Jomini and Clausewitz Over the Years Many Essay

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Jomini and Clausewitz

Over the years, many doctrines have seen the light regarding military doctrine. While some of these theories have worked well in tandem, others have diverged and suggested different approaches to explaining the various arts and crafts related to war. Two such theorists include Antoine Henri Baron De Jomini and Carl Don Clausewitz. Although most investigators focus on the fundamental differences between the theories of these authors, it is also possible to recognize them as having co-existed in the historical process and the nature of military doctrine. One might therefore promote the view that Jomini and Clausewitz coexist in many modern military strategies; this has been proven throughout history during the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war.

Baron De Jomini and the physical aspects of war.

Jomini has placed emphasis on the principals and applications dominating at the operational and tactical levels of war. He mentions, for example, that the basis for the start of a war relies on the decision of a government, which feels itself obliged to go to war for any of a number of reasons. Some of these reasons include reclaiming or defending certain rights, protecting and maintaining state interests, uphold neighboring states, fulfill obligations, defend the independence of the state, and so on. [footnoteRef:1]The central principle of starting a war therefore lies in the hands of the government. Jomini also points out, in great detail, that the tactics and strategies of war are dependent on the reasons and nature first established when the war was started. [1: Baron De Jomini, Antoine Henri. 1862. The Art of War. J.B. Lippincott & Company, p. 14]

He indicated that the art of war consists of five core military branches. These include strategy, grand tactics, logistics, engineering and tactics of different arms, and diplomacy. In terms of strategy,[footnoteRef:2] the author notes that the term "strategy" refers to the direction of military movements, which will then be carried out by means of "tactics." In other words, strategy refers to pre-battle planning, while tactics refers to the practical execution of these plans. Of course, no strategy or operation would be successful without the necessary support, which is covered by the "logistics" and "engineering" components. Logistics refers to the practical support for the army, including physical resources such as arms, food, vehicles, and so on. These need to be arranged effectively for the army to successfully to battle. "Engineering and tactics of different arms" refers to the specific instruments the army will use to do battle. This is another vital component in the art of war. Finally, diplomacy refers to the connections and allies a state can form with another in order to strengthen its military position. Jomini notes that, although it is possible to go into battle without allies, it is far more beneficial to have allied relationships in place than it is not to have them. [2: Baron De Jomini. 1862. p. 175]

For Jomini, then, war is an art form that relates not only to political processes, but also on the ways in which leaders position and support their military personnel. While the decision to go to war and diplomacy are exclusive to the political process, war itself is an art form that relies on several components to be successful.

III. Carl Von Clausewitz and his view on the role of politics.

Currently, military doctrine taught to senior military leadership is based on Clausewitz's theory of strategic level planning and operation. Clausewitz, for example, defines war as "an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to fulfil our will.[footnoteRef:3] For Clausewitz, the art of war constitutes a "duel," which is set up for specific purposes, such as those mentioned by Jomini as well. In terms of strategy and operation, Clausewitz suggests that both parties taking part in the war suffer from certain defects, which are set up in such a way that they can prove to have a modifying effect within the military effort.[footnoteRef:4] Two basic principles in this regard is that war is never an isolated act, and also that its results are never absolute. As such, Clausewitz holds that war is always and necessarily an act of politics.[footnoteRef:5] [3: Von Clausewitz, Carl. 1906. On War. Project Gutenberg, p. 14] [4: Von Clausewitz, p. 16] [5: Von Clausewitz, p. 23]

This is also how Clausewitz focuses his ideas about warfare on three main objectives: To conquer and destroy the armed power of the enemy, to take possession of enemy material and other sources of strength, and to gain favor within the public opinion. One of the components within the principle of conquering and destroying the armed power of the enemy is disarming the enemy p. 24. This specific objective, according to the author, is seldom attained in practice and not a prerequisite for peace. Indeed, any enemies are unlikely to be complete defeated, particularly if such enemies are particularly strong. Nevertheless, disarmament is not the only component of conquering or destroying the enemy's power, which is something that must be taken into account in terms of strategy. There are also several stages involved in possessing the enemy's material and sources of strength. Such a source of strength, for example, could merely refer to the enemy's sense of security, which can be shaken by a single attack,[footnoteRef:6] whereas the possession of material goods can take several efforts. The final component, gaining public favor, is an important component in the success of warfare. Public endorsement for a war, for example, would mean a greater likelihood of a high morale among soldiers, along with the increased ability of leaders to obtain and maintain funding for the military project. [6: Von Clausewitz, p. 26]

IV. Jomini and Clausewitz

Taking into account the two theorist's ideas, it becomes clear that there are sufficient parallels between their works to indicate that their ideas complement rather than contradict each other. Hence, despite the general conception of Jomini and Clausewitz as being two divergent authors with divergent theories, there are sufficient parallel components to ensure that the divergences complement rather than contradict each other.

When applied to the current military and operational environment, Jomini's leadership style would be to add more troops to the operation and find the right leader who could apply the proper principles of war for the mission. In practice then, Jomini focuses on increasing military power by increasing the number of personnel within a mission. This author also seems to be far more concerned with the practical aspects of warfare, such as physical logistics and engineering, as well as managing numbers of military personnel, than Clausewitz. Indeed, diplomacy occurs only at the end of his list of strategies involved in warfare.

Clausewitz, on the other hand, had a leadership style that focused not exclusively on numbers, amounts, or physical prowess, but also on the political and human aspects of current operations. The relative strength of the opposition, for example, was assessed and eroded in such a way to provide the upper hand to the military operation being managed. Whereas Jomini regards each stage of warfare, from the decision to go to war and the basis for this to managing the army itself and securing a victory to the final stage of diplomacy, in relative isolation. Each step is regarded as important in and of itself. For Clausewitz, the process occurs in a more integrated way, where diplomacy is the overruling factor that connects all the other factors.

As such, Clausewitz's idea focuses on maintaining good diplomatic relationships, especially in terms of maintaining the morale of personnel as well as allied relationships. This combines well with Jomini's ideal of allies in order to help secure a victory during war.

V. Conclusion

In conclusion, Jomini's and Clausewitz's theory, although apparently divergent, have coexisted comfortably, being applied simultaneously during combat operations…

Sources Used in Document:


Baron De Jomini, Antoine Henri. 1862. The Art of War. J.B. Lippincott & Company.

Von Clausewitz, Carl. 1906. On War. Project Gutenberg

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