Biography of Carl von Clausewitz

Biography of Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz he is one of the most influential theorists in modern military science. As a military man, he participated in the Napoleonic Wars to defend Prussia and Russia from the annexationist wishes of the French emperor. As an academic he wrote a large number of writings on the art of war, influenced above all by his knowledge of philosophy and ethics. Clausewitz He ended up being renegade by the Prussian court but highly respected by all the military in his country.

He was born on July 1, 1780 in Burg (Prussia) into a middle-class family with quite limited resources. At the age of twelve he enlisted in the Prussian army under the name of "von Clausewitz”And was assigned to the Rhine campaigns between 1793 and 1794. After that stage, he did not leave the war, but continued at the front, serving during the siege of Mainz and the Prussian invasion of France during the French Revolution.

Taking advantage of the end of the war against France, in 1795 he began his self-training while he was in the Neuruppin garrison. Beyond military subjects, he showed interest in art, science, education, philosophy, and ethics. These fields would be the ones that would later have a decisive influence on his literary works.

The immediate consequence of this self-taught training was that he was accepted into the Berlin “Kriegsakademie” in 1801. In addition to military studies, he also thoroughly researched Kant's literature. In 1804, he graduated first from his class and was appointed an aide-de-camp of the Prince Augustus Ferdinand of Prussia, which initiated his contacts with the Prussian royal house. General Gerhard von Scharnhorst was impressed with the young Clausewitz, so that between 1806 and 1810 he would be one of those chosen by the general to reorganize the Prussian army.

The outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars brought Clausewitz back to the front. At the Battle of Jena on October 14, 1806, the Prussian army was easily defeated and the young officer was taken prisoner by the Gauls. He remained in France until 1808, at which point he chose to return to France and assist Scharnhorst in reforming the Prussian army.

In 1810, he was appointed military guardian of Crown Prince Frederick William. Clausewitz took the opportunity to write the essay: “LThe most important principles of the Art of War to complete my course of instruction for His Royal Highness the Crown Prince", Commonly known as"Beginnings of war”. In this speech, he laid the foundations for his later works.

While Napoleon began his offensive on RussiaClausewitz opposed the Prussian posture of support for France. In 1812 he asked for discharge from the army and went clandestinely to Russia to help Alexander I. A year later, he returned to Prussia. Although he was promoted to colonel, his image within the court was damaged but General (and friend) Gneisenau appointed him assistant. From that position, he fought during several battles and stood out especially in that of Lützen.

After his promotion to Major General in 1818, Gneisenau appointed him director of the Berlin Kriegsakademie. He took advantage of his stay in office to prepare various books and essays on military campaigns. But the outbreak of the revolutionary movements of 1830 throughout Europe, brought him to the front again, as Chief of the General Staff.

An outbreak of anger affected a large part of the troops who were on the border, including Clausewitz himself. He returned to Breslau but ended up dying on November 16, 1831. His widow then published the manuscripts on which he had been working. In them, he made a long meditation on war, especially on its close subordination to politics. It came out with the title "From the war”In 1832 and had a great influence on the doctrine of the German General Staff and on the Marxist doctrine of the war of Engels and Lenin.

Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

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