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Which Theorist Best Characterizes The Nature Of World War I Jomini Or Clausewitz?

1046 words - 5 pages

The Swiss Antoine-Henri Jomini and the Prussian Carl von Clausewitz were two important military theorists emerged from the wars of the French Revolustion and Napoleon. Clausewitz explained military theory and war in relative terms, ever changing standards, and values with unknown outcomes. In contrast, Jomini's view of the military theory was static and simplistic with predicted outcomes. 1
World War I was the most disastrous war ever fought in history with 13 million estimated death from 1914 to 1918. 2 Loss of life, and destruction of property were so immense that no side could declare clear victory at the conclusion of the war. Clausewitz’ military theory best characterized the nature ...view middle of the document...

Both side fought to drain their economic and military power to until one side cannot sustain its expenditure. During the Great War, whole nations had mobilized. The workers in the factory were as important as the soldiers at the front in manufacturing the weapons and supplies. Clausewitz argued that when the opposing armies were symmetrical and cancelled each other out at the tactical level, battles in that circumstances would be a prolonged firefight. He best described this in Book IV, chapter 2.
So the battle smolders away, like damp gunpowder. Darkness brings it to a halt: no one can see, and no one cares to trust himself to chance. The time has now come to reckon up how much in the way of serviceable troops is left on either side-troops, that is, which are not burned out like dead volcanoes. 3 (Clausewitz, On War, ed. Howard and Paret, book IV, chapter 2, 226.)

World War I was a defensive war in tactics. Existing technology such as machine guns and artillery provided more firepower to the defense than the office in World War I. Clausewitz explained the strength of the defense in tactical warfare. Clausewitz emphasized that well-prepared, well-manned, and well-defended entrenchment must generally be considered an impregnable point. 32 Ibid, book VII, chapter 10, 536. According to Clausewitz, the defender enjoys great advantages since he can waits for the attack in position, can choose it location, fortify its position, survey the battle and plan for counterattacks. 33 Ibid 390-391. On the contrary, Jomini emphasized well planned deployment of forces, movement of military assets in time and space to achieve victory, which was not easily achievable in World War I.

World War I was Clausewitzian in its outcomes. World War I ended not purely by military blunders but also by the political and strategic errors. In 1918, the German military was able to achieve tactical success with their storm troops, but failed to achieve any operational and strategic success. In fact, loss of troops and logistic difficulty maintaining their advances exhausted German’s offensive capabilities. In addition, Unites State’s involvement in this War finally tipped the military...

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