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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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Concepts of Absolute and Real War

Concepts of Absolute and Real War

(p.68) 3 Concepts of Absolute and Real War
Clausewitz's Puzzle

Andreas Herberg‐Rothe

Oxford University Press

All previous interpretations of Clausewitz's concept of war have treated it as something that must be understood in connection with the three interactions to the extreme, and consequently with his concept of the absolute. This chapter discusses the similarities and the difference between Clausewitz's concept of absolute war and modern total war. Furthermore, it can be shown that the different conceptualizations of Clausewitz's concepts of war are connected with his different war experiences at Jena, Moscow, and Waterloo. Until now, it has been overlooked that Clausewitz also speaks of the wondrous trinity as his concept of war. Nevertheless, it has to be acknowledged that Clausewitz's conceptualizations remain ambivalent without a discrete interpretation of his first chapter.

Keywords:   total war, different conceptualizations, Jena, Moscow, Waterloo, contradictions in terms

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