Type: Working Paper
Understanding ‘Chance and Uncertainty’ in Clausewitz’s On War: Reflections on the Balkan Wars (1991-1995)
Working Paper, EUI MWP, 2010/18
FLEMING, Colin M., Understanding ‘Chance and Uncertainty’ in Clausewitz’s On War: Reflections on the Balkan Wars (1991-1995), EUI MWP, 2010/18 - http://hdl.handle.net/1814/14279
Retrieved from Cadmus, EUI Research Repository
In the opening chapter of Carl Von Clausewitz’s On War (1831), he explains to readers that ‘only one more element is needed to make war a gamble 'chance'. No other human activity is so continuously or universally bound up with chance.’ He continues: ‘And through the element chance, guesswork and luck come to play a great part in war’. Yet, how should the reader of On War interpret Clausewitz’s inclusion of chance into his general theory? Why is war so ‘universally’ bound to the pervasive tendencies of chance? In fact, what does Clausewitz actually mean by ‘chance’? Why is it important at all? To answer these questions, this paper explores Clausewitz’s comprehension of chance within his wider ideas regarding the nature of war. Locating the manifestation of chance as a natural part of war fueled by its own reciprocity the article grounds Clausewitz’s idea to the experience of real conflict - the wars of former Yugoslavia 1991-1995.
Cadmus permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/14279
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2010/18