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Carl von Clausewitz Quotes

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Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.”

The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.

— Carl von Clausewitz



Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The best form of defense is attack.”

The best form of defense is attack.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “To secure peace is to prepare for war.”

To secure peace is to prepare for war.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.”

Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Knowledge must become capability.”

Knowledge must become capability.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.”

Talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “There is only one decisive victory: the last.”

There is only one decisive victory: the last.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past.”

It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy.”

No campaign plan survives first contact with the enemy.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Blood is the price of victory.”

Blood is the price of victory.

— Carl von Clausewitz



Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “War is nothing but a duel on a larger scale.”

War is nothing but a duel on a larger scale.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “By ‘intelligence’ we mean every sort of information about the enemy and his country – the basis, in short, of our own plans and operations.”

By ‘intelligence’ we mean every sort of information about the enemy and his country – the basis, in short, of our own plans and operations.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Knowing is different from doing and therefore theory must never be used as norms for a standard, but merely as aids to judgment.”

Knowing is different from doing and therefore theory must never be used as norms for a standard, but merely as aids to judgment.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his sense ought to do so – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by the war and how he intends to conduct it.”

No one starts a war – or rather, no one in his sense ought to do so – without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by the war and how he intends to conduct it.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “There are very few men-and they are the exceptions-who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment.”

There are very few men-and they are the exceptions-who are able to think and feel beyond the present moment.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.”

The conqueror is always a lover of peace; he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Four elements make up the climate of war: danger, exertion, uncertainty and chance.”

Four elements make up the climate of war: danger, exertion, uncertainty and chance.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Boldness becomes rarer, the higher the rank.”

Boldness becomes rarer, the higher the rank.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty.”

War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Savage peoples are ruled by passion, civilized peoples by the mind.”

Savage peoples are ruled by passion, civilized peoples by the mind.

— Carl von Clausewitz



Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Desperate affairs require desperate remedies.”

Desperate affairs require desperate remedies.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior.”

Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity.”

Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Be audacious and cunning in your plans, firm and persevering in their execution, determined to find a glorious end.”

Be audacious and cunning in your plans, firm and persevering in their execution, determined to find a glorious end.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions and its own peculiar preconceptions.”

Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions and its own peculiar preconceptions.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The great uncertainty of all data in war is because all action, to a certain extent, planned in a mere twilight – like the effect of a fog – gives things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance.”

The great uncertainty of all data in war is because all action, to a certain extent, planned in a mere twilight – like the effect of a fog – gives things exaggerated dimensions and unnatural appearance.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “War is politics by other means.”

War is politics by other means.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation form their purposes.”

The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation form their purposes.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “A conqueror is always a lover of peace.”

A conqueror is always a lover of peace.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.”

Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Criticism exists only to recognize the truth, not to act as judge.”

Criticism exists only to recognize the truth, not to act as judge.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The world has a way of undermining complex plans. This is particularly true in fast moving environments. A fast moving environment can evolve more quickly than a complex plan can be adapted to it. By the time you have adapted, the target has changed.”

The world has a way of undermining complex plans. This is particularly true in fast moving environments. A fast moving environment can evolve more quickly than a complex plan can be adapted to it. By the time you have adapted, the target has changed.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Where absolute superiority is not attainable, you must produce a relative one at the decisive point by making skillful use ofwhat you have.”

Where absolute superiority is not attainable, you must produce a relative one at the decisive point by making skillful use ofwhat you have.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The best strategy is always to be very strong.”

The best strategy is always to be very strong.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Self-reliance is the best defence against the pressures of the moment.”

Self-reliance is the best defence against the pressures of the moment.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Battles decide everything.”

Battles decide everything.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity.”

Never forget that no military leader has ever become great without audacity.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The art of war in its highest point of view is policy.”

The art of war in its highest point of view is policy.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Only the element of chance is needed to make war a gamble, and that element is never absent.”

Only the element of chance is needed to make war a gamble, and that element is never absent.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “War is an act of force, and to the application of that force there is no limit. Each of the adversaries forces the hand of the other, and a reciprocal action results which in theory can have no limit...”

War is an act of force, and to the application of that force there is no limit. Each of the adversaries forces the hand of the other, and a reciprocal action results which in theory can have no limit...

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “A prince or general can best demonstrate his genius by managing a campaign exactly to suit his objectives and his resources, doing neither too much nor too little.”

A prince or general can best demonstrate his genius by managing a campaign exactly to suit his objectives and his resources, doing neither too much nor too little.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere.”

If you entrench yourself behind strong fortifications, you compel the enemy seek a solution elsewhere.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “War should never be thought of as something autonomous, but always as an instrument of policy.”

War should never be thought of as something autonomous, but always as an instrument of policy.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “The side that feels the lesser urge for peace will naturally get the better bargain.”

The side that feels the lesser urge for peace will naturally get the better bargain.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain.”

Many intelligence reports in war are contradictory; even more are false, and most are uncertain.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Politics is the womb in which war develops.”

Politics is the womb in which war develops.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Boldness governed by superior intellect is the mark of a hero.”

Boldness governed by superior intellect is the mark of a hero.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “With uncertainty in one scale, courage and self-confidence should be thrown into the other to correct the balance. The greater they are, the greater the margin that can be left for accidents.”

With uncertainty in one scale, courage and self-confidence should be thrown into the other to correct the balance. The greater they are, the greater the margin that can be left for accidents.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Timidity is the root of prudence in the majority of men.”

Timidity is the root of prudence in the majority of men.

— Carl von Clausewitz


Carl von Clausewitz Quote: “Whoever does great things with small means has successfully reached the goal.”

Whoever does great things with small means has successfully reached the goal.

— Carl von Clausewitz

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