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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Clausewitz’s magnum opus, On Warhas been translated into virtually every major language. Views Read Edit View history. By Jon Tetsuro Sumida.

Any translation from one language to another necessarily involves interpretation not only of the language but of the conceptual content. The most accurate version. Since Jolles taught military German and German military organization, and On War was considered to be a key to German military behavior, he seemed to be the natural man for the job even though he was not familiar with Clausewitz when he set out.

Note, however, that the Everyman’s edition is paginated differently from the Princeton edition—therefore, our on-line Word Index will not at present be helpful to those readers who purchase it though the excellent Sumida concordance does include it.

Clausewihz historian Jay Luvaas once quoted an unidentified Israeli om as saying “whereas the first English translation was by an Englishman who did not know German, the American translation was by a Hungarian who did not know English. Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of Unfortunately, his German was not particularly fluent, his translation was excessively dense and clauseditz, his English was Victorian, and the sources for jollles background information clausewifz offered were weak.

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. For this reason, in the battle which is not purely defensive and in the real rencontresthere always remains also something of the difference of the character of the battle on the one side and on the other.


This translation, based on a German edition that deviated in minor ways from the original, is obsolete. Lt-Colonel de Vatry, 3 vols.

This book is built around a new and complete translation of Clausewitz’s study of the Waterloo campaign [Berlin: There have been four more-or-less complete and a few partial English translations of On War. We can perceive this by observing how modestly subdued, even spiritless and desponding, is the opinion passed upon the results of untoward events, by those who have been eye-witnesses, but especially if they have been parties concerned.

Oxford University Press, —the full text of which is on-line. Oddly, Jolles’s translation did not catch on, and the Graham translation continued to serve as the basis for most subsequent condensations. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Buy the best translation—recommended for serious readers. 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: Paret is a native German speaker, but he left Germany in his very early teens, whereas Otto Jolles see discussion of his translation, above was an accomplished academic in Germany and a literary specialist on Clausewitz’s era before emigrating.

He severely and misleadingly abridged Clausewitz’s own writings, partly, of course, for reasons of space in a small paperback. To be able in turn to operate with success against the flanks of an enemy, whose aim is to turn our line, it is necessary to have a well chosen and well prepared position. Clausewitz, Karl von, War, Politics, and Power: Although here strictly, the question is only respecting the extreme effort required by a commander from his army, by a leader from his followers, therefore of the spirit to demand it, of the art of getting it; still the personal physical exertion of generals and of the chief commander, must not be overlooked.

O. J. Matthijs Jolles

Hahlweg researched the history of the text and unscrambled Clausewitz’s original wording as much as possible from the interventions of later editors. By Jon Tetsuro Sumida.

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. Sumida contends that Clausewitz’s central value lies in his method of reenacting the psychological difficulties of high command in order to promote the powers of intuition that he believed were essential to effective strategic decision-making. Visit the Clausewitz Bookstores!


Maude’s edition of the Graham translation Sumida also correctly notes Clausewitz’s argument that the defense is a stronger form of war, and goes on to explore the implications of that fact.

O. J. Matthijs Jolles – Wikipedia

A complete German text of Vom Kriege is on-line here and can be searched electronically. 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.

Changes in the native version obviously can be reflected in translations. To check the abuse of these considerations, of such a survey of things which aggravate the difficulties of war, nature has given our judgment a guide in our sensibilities. The Paret translation has also been licensed to Knopf’s ” Everyman’s Library ” series in an excellent and inexpensive hardcover edition the image at right.

These have been published in significantly different forms—eight of which are listed and described below. WHAT we have said about the defensive battle throws a strong light upon the offensive also. Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of As it is an object with the commander in the defensive battle to delay the decision as long as possible, and gain time, because a defensive battle undecided at sunset is commonly one gained: He received his doctorate in the philosophy of literature from Heidelberg in It is an erroneous idea that an enveloping strategic advance from the very commencement must be connected with it, as at Prague.

In he emigrated to Francewhere he studied at the Sorbonne.

A combat in lines, formed to envelope, has evidently in itself great advantages; it is, however, a subject of tactics. Retrieved from ” https: Oxford University Press,pp.

You wouldn’t want to end up with the atrocious Penguin edition, edited in by Anatol Rapoport.