Clausewitz and Civilians
Swansea University, 2014
Despite the enduring interest in the written work of Carl von Clausewitz (1780-1831) there appears to be shortage of studies focusing specifically on what he had to say about the matter of civilians or non-combatants in war. After extensive consultation with primary and secondary sources this dissertation will argue that Clausewitz wrote a lot more on this subject than is commonly acknowledged. He was aware that civilian suffering was not simply an accidental by-product of war but also the result of deliberate strategic intent to compel an enemy to do one’s will. Clausewitz did not endorse such methods because he had a moral and theoretical preference for decisive battles between conventional armed forces. He tended to dismiss violence against civilian persons and property as morally wrong, militarily ineffective and politically counter-productive.