Clausewitz and the Marxists

Clausewitz and the Communists

Compiled by Christopher Bassford

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See also:
Clausewitz in China
Our intro page supporting the 1934 Russian translation of Vom Kriege

All of our various language-  and subject-specific bibliographies
T.Derbent's website [recently restored (2023)]

and, of course, (Search it here.)

Ancona, Clemente. "Der Einfluss von Clausewitz' Vom Kriege auf das marxistische Denken von Marx bis Lenin." Günther Dill, ed. Clausewitz in Perspektive. Materialien zu Carl von Clausewitz "Von Kriege," hg. v. Günter Dill. Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Wien 1980.


Bi, Jianxiang, "The Impact of Clausewitz on Mao: War and Politics," MA Thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Spring 1989. 173pp.


Bi, Jianxiang. "On Strategies of East Asian Limited Wars: States, Militaries, Technologies." Doctoral dissertation, Carleton University [Canada], 1996.


Carl von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege (in Russian). Карл фон Клаузевиц О ВОЙНЕ. This is the 1934 Russian translation of Vom Kriege made by A. K. Rachinsky, edited by A. A. Svechin [executed 1938] (Moscow: Gosvoyenizdat Publishing House, 1934). This version was put out by publisher Eksmo, Midgard, in 2007. A better but technically somewhat complicated version of the 1934 Russian translation can be found at Militera.Lib.Ru.


Collectif. Le marxisme et la question militaire. Paris: Le Fil du Temps no.10, EDI, 1974.


Braun, Otto. "Vorwort." W.I. Lenin, Clausewitz' Werk »Vom Kriege«: Auszüge und Randglossen, Mit Vorwort und Anmerkungen von Otto Braun. Berlin: Verlag des Ministeriums für Nationale Verteidigung, 1957.


Cormier, Youri [PhD Candidate, War Studies, King's College London]. "Fighting Doctrines and Revolutionary Ethics." Journal of Military and Strategic Studies, Vol. 15, Issue 1, 2013. [Abstract: "The expression 'Clausewitz connection' has become the standard go-to term for showcasing how keen many Marxists were in citing and applying ideas from On War to their revolution. That being said, the 'connection' has often been exaggerated. Azar Gat made this case effectively by digging up the original exchanges between Marx and Engels and showing they were by no means devout Clausewitzians, even though they read and commented on at least sections of his book, Vom Kriege. The error among scholars has been to expect a connection based on methodological affinities alone. A closer scrutiny reveals that while their methodology had similarities, it was not the methodology that mattered. In fact, the way the revolutionaries cited Clausewitz was strategic, but shallow and far removed from method. Instead, what becomes clear is that the ethical dimension of Clausewitz best explains where and how the revolutionaries linked up with his system, and more importantly where they broke away. To arrive at this conclusion, one must consider the surprising fact that while the Communists were indeed citing Clausewitz, albeit not as much as has been claimed, their Anarchists co-revolutionaries in the anti-bourgeois movement were not citing him at all. Their fighting doctrines were instead tied up closely with Hegel. This exclusive relationship tells us something about how the two groups understood the ethics of political violence—as 'instrumental' in the Clausewitzian tradition, or as a 'right' in the Hegelian tradition—and how this complicated the integration of Clausewitz into communist doctrine and made him altogether irrelevant to anarchist doctrine. "]


Davis, Donald E., and Walter S.G. Kohn. "Lenin as Disciple of Clausewitz." Military Review, September 1971, 49-55. [See also Lenin, V.I. "Lenin's Notebook on Clausewitz." Ed./trans. Donald E. Davis and Walter S.G. Kohn. In David R. Jones, ed., Soviet Armed Forces Review Annual, vol.1. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press, 1977, pp.188-229.]


Derbent, T. [Thierry or Theodore, pseud.] Clausewitz et la guerre populaire, Aden, 2004, Bruxelles, 190 p. (Suivi de deux textes inédits Notes sur Clausewitz de Lénine et Conférences sur la petite guerre de Clausewitz). ISBN 2930402024.

