[PW] ? Clausewitz Quote (Quotation Query #763)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com
Sat Jan 21 16:48:06 PST 2017

Caution: I do not fit into the requested categories of military
historian or person knowledgeable about the German language.
Nevertheless, this message may provide useful information:

Here is another version of the saying in German (and English further below):

Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit andern Mitteln

The above version appears as the title of section 24 of Book 1 Chapter 1
On page 28 of the 1932 edition


[Begin raw OCR text from Google Books]
Der Krieg ist eine bloße Fortsetzung der Politik mit andern Mitteln

So sehen wir also daß der Krieg nicht bloß ein politischer Akt sondern
ein wahres politisches Instrument ist eine Fortsetzung des politischen
Verkehrs ein Durchführen desselben mit andern Mitteln Was dem Kriege
nun noch eigenthümlich bleibt bezieht stch bloß auf die eigenthüm
liche Natur seiner Mittel Daß die Richtungen und Ab
[End raw OCR text]

Google translate gives the following for the German statement above.
Google translate has drastically changed/improved since it was
overhauled to incorporate Google's new AI capabilities.

War is a mere continuation of politics by other means

Here is a version in English from 1873 which used "policy' instead of
On War by Carl von Clausewitz; translated by Colonel J. J. Graham


[Begin 1873 translation by J.J. Graham]
24. -- War is a mere continuation of policy by other means.

We see, therefore, that war is not merely a political act, but also a
real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a
carrying out of the same by other means. All beyond this which is
strictly peculiar to war relates merely to the peculiar nature of the
means which it uses.
[End translation]


On Sat, Jan 21, 2017 at 5:20 PM, Shapiro, Fred <fred.shapiro at yale.edu> wrote:
> I am having trouble with a very famous quotation and am hoping that some military historians or persons knowledgeable about the German language (or, ideally, military historians who are knowledgeable about the German language) can help me.
> In the Yale Book of Quotations I have the following:
> Der Krieg ist nichts anderes als die Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln.
> War is the continuation of politics by other means.
> Karl von Clausewitz, On War bk. 8, ch. 6 (1832-1834)
> My first question is, is this particular sentence the best-known version of this thought by Clausewitz (I believe he stated it more than once in his writings)? or is there another better-known version?
> My second question is, is this the most accurate translation? if there is another passage that is the best-known version, what is the most accurate translation of that?  I suspect a better translation of my version above is "War is nothing but the continuation of politics with other means."
> Fred Shapiro
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