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weeveeship's avatar

Is there any reason why a nonmilitary person should read Clausewitz?

Asked by weeveeship (4579points) April 19th, 2017

Clausewitz on war

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3 Answers

CWOTUS's avatar

Sure, and for the same reason that people still read Sun Tzu and The Art of War. It’s because strategy and tactics and logistics are meaningful in any endeavor that involves conflict – or just “competition” – and moving, motivating and leading numbers of other people.

Clausewitz wrote specifically about how Napoleon had changed the act and practice of war in Europe, and Sun Tzu wrote about more ancient forms of warfare, but the underlying strategy in both works still holds, even today, among warriors and others.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Of course there are reasons. A nomilitary person might well want to understand the reasoning behind shells raining down on his house or the appearance of that draft notice in his mailbox.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

If you have any interest in history and understanding how wars are fought and why generals do what they do, these books are invaluable. They are still taught at military academies—the same ones that produce the world’s generals. By reading them, you get a glimpse of how the military mind works. Patton read them all going back to the Carthaginians. He quoted Clausewitz in his lectures to civilian groups and his own men. It is unlikely that Patton or MacArthur didn’t read Sun Tzu. To understand Patton, you should read the books he closely studied. Rommel studied the same texts and had great respect for Patton and understood his moves. They understood each other so well, that they both had problems avoiding stalemate.

To my eternal disgust, Sun Tzu became very popular reading on Wall Street in the 1980s. Fucking suits. Little pussies fronting what they think is machismo. Many tactics in the Art of War have no place in honest business. I hate guys like that. They are weak little shits that would piss their pants if they crossed someone with real trepidation, determination and unflagging faith in their belief system. It’s called character, and few on Wall Street have that—and you can’t obtain it from any book.

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