红色中国网

 找回密码
 立即注册
搜索
查看: 1559|回复: 12

克劳塞维茨论有限战争与无限战争 [复制链接]

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 21:47:21 |显示全部楼层
本帖是迈克尔·霍华德所著《克劳塞维茨》一书的第四章。可惜没有找到中文版。本章中对战争的有限性论述十分有启发性,在此将英文原文转帖给大家。


Chapter 4

Limited and absolute war


The distinction which Clausewitz drew between ‘limited’ and ‘absolute’ (or ‘total’) war, and which twentieth-century political and strategic thinkers have found so significant, did not emerge as the result of any long and profound thought. He was, as we have already seen, only 24 when he first stated that wars could be of two kinds, those fought for the elimination of the opponent’s political independence (seine Staatenexistenz aufzuheben) and those fought to obtain favourable terms of peace. There is no indication that either he or anyone else at the time saw anything remarkable in the idea. But in a note written in 1827, twenty-three years later, when he had been at work on On War for a dozen years and had drafted three-quarters of the book, Clausewitz wrote that it was now necessary for him to go over the whole thing again to ‘bring out the two types of war with greater clarity at every point’ (p. 69). So although the distinction between the two must have always been in his mind, as for anyone who had experienced both the wars of the eighteenth century and those of Bonaparte, the fundamental importance of this dichotomy for his theory only struck him as he was writing. To be precise, it seems to have struck him halfway through the sixth book of On War, that on Defence, when he realized that here more than anywhere else the commander needed to know whether he was fighting ‘the kind of war that is completely governed and saturated by the urge for a decision’, or one that approximated rather to ‘a war of observation’ (pp. 488–9). Why this distinction was particularly important in planning a defensive campaign we shall see later in this chapter.


Clausewitz considered it necessary for his reader not only to appreciate that there were two types of war, but to understand exactly why this should be so. In fact he provided three distinct explanations: one historical, or sociological; one metaphysical; and one empirical. Each occurs in a different section of On War, and is set out with little relation to the other two. They were not indeed entirely mutually compatible.


Historically, Clausewitz pointed out, all wars were the products of the societies that fought them. Like all other institutions war was shaped by the ideas, the emotions, and conditions prevailing at the time. How this had affected the development of warfare he explained in what must have been the earliest survey of the sociology of war from the earliest times to his own day. Having described how war was made and supported by the Tatar hordes, the republics of antiquity, the Roman Empire, the political authorities of the Middle Ages, and the condottieri of the early modern period, he focused on the development of the sovereign states of eighteenth-century Europe. By then, he showed, monarchs had obtained such effective political and economic control over the peoples they ruled that they were able to create war machines distinct and separate from the rest of society, regular armies with their own sources of finance and supply which monarchs controlled so completely that they were able to behave ‘as if they were themselves the State’. But these resources were finite.


Their means of waging war came to consist of the money in their coffers and of such idle vagabonds as they could lay their hands on either at home or abroad . . . If the army was pulverised, he could not raise another, and behind the army there was nothing. That enjoined the greatest prudence in all operations . . . Armies, with their fortresses and prepared positions, came to form a state within a state, in which violence gradually faded away. (pp. 589–90)


The development of civilized social mores and of a political system so closely integrated that ‘no cannon could be fired in Europe without every government feeling its interest affected’ further enforced the limitations on both the means of conducting war and the objectives for which it was fought. But the French Revolution changed everything. ‘Suddenly war again became the business of the people – a people of thirty millions, all of whom considered themselves to be citizens’ (p. 592).


War, untrammelled by any conventional restraints, had broken loose in all its elemental fury. This was due to the peoples’ new share in these great affairs of state; and their participation, in its turn, resulted partly from the impact that the Revolution had on the internal conditions of every state and partly from the danger that France posed to everyone. (p. 593)


Whether this transformation was likely to be permanent Clausewitz was too cautious, and perhaps too politically shrewd, to say; though he warned that ‘once barriers – which in a sense consist only of man’s ignorance of what is possible – are torn down, they are not easily set up again’. The important point for his theory was that ‘each age had in its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions, and its own peculiar preconceptions’. It was these cultural circumstances that determined whether war would be total or limited, and what the limits would be.


