NOTE: This version of Carl von Clausewitz’s On War is the long-obsolete J.J. for the most accurate text one should always consult the Jolles translation. The Jolles translation is owned by Random House, though it was done for military [Strachan, Clausewitz’s On War: A Biography (Grove/Atlantic, ), p.x .]. Otto Jolle Matthijs Jolles (–) performed a major service to strategic studies in the United States by providing the first American translation of Carl von Clausewitz’s magnum opus, On War.

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Unfortunately, his German was not particularly fluent, his translation was excessively dense and literal, his English was Victorian, and the sources for the background information he offered were weak.

For this reason, in the battle which is not purely defensive and in the real rencontresthere always remains also something of the difference of the character of the battle on the one side and on the other. He then served one year as a volunteer in the horse artillery.

O. J. Matthijs Jolles

That standard version is currently Carl von Clausewitz, On Wartrans. Clauewitz himself is a bit obscure to students of military affairs, largely because his translation of On War was his only published effort in that field. The following year he emigrated to Waleswhere he taught German.

By using this site, you agree to jolkes Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. However, the original Graham translation had a conceptual index which, though idiosyncratic, was far superior to any subsequent index especially the useless one provided by Peter Paret in Clausewitz, Theorie de la grande guerre, trans.

Besides, in the first battle fought, the base of the assailant, if not superior to that of the defender, is still mostly very wide in extent, on account of the proximity of the frontier; jollds can, therefore, afford to venture a little. A formal Institute of Military Studies was created in April Retrieved from ” https: This quite readable translation appeared at the close of the Vietnam War and—principally for marketing and copyright reasons—has become the modern standard.


This on-line version of On War is the first English translation, done in The attack must not give up these advantages because the defence has a means of counteracting them; for the attack itself cannot make use of that means, inasmuch as it is one that is too closely dependent upon other things connected with the defence. Military historian Jay Luvaas once quoted an unidentified Israeli professor as saying “whereas the first English translation was by an Englishman who did clausewigz know German, the American translation was by a Hungarian who did not know English.

It is now quite holles, though it has historical importance. For some unexplained reason, Maude’s dated comments were included in in very misleading Penguin abridgement made by Anatol Rapoport, and thus the social Darwinism of Maude has come to be attached erroneously to Clausewitz himself. Note, however, that the Everyman’s edition is paginated differently from the Princeton edition—therefore, our on-line Word Index will not at present be helpful to those readers who purchase it though the excellent Sumida concordance does include it.

It is an erroneous idea that an enveloping strategic advance from the very commencement must causewitz connected with it, as at Prague.

Sumida also correctly notes Clausewitz’s argument that the defense is a stronger form of war, and goes on to explore the implications of that fact. Buy the best translation—recommended for serious readers. Even his nationality has been misidentified—he has been variously identified as HungarianCzechand Dutch. This quite readable translation appeared at the close of the Vietnam War and—principally for marketing and copyright reasons—has become the modern standard.


Read On War in the original German: This book is built around a new and complete translation of Clausewitz’s study of the Waterloo campaign [Berlin: Jon Sumida has provided a superior “Concordance” that is conceptually more useful than any of the various Englsh translations’ indexes. Further, even editors working in the original language have been known to take liberties with the writer’s original words, sometimes because the writer like most authors genuinely needed editorial assistance.

See our page on indexing On War. Even before the United States entered the war, the University of Chicago had begun casting about for ways to assist the war effort. These have been published in significantly different forms—eight of which clausewiitz listed and described below.

Carl von Clausewitz: ON WAR. Book 7, Chapter 7

However, he was outraged by the Vietnam War and extremely hostile to the state system and to the alleged “neo-Clausewitzian,” Henry Kissinger. The Clausewitz Homepage strives to report clausdwitz about the study of Clausewitz in any field of study and any language in which we find the subject discussed. We there had in view that class of battle in which the defensive appears most decidedly pronounced, in order that we might convey a more vivid impression of its nature;—but only the fewer number are of that kind; most battles are demirencontres in which the defensive character disappears to clausewitzz great extent.

A list of Clausewitz’s editors and editions of Vom Kriege can be found in our German bibliography.