoleon and of
Clausewitz was that separated forces could only communicate by mounted
messengers, so if the enemy got between them they could not communicate
at all, nor act in concert. This the telegraph has completely altered,
for as the field telegraph can now be laid as quickly as an army can
advance, the most widely separated bodies of troops can every day
arrange combined operations by telegraph through, if necessary,
a point one hundred or four hundred miles in rear. So that to-day
the chief advantage of the inner line has gone, while its chief
disadvantage, the possibility of being surrounded, remains.


MAPS

We now possess complete detailed Ordnance maps of every country in
Europe, kept up to date by the latest alterations, whereas in the days
of Clausewitz maps were of the very roughest character, and quite
unreliable in comparison.


IMPROVED ARMS

Smokeless powder, quick-firing and long-ranging artillery and rifles,
the infantry field of effective fire being ten times, the artillery
five times what it was in Clausewitz's time, have all to be borne in
mind when reading the tactical part of his writings. In consequence,
also, cover and the tactical use of ground are of far greater
importance now than then, etc., etc., etc.


AVIATION

The recent wonderful developments in aviation will obviously almost
revolutionize "Information in War." To what extent, it is as yet
impossible to say. Each year will teach us more.


THE NATION-IN-ARMS

The nation-in-arms as the common foundation of all armies (except our
own), brought up by railways, vastly increases the numbers in a modern
battle from what they were in Clausewitz's day. Compare Austerlitz,
Dresden, Leipzig and Waterloo, with Liao-yang and Mukden. It should be
so with us also, for as General von der Goltz says in "The Conduct of
War": "The BEST military organization is that which renders available
ALL the intellectual and material resources of the country in event of
war. _A State is not justified in trying to defend itself with only a
portion of its strength, when the existence of the whole is at stake._"

In Great Britain the difference which the introduction of this
nation-in-arms principle has made in our military strength compared
with that of our future opponents, a difference relatively FAR GREATER
AGAINST US than it was in Napoleon's and Clausewitz's day, is as yet
hardly realized by the people, or by our statesmen. People forget the
wastage of war, and the necessity for a constant flow of troops to
repair that wastage. As Von der Goltz puts it: "It is characteristic
of the strategical offensive that the foremost body of troops of
an army, the portion which fights the battles, amounts to only a
comparatively small fraction, frequently only _a quarter or even
one-eighth_, of the total fighting strength employed, whilst the fate
of the whole army throughout depends upon the success or failure of
this fraction. _Attacking armies melt away like snow in the spring._"
To condense his remarks: "In spite of the most admirable discipline,
the Prussian Guard Corps lost 5000 to 6000 men in the marches between
the attack on St. Privat and the battle of Sedan." "Napoleon crossed
the Niemen in 1812 with 442,000 men, but reached Moscow only three
months later with only 95,000." In the spring of 1810, the French
crossed the Pyrenees with 400,000 men, but still Marshal Massena in
the end only brought 45,000 men up to the lines of Torres Vedras,
near Lisbon, where the decision lay. Again, in 1829, the Russians
put 160,000 men in the field, but had barely 20,000 left when, at
Adrianople, a skilfully concluded peace saved them before their
weakness became apparent and a reaction set in. In 1878 the Russians
led 460,000 across the Danube, but they only brought 100,000 men--of
whom only 43,000 were effective, the rest being sick--to the gates of
Constantinople. In 1870 the Germans crossed the French frontier with
372,000 men, but after only a six weeks' campaign brought but 171,000
men to Paris. And so on. The result of it all is simple--that a people
which is not based on the modern principle of the nation-in-arms cannot
for long rival or contend with one that is, for it can neither put
an equal (still less a superior) army into the field at the outset
(_vide_ Clausewitz's first principle), nor even maintain in the field
the _inferior_ army it does place there, because it cannot send the
ever-required fresh supplies of trained troops. Sooner or later this
must tell. Sooner or later a situation must arise in which the nation
based on the obsolete voluntary system _must_ go down before a nation
based on the nation-in-arms principle. Circumstances change with time,
and, as wise Lord Bacon said long ago, "He that will not adopt new
remedies must expect new evils." May we adopt the remedy before we
experience the evil!


THE MORAL AND SPIRITUAL FORCES IN WAR

But though these changed conditions must, of course, _modify_
Clausewitz's details in many important particulars, still (to complete
our circle and leave off where we started) I repeat that, as human
nature never changes, and as the moral is to the physical as three
to one in war, Clausewitz, as the great realistic and practical
philosopher on the actual nature of war, as _the chief exponent of the
moral and spiritual forces in war_, will ever remain invaluable in the
study of war.

Consider what unsurpassed opportunities he had for observing and
reflecting on the influence of enthusiasm and passion, of resolution
and boldness, of vacillation and weakness, of coolness and caution, of
endurance and hardship, of patriotism and freedom, of ambition and of
glory--on war, either by his own experience or by conversation with
other equally experienced soldiers, during that long period of almost
endless wars between 1793 and 1815.