When he started to revise On War, however, Clausewitz adopted a different approach. In the first chapter of the first book, which may in fact have been the last complete chapter that he wrote and was certainly the only one with which he professed himself satisfied, Clausewitz presented the concept of ‘absolute war’ not as something culturally conditioned but as a Platonic ideal, to which most wars in reality were imperfect approximations. It was ‘ideal’, that is, in the sense not of being ‘good’, but of being logical and (in the Aristotelian sense) ‘natural’. The intrinsic nature of war, that is, was total. It was ‘an act of force, and there is no logical limit to an act of force’ (p. 77). This statement Clausewitz justified by the concept of what he called ‘reciprocal action’ and which today we would term ‘escalation’. The object in war is to impose your will on the enemy – it is ‘an act of force to compel our enemy to do our will’ (p. 75). You cannot do this unless you destroy the enemy’s power to resist; for if you do not render him powerless, he will try to render you powerless in his turn. So long as he has any capacity for resistance left, therefore, you are logically bound, in self-defence, to try to destroy it: there is no stopping-place short of the extreme.


That this rarely if ever happened in reality was due, according to Clausewitz, to a host of factors extraneous to the war itself. War was never a self-contained activity, consisting of a single decisive act or a series of simultaneous acts occurring in a political vacuum, unrelated to the events that had led up to it or to the situation it was intended to produce. The intentions of the belligerents and the course of the war were shaped by such considerations as the international environment, the pre-war relationship of the belligerent powers, the characteristics of the armed forces, the terrain of the theatre of war, and perceptions of the new situation that it was hoped the war would produce. These, far more than any requirements of military logic, determined how the war should be fought. Clausewitz denied indeed that war could have its own logic; it could only, he said, have its own grammar.


War came about, Clausewitz insisted, because of a political situation. ‘The occasion is always due to some political object’, he wrote: ‘War is therefore an act of policy’ (p. 607). Policy was the guiding intelligence, war only the instrument. But even this was a misleading analogy. War could not be considered as existing distinct from policy, however subordinate it might be to it. It was part of policy, a mode of it, a continuation of political intercourse (Verkehr) with the addition of other means.


使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 21:47:36 |显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 井冈山卫士 于 2022-4-26 21:51 编辑

We deliberately use the phrase ‘with the addition of other means’ because we also want to make it clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different . . . The main lines along which military events progress, and to which they are restricted, are political lines that continue throughout the war into the subsequent peace . . . War cannot be divorced from political life; and whenever this occurs in our thinking about war, the many links that connect the two elements are destroyed and we are left with something pointless and devoid of sense. (p. 605)

This formulation has taken us a long way from the simple concept of ‘the two types of war’. Given that considerations of policy are paramount, and knowing that the requirements of policy may be almost infinitely various, war can surely be of any kind, not only of two. It might be, as Clausewitz put it, a ‘terrible two-handed battlesword’ capable of settling matters at a single stroke, or it might be ‘a harmless foil fit only for thrusts and feints and parries’ (p. 606). But it might also be anything in between.

The implications of this possibility of gradation, as opposed to the sharp distinction between two categories, Clausewitz did not live to explore. He never really considered the territory that lay between his two ‘models’. But he did make the point, one vividly present to the mind of any survivor of the Jena campaign, that it took two to fight a limited war. If your opponent was prepared to exert himself to the utmost to achieve his objective, you had no choice but to do the same. The logical escalation to ‘absolute war’ had then to be accepted. For that reason, he insisted, the strategist must always have the ideal of absolute war clearly in mind. You had to approximate to the ideal form ‘when you can and when you must’ (p. 581).

