Quotations by Von Clausewitz, Karl


There is nothing more common than to hear of men losing their energy on being raised to a higher position, to which they do not feel themselves equal.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War [Vom Krieg], Book 1, ch. 3 (1832) [tr. J. Graham (1873)]
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Added on 3-Apr-20 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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War is not merely a political act but a real political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, a carrying out of the same by other means.

[Der Krieg ist nichts anderes als die Fortsetzung der Politik mit anderen Mitteln.]

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War [Vom Kriege], Book 1, ch. 1, sec. 24 (1832) [tr. Jolles (1943)]
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Alt. trans.:
  • "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." [tr. Graham (1873)]
  • "War is not merely an act of policy but a true political instrument, a continuation of political intercourse, carried on with other means." [tr. Howard and Paret (1976)]
  • Often quoted or paraphrased using "a continuation of policy ....".
Added on 19-Mar-08 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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We repeat: strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them. Even with the violence of emotion, judgment and principle must still function like a ship’s compass, which records the slightest variations however rough the sea.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War [Vom Kriege], Book 1, ch. 3 “On Military Genius” (1832) [tr. Howard/Paret (1976)]
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Alternate translation:

We, therefore, say once more a strong mind is not one that is merely susceptible of strong excitement, but one which can maintain its serenity under the most powerful excitement; so that, in spite of the storm in the breast, the perception and judgment can act with perfect freedom, like the needle of the compass in the storm-tossed ship.
[tr. Graham (1873), "The Genius for War"]
Added on 10-Sep-21 | Last updated 10-Sep-21
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Courage is of two kinds: first, physical courage, or courage in the presence of danger to the person; and next, moral courage, or courage before responsibility, whether it be before the judgment seat of external authority, or of the inner power, the conscience.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War, 1.3 (1832) [tr. J. Graham (1873)]
Added on 26-Aug-09 | Last updated 26-Aug-09
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There is a point beyond which perseverance can only be termed desperate folly.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War, 4.9 (1852) [tr. Graham (1873)]
Added on 8-Jul-15 | Last updated 8-Jul-15
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A strong mind is one which does not lose its balance even under the most violent excitement.

Karl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) Prussian soldier, historian, military theorist
On War, Book 1, ch. 3 (1832) [tr. J. Graham (1873)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.: "A strong character is one that will not be unbalanced by the most powerful emotions." [tr. Howard & Paret (1976)]
Added on 27-Apr-09 | Last updated 3-Apr-20
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