Analyzing World War I Theories

Analyzing World War I Theories

Introduction

The first world war was a major event in the world. It was a battle that originated from Europe and lasted for over four years, that is from 1914 to 1918[1]. It was a major event that involved the mobilization of over seventy million military personnel including sixty million Europeans[2].

Discussion

World war two was one of the deadliest conflicts in history that resulted to major political changes as well as radical changes amongst the subject countries. [3]The battle caused deaths of over nine million soldiers and seven million civilians. Given the significance of the event in our lives, there is a need to learn about the war techniques that were employed by the battling states. Such information is imperative for the militants of today because they help in the overall military training. The past can be a valuable tool to use in wrestling up war strategies employed by the previous statements[4].

The entire organization of the war is somewhat vague, no one can truly say which events transpired at which times. Although there is the general overview, the detailed information remains concealed and highly controversial.  There are two acceptable paradigms that checks out the facts of the actual happenings of the world war. The two are termed as the Jomini and Clausewitz theories. The following essay is a brief elaboration of their two theories, how they are similar and different and why each of them is significant in modern military training.

A thorough analysis of the two theories requires a brief elaboration of the individual’s lives.

Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz became a soldier from when he was twelve years of age. He saw his first combat when he was only thirteen years old[5]. He was appointed the military tutor for the Russian that was designated to fight Napoleon. He fought all throughout the Russian campaign and the Wars of Liberation which spanned 1813, all the way to 1814. Clausewitz had impeccable stats while working for the Prussian army[6]. He was considered to an idealist and a superb staff officer. His temperamental nature, however, rendered him unfit for command.  His idealist nature made him gain favor in the King’s Service. Most of his ideas were influenced by the by the mass popular warfare of the French revolutionary period[7].

Clausewitz is often mistermed as the high priest of Napoleon. This is historically inaccurate as Clausewitz was known to represent the ideas of the Prussian military reformer Gerhard von Scharnhorst. He did not represent Napoleon in any way[8]. Clausewitz theory of how the first world war took place focused more on the psychological side of war. Clausewitz himself was a critical thinker and elaborated on tactics and tricks used in the war, based on a relationship-based understanding between the two involved sides[9]. When compared to Jomini’s theory, Clausewitz’s principles required much more intellectual work in understanding, interpretation, and application. They were, however, not as hard to follow.

 

Jomini

Antoine Henri Jomini was born in 1779. He had dreams of being a banker but his excitement of the Revolution prompted him to join the French army in 1798[10]. He was a part-time military writer and he based most of his writings on military subjects. His first book which was published in 1803 titled, “Traité de grande tactic” was continually revised and he later reissued it in the 1850’s[11].

Jomini was accepted as a volunteer staff member after rejoining the army in 1804, by Marshal Ney[12]. Marshal also loaned him the money he needed to publish his book, Traité de grande tactique. Jomini served in the Austerlitz and Prussian campaigns. He then moved on to serve in the Spanish center[13]. The difference between Jomini and Clausewitz’s theories was that Jomini focused far more on the art side of the mechanics used in battle. Jomni was descriptive, in the sense that he offered a formulaic approach – through the use of geometric terminology, for example – to developing a tactical approach to any given conflict[14]. Jomini claimed that military strategy is an art rather than an exact science, he uses many scientific and mathematical principles and proofs to prove his stand. [15]It is telling that for a time, Jomini’s were virtually the only works taught at the US Military Academy at West Point in the United States.  His approach did not require large amounts of critical thinking as compared to Clausewitz theories.  The approach done by Jomini is sometimes referred to as the Perspective approach[16].

Given these two theories of the military strategies used during the first world war, one cannot help but wonder, which one is applicable? which one is a fraud? Both the theories are acceptable because, to some extent, they reflect the happenings that transpired during the first world war. However, Clausewitz’s theory has the most evidence supporting[17]. The military strategies employed during the first war were purely psychological. [18]They wanted to think in ways that their adversaries could not and therefore outsmart the foes in every way they could. Most of the military strategies employed during the period followed the layout.

Bibliography

Clausewitz, Carl, V,. On War, abridged version translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, edited with an introduction by Beatrice Heuser Oxford World’s Classics Oxford University Press, 2012.

Hittle, J.D. “Introduction”. Jomini and His Summary of the Art of War. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing Co, 2010.

Dell, Pamela. A World War I Timeline (Smithsonian War Timelines Series). Capstone, 2013.

[1] Clausewitz, Carl, V.,. On War, abridged version translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, edited with an introduction by Beatrice Heuser Oxford World’s Classics Oxford University Press, 2012, 23-34.

  [2] Carl,, On War, abridged version Oxford University Press,2012, 23-34.

 [3] Hittle, J.D. “Introduction”. Jomini and His Summary of the Art of War. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing Co, 2010, 34-54.

 [4] Hittle. “. Jomini and His Summary of the Art of War. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing Co, 2010, 34-54.

 

[5]Clausewitz, Carl, V. On War, abridged version translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, edited with an introduction by Beatrice Heuser Oxford World’s Classics Oxford University Press. 2012. 23-34.

[6] Carl,, On War, abridged version Oxford University Press,2012, 23-34.

[7] Hittle, J.D. “Introduction”. Jomini and His Summary of the Art of War. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing Co, 2010, 34-54.

[8] Hittle. “. Jomini and His Summary of the Art of War. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing Co, 2010, 34-54.

[9] Dell, Pamela. A World War I Timeline (Smithsonian War Timelines Series). Capstone, 2013, 45-54.

 

[10] Dell, Pamela. A World War I Timeline (Smithsonian War Timelines Series). Capstone, 2013, 45-54.

[11] Clausewitz, Carl, V. On War, abridged version translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, edited with an introduction by Beatrice Heuser Oxford World’s Classics Oxford University Press. 2012. 23-34.

[13] Carl,, On War, abridged version Oxford University Press,2012, 23-34.

 

[14] Hittle, J.D. “Introduction”. Jomini and His Summary of the Art of War. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service          Publishing Co, 2010, 34-54.

[15] Hittle. “. Jomini and His Summary of the Art of War. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Publishing Co, 2010, 34-54.

 

[16] Dell, Pamela. A World War I Timeline (Smithsonian War Timelines Series). Capstone, 2013, 45-54.

[17] Pamela. A World War I Timeline (Smithsonian War Timelines Series). Capstone, 2013, 45-54.

[18] Clausewitz, Carl, V. On War, abridged version translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret, edited with an introduction by Beatrice Heuser Oxford World’s Classics Oxford University Press. 2012. 23-34.

 

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