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Carl von Clausewitz quotes (showing 1-30 of 53)

“If the mind is to emerge unscathed from this relentless struggle with the unforeseen, two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War: Volume 1
“The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“War is nothing but a continuation of politics with the admixture of other means.”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Indexed Edition
“No one starts a war--or rather, no one in his sense ought to do so--without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by the war and how he intends to conduct it.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Our knowledge of circumstances has increased, but our uncertainty, instead of having diminished, has only increased. The reason of this is, that we do not gain all our experience at once, but by degrees; so our determinations continue to be assailed incessantly by fresh experience; and the mind, if we may use the expression, must always be under arms.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“There are very few men-and they are the exceptions-who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment”
Carl von Clausewitz
“There are cases in which the greatest daring is the greatest wisdom.”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War
“The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Indexed Edition
“If the leader is filled with high ambition and if he pursues his aims with audacity and strength of will, he will reach them in spite of all obstacles.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“All war presupposes human weakness and seeks to exploit it.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“To achieve victory we must mass our forces at the hub of all power and movement. The enemy’s "center of gravity”
Carl von Clausewitz
“We repeat again: strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Boldness governed by superior intellect is the mark of a hero.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“...as man under pressure tends to give in to physical and intellectual weakness, only great strength of will can lead to the objective.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“...the side that feels the lesser urge for peace will naturally get the better bargain.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“If we read history with an open mind, we cannot fail to conclude that, among all the military virtues, the energetic conduct of war has always contributed most to glory and success.”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Indexed Edition
“[...] to introduce into the philosophy of war itself a principle of moderation would be an absurdity”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Indexed Edition
tags: sokol
“War is such a dangerous business that mistakes that come from kindness are the very worst.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“War is merely the continuation of politics by other means”
Carl von Clausewitz
tags: war
“Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves more or less as a substitute for hatred between individuals.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Essentally combat is an expression of hostile feelings. But in the large-scale combat that we call war hostile feelings often have become merely hostile intentions. At any rate, there are usually no hostile feelings between individuals. Yet such emotions can never be completely absent from war. Modern wars are seldom fought without hatred between nations; this serves as a more or less substitute for the hatred between individuals. Even when there is no natural hatred and no animosity to start with, the fighting itself will stir up hostile feelings: violence committed on superior orders will stir up the desire for revenge and retaliation against the perpetrator rather than against the powers that ordered the action. It is only human (or animal, if you like), but it is a fact.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Of all the passions that inspire a man in a battle, none, we have to admit, is so powerful and so constant as the longing for honor and reknown.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“...an intellectual instinct which extracts the essence from the phenomena of life, as a bee sucks honey from a flower. In addition to study and reflections, life itself serves as a source.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Thus it has come about that our theoretical and critical literature, instead of giving plain, straightforward arguments in which the author at least always knows what he is saying and the reader what he is reading, is crammed with jargon, ending at obscure crossroads where the author loses its readers. Sometimes these books are even worse: they are just hollow shells. The author himself no longer knows just what he is thinking and soothes himself with obscure ideas which would not satisfy him if expressed in plain speech.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Where execution is dominant, as it is in the individual events of a war whether great or small, then intellectual factors are reduced to a minimum.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“...in war, the advantages and disadvantages of a single action could only be determined by the final balance.”
Carl von Clausewitz
“Great things alone can make a great mind, and petty things will make a petty mind unless a man rejects them as completely alien.”
Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Indexed Edition

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