The Clausewitzean Traditions: Die Politik and the political purpose of Strategy

Heuser, B. (2021) The Clausewitzean Traditions: Die Politik and the political purpose of Strategy. In: Balzacq, T. and Krebs, R. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Grand Strategy. Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 57-73. ISBN 9780198840299

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Clausewitz’ writings stand in two traditions. With his own very narrow definition of strategy, “Strategy is the use of the [military] engagement for the purpose of the war”, he contributed much to the continuation of a tradition of defining strategy that goes back to Paul-Gédéon Joly de Maizeroy and beyond him to Byzantine Emperor Leo VI. It is not least because of Clausewitz’s espousal of this tradition that this narrow definition still dominated Soviet thinking in the 1950s. On the other hand Clausewitz stood in a tradition reflecting on the relationship between a political purpose not just of an engagement but of war itself. This goes back to Count Guibert, Kant, Rühle von Lilienstern but also a long-forgotten anonymous work that dwelt on the bureaucratic process of strategy-making in the interface between (politically-dominated) foreign policy and (hardware- and means-dominated) military policy. It is ultimately to the latter tradition that we owe his reflections on the domination of political considerations captured in his famous line about war being its continuation by other means. This in turn is the foundation on which most other reflections on grand strategy have been built.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Heuser, Professor Beatrice
Authors: Heuser, B.
Subjects:J Political Science > JZ International relations
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Politics
Publisher:Oxford University Press
Copyright Holders:Copyright © Oxford University Press 2021
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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