According to this formulation, then, the nature of war was determined not so much by cultural circumstances as by the reasoned decisions of the political leaders who called the war into being. But Clausewitz advanced yet a third explanation for the limited nature of most wars, this one intrinsic to the conduct of war itself.

Clausewitz was obviously fascinated by a paradox in the conduct of war to which he reverted again and again – something he termed ‘the suspension of the action’. In principle one might expect to find that war was a matter of continuous, violent, and mutually murderous activity. In practice armies, even at the height of a campaign, often spent most of their time sitting around doing nothing. It was one of those insights into the realities of military life that place Clausewitz in a class of his own as a military analyst, for it really is this tedious inactivity, quite as much as the element of ‘friction’, that distinguishes the reality of war from the neat models of the strategic theorist. War, as it has been well said, consists of nine parts boredom to one of fear.

Clausewitz’s explanation of this phenomenon was initially linked to his analysis of the interaction between attack and defence. It was seldom, he pointed out, that both sides simultaneously had a strong incentive to take the initiative. (One of the few occasions when this did happen was at the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, when all the major belligerents launched offensive operations.) However offensive the intentions of both belligerents might be, it was unlikely that both would choose the same moment to attack. One side might want to wait until it had built up its strength, and so remained for the time being on the defensive. That defensive posture, in its turn, might appear so formidable as to deter its opponent from attacking, so that he also decided to wait for a better moment. As a result nothing very much might happen for quite a long time.

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 21:47:57 |显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 井冈山卫士 于 2022-4-26 21:51 编辑

Human nature being what it is, went on Clausewitz, this was the case more often than not. Information about the enemy was uncertain, and one was always more likely to overestimate than to underestimate the opponent’s strength. ‘The fear and indecision native to the human mind’ thus weighed everyone down, constituting a kind of ‘moral force of gravity . . . In the fiery climate of war, ordinary natures tend to move more ponderously: stronger and more frequent stimuli are therefore needed to ensure that momentum is maintained’ (p. 217). However extreme and ‘absolute’ the political object of the war might be, it could not in itself overcome this ‘ponderousness’. ‘Unless an enterprising martial spirit is in command,’ maintained Clausewitz, ‘a man who is as much at home in war as a fish is in water . . . inactivity will be the rule, and progress the exception.’

If there was no such ‘martial spirit’ to provide an impetus, no popular pressures involved and no great goals in view, a campaign was likely to make slower and slower progress. War became ‘something half- hearted’ (p. 218) as it had been in the eighteenth century, and came to resemble nothing so much as a Spiel, a game of chance. We have seen how the element of hazard and luck gave something of this quality to all wars, but without political or popular motivation and in the absence of a bold commander war resembled not so much a play for high stakes as ‘haggling over small change’. It was when this happened, said Clausewitz, that the minor skills of the generals of the rococo period, their feints and manœuvres and ambushes, acquired an exaggerated importance and were wrongly – and disastrously – believed to constitute the entire art of war.

According to this explanation. then, even if the nature of war in the abstract was something absolute, the nature of the men who fought the wars constrained it and made it fall short of its Vollkommenheit, its ‘perfection’. Perhaps war should be limited, or at least determined, by its political objective; but certainly it would be limited, or at least constrained, by human weakness, by the intrinsic element of ‘friction’. In order to achieve the objectives of even a limited war it would be necessary to make efforts above the ordinary – to take the model of ‘absolute war’ as one’s target. So although the fighting of an ‘absolute war’ was only one, and perhaps the least common, of the possible demands that statesmen were likely to make on the military, the military commander had to keep it in sight as an ideal if he was to fight even limited wars of policy effectively; ‘to approximate to it when he can and when he must’ (p. 58). With that it might be thought there went the corollary, as Bismarck was to discover a generation later, that the statesman needed to keep a sharp eye on the soldier if the latter was not to overshoot the mark and turn a limited war into an absolute one. But this was an aspect of the matter that Clausewitz failed to consider.

