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Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century$
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Hew Strachan and Andreas Herberg-Rothe

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199232024

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199232024.001.0001

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Clausewitz's On War: Problems of Text and Translation

Clausewitz's On War: Problems of Text and Translation

Chapter:
(p.57) 3 Clausewitz's On War: Problems of Text and Translation
Source:
Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century
Author(s):

Jan Willem Honig

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199232024.003.0004

The chapter contends that Clausewitz's Vom Kriege exhibits far greater fundamental tensions in the original language than is apparent from the popular and widely acclaimed English translation (On War) by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Their text compromises the ability of English readers to understand and evaluate critically the two issues which lie at the heart of Clausewitz's engagement with the problem of war. On the issue of political control over the instrument of war, the translation suggests more precision and coherence than is warranted, while on the issue of the overwhelming and constant need in war to make the enemy defenceless, it obscures the original's far greater clarity, consistency, and coherence. The German Clausewitz is thus far more reactionary than the English Clausewitz suggests.

Keywords:   translation, politics, policy, strategy, overthrow, German Clausewitz, English Clausewitz

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