"lClausewitz on Small War is a welcome addition to the growing recent scholarship on Clausewitz and will add depth to theoretical and analytical approaches to war and strategic studies, tackling as it does the artificial divide between "big" and "small" wars. Military academies and academics in the fields of international relations, politics, history and strategic studies would benefit enormously from this new addition to the Clausewitz canon." --Simon Taylor, University of St. Andrews, lE-International Relations
Widely recognized as one of the most important theorists of warfare, important strands of Carl von Clausewitz's thinking on the subject are not widely known. In the English-speaking world, few are familiar with anything other than his major, though unfinished and posthumously published, opus On War, which is available in numerous translations. Although the corpus of Clausewitz's writings on the topic of warfare is far greater, most of these texts have never been translated.
In Clausewitz on Small War, Christopher Daase and James W. Davis begin to redress this unfortunate state of affairs. In this volume they have assembled and translated Clausewitz's most important texts devoted to the analysis of asymmetric, unconventional, guerrilla, and small unit warfare, including Clausewitz's Lectures on Small War, held at the Prussian War Academy in 1810 and 1811. Augmenting our understanding of Clausewitz with his early writings on Small War leads to the conclusion that asymmetric warfare is not an historical development that can be termed pre- or post-Clausewitzian as many contemporary scholars of war and military strategy argue. Rather, Clausewitz himself emerges as an early theorist of insurgency and asymmetric warfare with insights that are relevant today. The book is a must read for soldiers, military strategists, historians of war, and students of international security.
Through Clausewitz on Small War, Christopher Daase and James W. Davis make a significant contribution to such efforts of contextualisation. Yet theirs is quite distinct from other works, in that they translate into English writings that were thus far accessible only to those with a reading knowledge of German. This is precisely where the value of the book lies, as well as being the editors’ primary aim: opening up Clausewitz through translating his own words, rather than in interpreting them. In doing so, they offer the tools through which future analyses can be better informed.
The word "" had only recently come into usage in modern Europe, and Clausewitz's definition is quite narrow: "the use of engagements for the object of war." Clausewitz conceived of war as a political, social, and military phenomenon which might — depending on circumstances — involve the entire population of a nation at war. In any case, Clausewitz saw military force as an instrument that states and other political actors use to pursue the ends of policy, in a dialectic between opposing wills, each with the aim of imposing his policies and will upon his enemy.