The fervour and enthusiasm and boundless energy of the Revolution,
which drove the French forward, smashing everything before them, at
the beginning; the ambition, military glory, plunder and greed, which
animated them later on; the patriotism, religious and loyal devotion,
and stern endurance, which nerved the Russian hosts then as now; that
awful Moscow winter campaign, when human nature rose to its highest and
sank to its lowest, when the extremes of heroic endurance and selfish
callousness were visible side by side; the magnificent uprising of the
spirit of liberty and freedom from intolerable oppression in Germany,
which gave to the Prussian recruits and Landwehr the same driving
force that revolutionary enthusiasm had formerly given to the French;
the passing, therefore, in 1813 of the moral superiority, the greater
driving force, from the French to the allies. Clausewitz saw all this;
he conversed intimately with such men as Scharnhorst and Gneisenau,
who saw and guided it, too. All his friends had seen it also. No
wonder, then, that such an unexampled series of warlike phenomena
deeply impressed his reflective mind with the supreme importance of the
moral and spiritual factors in war.

His opportunities for long-continued observation of warlike phenomena
were far greater than those of any writer since his day, and it is to
be hoped they will remain so. For we have no desire to see another
series of wars such as the Napoleonic. It is fortunate for us that
there was then such a man as Clausewitz to sum up for us so simply and
so clearly the accumulated experiences of those long, long years of
carnage and devastation.


_Printed by Hazell, Watson & Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury._



FOOTNOTES:

[1] Book IV. Chap. 10.

[2] Book IV. Chap. 3.

[3] Book IV. Chap. 3.

[4] Book I. Chap. 8.

[5] Summary of Instruction to H.R.H. the Crown Prince.

[6] Summary of Instruction, p. 120.

[7] Book II. Chap. 6.

[8] Book II. Chap. 2.

[9] Prefatory "Notice" by Clausewitz.

[10] Book II. Chap. 4.

[11] Book II. Chap. 2.

[12] Book II. Chap. 2.

[13] Book II. Chap. 3.

[14] Book I. Chap. 1.

[15] By gaining Public Opinion, Clausewitz means, to force the enemy's
population into a state of mind favourable to submission.

[16] Summary of Instruction to H.R.H. the Crown Prince.

[17] Book I. Chap. 1.

[18] Author's "Introduction."

[19] Book I. Chap. 1.

[20] Book VII. Chap. 5.

[21] Book VII. Chap. 21.

[22] Book VII. Chap. 21.

[23] Book VIII. Chaps. 7, 8 and 9.

[24] Book I. Chap. 1.

[25] Book VIII. Chap. 9.

[26] Book I. Chap. 7.

[27] Book I. Chap. 8.

[28] Book I. Chap. 8.

[29] Book IV. Chap. 1.

[30] Book IV. Chap. 3.

[31] Book I. Chap. 1.

[32] Book IV. Chap. 3.

[33] Book III. Chap. 15.

[34] Book VII. Chap. 13.

[35] Book I. Chap. 4.

[36] Book I. Chap. 5.

[37] Book I. Chap. 7.

[38] Book III. Chap. 3.

[39] Book III. Chaps. 16-18.

[40] Book II. Chap. 1.

[41] Book III. Chap. 11.

[42] Book III. Chap. 8.

[43] Book V. Chap. 3.

[44] Book III. Chap. 8.

[45] Book VIII. Chap. 4.

[46] Book III. Chap. 12.

[47] Book III. Chap. 13.

[48] Book III. Chap. 12.

[49] Book III. Chap. 13.

[50] Book III. Chap. 8.

[51] Book III. Chap. 11.

[52] Book VI. Chap. 28.

[53] Book V. Chap. 10.

[54] Book I. Chap. 1.

[55] Book III. Chap. 13.

[56] Book I. Chap. 3.

[57] Book VIII. Chap. 9.

[58] Book VIII. Chap. 9.

[59] Summary of Instruction to H.R.H. the Crown Prince.

[60] Book I. Chap. 3.

[61] This warning as to the consequences of allowing information to be
published freely which would be helpful to an enemy was written five
years ago. In the present war the prudent reticence of our Press, and
its loyal co-operation with the Government in depriving the enemy of
any helpful information, show that the lesson here insisted on has been
learned.--Editor's Note.

[62] Book IV. Chap. 4.

[63] Book IV. Chap. 4.

[64] "Guide to Tactics," Vol. III. pp. 136-146.

[65] Book IV. Chap. 4.

[66] Book VI. Chap. 1.

[67] Summary of Instruction to H.R.H. the Crown Prince.

[68] Book VI. Chap. 5.

[69] Book VIII. Chap. 9.

[70] Book VII. Chap. 15.

[71] Summary of Instruction, "Guide to Tactics," par. 500.

[72] Book VI. Chap. 9.

[73] Book VII. Chap. 9.

[74] Book VII. Chap. 7.

[75] Book VII. Chap. 7.



Transcriber's Notes:


Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Page 133: Paragraph ends with: "Otherwise," rather than with a period.





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