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Clausewitz's PuzzleThe Political Theory of War$
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Andreas Herberg-Rothe

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199202690

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199202690.001.0001

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Violence, Fear, and Power: The Expansion and Limitation of War

Violence, Fear, and Power: The Expansion and Limitation of War

(p.39) 2 Violence, Fear, and Power: The Expansion and Limitation of War
Clausewitz's Puzzle

Andreas Herberg‐Rothe

Oxford University Press

What Clausewitz says about the interactions to the extreme provides the basis for the assumption that he is the theorist of destruction and the precursor of the idea of total war. But these interpretations should not be countered by introducing a total shift between the concept and the reality of war, as it has so often happened in the history of Clausewitz's interpretations. This chapter emphasizes that in his first chapter, the three interactions to the extreme are balanced by three tendencies which lead to the limitation of war. The three interactions to the extreme do not describe the whole of war, but they are nevertheless tendencies in each war, which are countered by opposing tendencies. The chapter explores the assumption that the striving powers ‘behind’ these different interacting tendencies in war are violence, fear, and power.

Keywords:   moderate war, the absolute, tendencies, outdoing the enemy, contrasting tendencies, concept and reality

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