I have made the point that the full importance of this distinction between the two types of war dawned on Clausewitz not when he was writing one of his more analytic chapters, but in the middle of the very long section, full of detailed topographical and tactical information, that he devoted to defence. It is a book that editors of potted versions of Clausewitz often and understandably prefer to omit, but in doing so they deprive their readers of much of the essence of Clausewitz’s thought. In particular the prescriptive elements in his work, the specific proposals for the conduct of a campaign which he lays down in his final book ‘On War Plans’, can be understood only in the light of the principles he worked out in meditating about the defence – something he did so comprehensively that it left him with very little to add in the subsequent section, on ‘The Attack’.

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 21:48:18 |显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 井冈山卫士 于 2022-4-26 21:48 编辑

Clausewitz began by making two points about the defence. First, although its object was negative, it was a stronger form of war than the attack. It was easier to hold ground than to take it, to preserve than to acquire. A weaker force, unless it was desperate, did not attack a stronger one; it stayed on the defensive and made up for its weakness by maximizing the advantages of a defensive position. Beati sunt possidentes, said Clausewitz: blessed are those in possession, in war as in law.

But defence could not be purely passive. Clausewitz’s second point was that defence essentially consisted of two phases: waiting for a blow and parrying it (Abwehr). This latter action, this counterblow against the attacker, was intrinsic to the whole concept of defence. An army took up defensive positions in order to fight from them. It selected them in order to maximize its fighting effectiveness, not least that of its fire power. A defence was a shield, said Clausewitz, but an active shield, one ‘made up of well-directed blows’ (p. 357). You did not just sit behind your defences and let the attack overwhelm you: you fired back. It was usually the defender, indeed, who fired the first shot in any war. As Clausewitz put it, in a passage which gained the sardonic approval of Lenin:

The aggressor is always peace-loving (as Bonaparte always claimed to be); he would prefer to take over our country unopposed. To prevent his doing so one must be willing to make war and be prepared for it. In other words it is the weak, those most likely to need defence, who should always be armed in order not to be overwhelmed. (p. 370)

A defensive strategy consisted in finding the right balance between these two elements, waiting and parrying; of choosing the right time and place to unleash that ‘flashing sword of vengeance’ which Clausewitz described as ‘the greatest moment for the defender’. There was a whole range of possibilities open, from an immediate counter- attack the moment the enemy crossed the frontier – minimum waiting, immediate riposte – to a long withdrawal into the interior of the country such as the Russians had carried out in 1812 and were to do again in 1941 and 1942, delaying until the last possible moment before launching their counter-attack. All depended, said Clausewitz, whether one wanted primarily to destroy the enemy by one’s own forces, or by ‘his own exertions’ (p. 384).

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 21:48:50 |显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 井冈山卫士 于 2022-4-26 21:51 编辑

In this latter strategy of delayed riposte Clausewitz assumed that the advantages lay with the defender, who was falling back along his own supply lines amid a friendly population, rather than with his assailant, whose supply problems grew greater, his forces weaker, and the environment more hostile the further he advanced. Eventually the balance of advantage would tip, when the attacker had touched his lowest point of weakness and the defender had amassed his optimum strength. This moment Clausewitz described as the ‘culminating point’ when the flashing sword of vengeance should be drawn and the counter-attack unleashed. The skill of the strategist lay in discerning when the right moment had come.
It can be argued that in making this analysis Clausewitz allowed himself to be unduly influenced by the campaign of 1812. There had after all been several campaigns in his own lifetime, not least those of 1805 and 1806, when the advancing army had not been enervated by its progress but had drawn moral encouragement from it, when the retreating forces had been increasingly demoralized as they abandoned more and more of their territory to the enemy, and when the assailant had been able to solve his supply problems at his adversary’s expense. There are also few countries in Europe whose defenders have the opportunity to withdraw very far into the interior without abandoning terrain or resources vital to the fighting of the war. But where the opportunity does exist it can certainly be used very effectively, as successive invaders of Russia have discovered to their cost. And even in the restricted theatre of Northern France in 1914 Joffre was able to let the German armies largely defeat themselves ‘by their own exertions’ before unleashing his ‘flashing sword of vengeance’ on the Marne.

