On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815

On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815

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By (author) And Wellington Clausewitz and Wellington, By (author) Carl von Clausewitz, By (author) 1st Duke of Wellington Arthu Wellesley, Edited by Christopher Bassford, Edited by Daniel Moran

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  • Publisher: Createspace
  • Format: Paperback | 318 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 228mm x 20mm | 440g
  • Publication date: 20 April 2010
  • Publication City/Country: North Charleston SC
  • ISBN 10: 1453701508
  • ISBN 13: 9781453701508
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 348,519

Product description

This book at last makes available in English a penetrating exchange between two of history's most famous soldiers concerning the dramatic events of the Waterloo campaign of 1815. The Duke of Wellington is one of the greatest military commanders in British history; General Carl von Clausewitz is widely regarded as the greatest military thinker in the history of Western civilization. Both men had vast experience in the Napoleonic Wars, and both were prominent participants in the campaign. Wellington commanded the Anglo-Dutch-Belgian army; the much younger Clausewitz was chief-of-staff to Prussia's 3rd Corps. Wellington went on to become prime minister of Great Britain and commander-in-chief-for-life of the British Army. Clausewitz went on to author VOM KRIEGE (ON WAR), a seminal and still hotly debated treatise on the theory and philosophy of war. He also became the founder of modern, "scientific" military history, via the work of his disciple, military historian Hans Delbruck. Oddly, Clausewitz's study of the campaign of 1815 was never published in English, and Wellington's once-famous response to it has been strangely but studiously ignored by British military historians since 1914. Hence this book. It contains Wellington's initial battle report; Clausewitz's post-battle letters to his wife Marie; correspondence within Wellington's circle concerning Clausewitz's work; Clausewitz's strategic analysis of the entire campaign (not just the Battle of Waterloo); Wellington's memorandum in response; and enlightening essays by prominent experts on Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Battle of Waterloo. Major General [U.S. Army] David T. Zabecki, Ph.D., writes in the April 2011 edition of The Journal of Military History: "Long overdue, we now have two English translations of [Clausewitz's] The Campaign of 1815 [i.e., Peter Hofschroer's translation of Clausewitz's study and Bassford, Moran, and Pedlow's edition of the full Clausewitz-Wellington exchange]. Either of these volumes would be a welcome addition to the bookshelf of any serious student of military affairs, but On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815 is clearly the richer of the two." Napoleonic expert Bruno Colson wrote [in War in History 19(3)] that Pedlow "convincingly resurrects Wellington's ideas and actions, and gives a final and excellent reply to the arguments of Peter Hofschroer, while remaining balanced, recognizing the latter's merits and quoting him courteously. Waterloo 'was neither a British victory nor a Prussian victory; it was an Allied victory, ' says Pedlow (p. 282). For Waterloo enthusiasts, this essay alone justifies buying the book." Noted Clausewitz scholar Jon Sumida (U.Md) writes that "On Waterloo is essential reading for those seeking an understanding of Clausewitz's distinctive approach to historical case study as the basis of practical knowledge of armed conflict. Clausewitz's history of the campaign of 1815 incorporates methods of critical analysis explained in Book II of On War, which were addressed primarily to the observation and assessment of past cases of strategic and operational decision-making by commanders-in chief. The Bassford, Moran, and Pedlow edition provides a highly readable translation of a work previously accessible only in German that illustrates Clausewitz's approach to the replication and evaluation of the experience of high command." The Editors: Christopher Bassford is Professor of Strategy at the National War College, in Washington, DC. Daniel Moran is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School, in Monterey, CA. Gregory W. Pedlow is Chief of the Historical Office at NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), near Mons, Belgium."

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Author information

General Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) was a Prussian army officer during the wars of the French Revolution and Napoleon. He is most famous as the author of ON WAR, a philosophical treatise on the nature of war that remains the center of hot debate (at least 10 books on him have been published in English in the last four years alone). But he also wrote several histories, including one on the campaign of 1815. Arthur Wellesley, the first Duke of Wellington (1769-1851), is one of the most famous British commanders of all time, victor over Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo. Other than his official battle report, Wellington wrote only one serious essay concerning that battle, and that essay was in direct response to Clausewitz's study.