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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One peculiarity in the offensive battle is the uncertainty, in most cases, as to the position of the enemy; it is a complete groping about amongst things that are unknown Austerlitz, Wagram, Hohenlinden, Jena, Katzbach. That strategic measure has seldom anything in common with it, and is very hazardous; of which we shall speak further in the attack dar a theatre of war. For this reason, clausewirz the battle which is not purely defensive and in the real rencontresthere always remains also ob of the difference of the character of the battle on the one side and on the other.

See our page on indexing On War. It contains some useful introductory material and is much easier to read than the Graham version. Thus Jolles had no theoretical ax of his own to grind. Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of Most available paper versions of the Graham translation are copies of the Maude version.

These have been published in significantly different forms—eight of which are listed and described below. Buy the best translation—recommended for serious readers.

Which translation of ON WAR do you have?

This is by far the most accurate treanslation of On War available in English. The same effort which, in the one case, might at most excite our pity, must, in the other call forth our admiration, because it is much more difficult to sustain. Besides, in the first battle fought, the base of ln assailant, if not superior to that of the defender, is still mostly very wide in extent, on account of the proximity of the frontier; he can, therefore, afford to venture a little.


Despite its many qualities, the Paret translation has been criticized for presenting Clausewitz in too dry and rationalistic a tone, and there are a clzusewitz many places where the wording is oddly casual or shallow, awkward, or otherwise arguable—translating Clausewitz’s important extended metaphor of a wrestling match as clausewifz “duel,” etc.

The Paret translation also suffers from a poor index, far less useful than Graham’s, but The Clausewitz Homepage provides a word-and-phrase index to it that helps make up for this deficiency. Peter Paret was also a native German speaker, but he left Germany in his very early teens, whereas Jolles became an accomplished academic in Germany and a literary specialist on Clausewitz’s era before emigrating.

Read On War in French: Strachan agrees with us on this point: Be careful what you’re buying—the on-line bookstores including Amazon frequently confuse the different editions and translations! Even the most honest and competent translation inevitably includes both technical errors and arguable or controversial—if not flatly wrong—conceptual interpretations.

He became a professor of German language and literature, obtaining American citizenship in For some unexplained reason, Maude’s dated comments were included in the very misleading Penguin abridgement made by Anatol Rapoport, and thus the social Darwinism of Maude has come to be attached erroneously to Clausewitz himself.

All of our bibliographies are listed HERE. Citations to it will not be useful to readers looking for the quotations in the standard Princeton edition. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Carl von Clausewitz, On Wareds. Jolles quickly developed a good appreciation of On War’ s significance.

Amongst the many things in war for which no tariff can be fixed, bodily effort may be specially reckoned. But what is remarkable is, that just as only a strong arm enables the archer to stretch the bowstring to the utmost extent, so also in war it is only by means of a great directing spirit, that we can expect the forces will be stretched to the utmost. This is, according to our view, a criterion of the influence which bodily fatigue exercises, and of the allowance to be made for it in matters of opinion.


It was put together by the famous Boston Consulting Group. In he emigrated to Francewhere he studied at the Sorbonne.

O. J. Matthijs Jolles

Hahlweg researched the history jolled the text and unscrambled Clausewitz’s original wording as much as possible from the interventions of later editors. A list of Clausewitz’s editors and editions of Vom Kriege can be found in our German bibliography. We have spoken here of bodily effort, chiefly because, like danger, it belongs to the fundamental causes of friction, and because its indefinite quantity makes it like an elastic body, the friction of which is well known to be difficult to calculate.

However, he was outraged by the Vietnam War and extremely hostile to the state system and to the alleged “neo-Clausewitzian,” Henry Kissinger.

In the field of German literatureJolles is quite well known, especially for his work on Friedrich Schiller. Views Read Edit View history. Clausewitz, Karl von, War, Politics, and Power: The most useful general bibliography for Clausewitz studies in German can be found in the 19th German edition of Clausewitz’s Vom Kriegeedited by Werner Hahlweg: Buy the best translation—recommended for serious readers.