In any case Clausewitz described how prolongation of the defence by a carefully planned and hard-fought withdrawal might make available an increasing range of resources. In the first place, given the existing political system in Europe and the general preference among its rulers for the maintenance of the balance of power, neutral states were likely to redress the balance by coming to the help of the victim of aggression: again, an optimistic assessment, not entirely borne out by the historical record. In the second place, there were the resources afforded by the environment, the natural ones of terrain and the artificial ones created by military engineers, all of which he analysed with great expertise. And finally there was the support of the people themselves – the factor left out of account by all strategists before Clausewitz and most of them since.

Clausewitz had written elsewhere in On War about the relationship of regular armies to popular forces, and the strengths and weaknesses of the latter. It was a matter about which his experience and activities, especially during the winter of 1812–13 when he was organizing popular resistance in East Prussia, uniquely qualified him to speak. In the section on defence Clausewitz included a chapter dealing specifically with guerrilla warfare, ‘The People in Arms’. It was a topic about which, he admitted, there was very little information: ‘this sort of warfare is not as yet very common [and] those who have been able to observe it for any length of time have not reported enough about it’ (p. 483). It was also a controversial issue, both among military men who claimed that it was a waste of resources and more generally among those who saw in popular insurrection ‘a state of legalised anarchy that is as much a threat to the social order at home as it is to the enemy’ (p. 479). To the former, Clausewitz pointed out that the resources used in guerrilla warfare would probably not be available for any other purpose. As for the latter, he reminded them that popular insurrections had to be seen as part of the general erosion of conventional barriers, ‘a broadening and intensification of the fermentation process known as war’ which was so characteristic of the times. Like other novel forms of warfare, ‘any nation that uses it intelligently will, as a rule, gain some superiority over those who disdain its use’. ‘If this is so, the question only remains whether mankind at large will gain by this further expansion of the element of war; a question to which the answer should be the same as to the question of war itself. We shall leave both to the philosophers’ (p. 479).

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 21:49:01 |显示全部楼层
本帖最后由 井冈山卫士 于 2022-4-26 21:52 编辑

The questions that Clausewitz here raised have been hotly debated down to our own day. But Clausewitz, unlike some later theorists, never considered guerrilla war in isolation. For him it was one more resource in the spectrum of defence capabilities, and it could be realistically considered only ‘within the framework of a war conducted by the regular army, and coordinated in one all-encompassing plan’ (p. 480). Such a plan could provide for popular insurrection either as an auxiliary activity before a decisive battle or as a last resort after a defeat. In either case, argued Clausewitz, one should never flinch from making use of it.

A government must never assume that its country’s fate, its whole existence, depends on a single battle, no matter how decisive . . . No matter how small and weak a state may be in comparison with its enemy, it must not forego these last efforts, or one would conclude that its soul is dead. They are even more desirable when help can be expected from other states that have an interest in our survival. A government that after having lost a major battle is only interested in letting its people go back to sleep as soon as possible, and, overwhelmed by feelings of failure and disappointment, lacks the courage and desire to put forth a final effort is, because of its weakness, involved in a major inconsistency in any case. It shows that it did not deserve to win, and possibly for that very reason was unable to. (p. 483)

This passage, which epitomizes much of his political writings, helps explain why Clausewitz was so unpopular with the cautious and conservative advisers of Frederick William III.

