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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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On Defence as the Stronger Form of War

On Defence as the Stronger Form of War

Chapter:
(p.163) 9 On Defence as the Stronger Form of War
Source:
Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century
Author(s):

Jon Sumida

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199232024.003.0010

Confusion about the meaning of On War is in large part attributable to the failure to recognize the importance of Clausewitz's contention that defence is a stronger form of war than offence. This argument is supported by three interlocking propositions, namely: that war is an extension of policy (or politics) by other means; that policy both affects and is affected by the course of armed conflict; and that policy affects the attacker more than the defender. In particular, Clausewitz believed that a defender capable of waging guerrilla war could not be overcome by a much more powerful attacker.

Keywords:   defence, offence, policy, politics, guerrilla war

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