But what if the enemy was not concerned to overthrow your State but had, on the contrary, the kind of limited objectives so common in the eighteenth century – the occupation of some frontier provinces, either to annexe them or to use them as hostages in peace negotiations? What if his attack was a secondary operation ancillary to a more decisive thrust elsewhere? What if he attacked only half-heartedly at the behest of a major ally from whom, with skilful management, he might be detached? This would involve a very different kind of defensive strategy. A withdrawal into the interior, the stripping of frontier defences so as to concentrate forces for a major and decisive battle, then became a quite inappropriate plan. The correct strategy would then be to hold on to as much territory as possible for as long as possible. It was therefore essential that, in making his dispositions, the strategist should know what kind of a war he was going to have to fight. Was it a ‘greater or lesser approximation to a war of observation’, or was it, on the contrary, one ‘completely governed and saturated by the urge for a decision’ (p. 488)? This overall political consideration would from the very outset determine his military plans.

It was at this point, in chapter 28 of Book VI of On War, that Clausewitz began to treat the two types of war as presenting quite distinct problems to the commander; something he had not yet done anywhere in the work, and which he was not now to have the time adequately to do. In the final book (VIII) ‘On War Plans’ the two kinds of war were to be carefully distinguished and the appropriate strategic principles for each prescribed in some detail. The first part of that book was taken up with that mature discussion about the primacy of the political object that we have already described and for which Clausewitz is probably most widely known. It was only when his mind was clear on this fundamental point that Clausewitz began the redraft of the entire work that he never lived to complete.

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 22:20:48 |显示全部楼层
摘录一段,这是克劳塞维茨的原文
"We deliberately use the phrase ‘with the addition of other means’ because we also want to make it clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different . . . The main lines along which military events progress, and to which they are restricted, are political lines that continue throughout the war into the subsequent peace . . ."
解放战争时期的“以天津模式促成北平模式”,俄军在叙利亚的“和解式进攻”,以及俄军在乌克兰的边打边谈都是典范。

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 22:23:24 |显示全部楼层
再摘录一段,这是霍华德的论述:
“ In principle one might expect to find that war was a matter of continuous, violent, and mutually murderous activity. In practice armies, even at the height of a campaign, often spent most of their time sitting around doing nothing. It was one of those insights into the realities of military life that place Clausewitz in a class of his own as a military analyst, for it really is this tedious inactivity, quite as much as the element of ‘friction’, that distinguishes the reality of war from the neat models of the strategic theorist.”
真实世界的战争有张有弛,可不是像《使命召唤》和好莱坞蛊惑宣传的电影一样一路突突到底。

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 22:31:06 |显示全部楼层
就我个人的阅读和思考,克劳塞维茨的军事思想有两个盲点。

第一,克劳塞维茨严重缺乏“不战而屈人之兵”的思想。其“政治目标”的实现,完全依赖在主力决战中歼灭敌军有生力量。
第二,克劳塞维茨过分高估了有限战争向无限战争转化的可能性,他始终有一个“所有人都输不起”的隐含假设。这与米尔斯海默的进攻性现实主义国际关系理论有相似之处。

使用道具 举报

Rank: 8Rank: 8

发表于 2022-4-26 22:37:36 |显示全部楼层
克劳塞维茨的两个盲点或曰局限性是和当时民族主义与全民动员兴起相关的。法国大革命第一次将民族军队变成现实,军队开始变得相当便宜,因此,只要能够消灭敌人的主力,就算己方遭遇严重损失也无所谓,反正兵员几乎是无限的。因此他强调主力决战。

同时,如果当时的某个君主国在战争中被击败,那么如果在战场上翻盘,大概率其领土会被敌人扶持协作政府统辖,原君主几乎没有复国的可能(想想被拿破仑占领的西班牙,北意大利和莱茵河诸国)。因此,各国君主都有较强的意志打到底,这也造成了有限战争升级为无限战争的巨大可能。而且,军事组织的变化也造成了欧洲政治格局的突变,一旦盟友失败,有可能引发骨牌效应殃及自身,这也增加了战争双方盟友参战,战争升级的可能。

使用道具 举报

您需要登录后才可以回帖 登录 | 立即注册

Archiver|红色中国网

GMT+8, 2022-6-27 15:47 , Processed in 0.032622 second(s), 10 queries .

E_mail: redchinacn@gmail.com

2010-2011http://redchinacn.net

回顶部