Débat: "Clausewitz ou Mao Zedong?" [see]
It appears "Les Materialistes" has subsumed the old "Contre-Informations." There are a great many additional references to material concerning Mao listed on this page.

See also:

"Clausewitz ou Mao Zedong?"
Par le Parti Communiste Marxiste-Léniniste-Maoïste (France), publié dans "Révolution" n°4 (décembre 2008), l'organe du PCMLM.
Cet article est une critique de Derbent's Clausewitz et la guerre populaire.

éléments de réponse au journal "Révolution"
Par T. Derbent (janvier 2009), mise en lien sur "Contre-information", le site du PCMLM.

"Le rôle de la France napoléonienne dans la genèse du nazisme (pour en finir avec Clausewitz)"
Par le PCMLM, publié dans "Révolution" n°10", (avril 2009).

Toujours en réponse au journal "Révolution"... (pour en finir avec la transformation de Clausewitz en bouc émissaire anti-révisionniste)
Par T. Derbent (juin 2009).

*** See also T. Derbent's own website. This site disappeared from the web sometime during the Covid pandemic. We have taken the liberty of reposting it to the, server—with, unfortunately, many broken links (which we are working to fix). See also his Clausewitz bibliography. The original website,, was recently restored (as of late October 2023).


Derbent, T. Giap et Clausewitz (Suivi de Contribution à l'histoire de Dien Bien Phu et de Préface au livre du général Giap: guerre du peuple, armée du peuple). Aden, 2006, Bruxelles, 125 p. ISBN 2930402253. [More info from T. Derbent]

See also:

Derbent, "Allocution de Hanoi": "Allocution prononcée lors de la conférence de travail à la Bibliothèque de l’Armée populaire, à Hanoï, sur l’influence de Clausewitz sur la pensée militaire vietnamienne, à l’initiative du général Hong Cu."

Derbent, "Clausewitz et Giap [Un complément inédit à Clausewitz et la guerre populaire] Une introduction dispensable."

Derbent, "Vo Nguyen Giap." (Also in German.)

Derbent, "Bibliographie critique de l’ouvrage."

Derbent, "Bibliographie du général Giap."

Derbent, T. Clausewitz et les structures militaires du KPD (1920-1945), chapitre complémentaire à Clausewitz et la guerre populaire ayant fait l'objet d'un tiré à part aux éditions Aden, Bruxelles, septembre 2006. Avec un schéma: Les structures militaires du KPD (1920-33 et en annexe: A. Bubnow: Lénine sur Clausewitz (publié dans la revue Oktober n°4, 1931). [More info from T. Derbent]


Derbent, T. "Clausewitz, Mao et le maoïsme." Complément à Clausewitz et la guerre populaire paru dans la revue Clarté rouge n°4, Bruxelles, mai 2013, pp. 13-29. [More info from T. Derbent] Spanish translation.


See also: English translation, Derbent, T. "Clausewitz, Mao, and Maoism," trans. Christopher Bassford,, May 2020. DRAFT.


Derbent, "Clausewitz dans l'héritage maoïste." [Un complément inédit de Clausewitz et la guerre populaire.]


Derbent, T. Franz Mehring et Clausewitz. Complément à Clausewitz et la guerre populaire publié sous forme de plaquette bilingue (français-allemand) publiée à l'occasion de la Foire du Livre de Francfort 2013. Zambon Verlag, Francfort sur le Main, 2013. [More info from T. Derbent]


Derbent, T. De Foucault aux Brigades Rouges: Misère du retournement de la formule de Clausewitz [From Foucault to the Red Brigades: Misery from the reversal of Clausewitz's formula]. Aden, 2016, Bruxelles, 215 p. (Suivi du texte de Renato Curcio Contre Clausewitz et de deux chapitres de Politico e Rivoluzione des prisonniers des Brigades rouges). ISBN: 280592083X [See more info from T. Derbent]. En Anglais: "'War is nothing but the continuation of policy with other means.' Rarely has a phrase been so successful, and never has it been so tempting to turn it around. Relying on Carl Schmitt and this turnaround, a whole current in the Red Brigades embarked on a 'total social warfare' finding an echo among The Invisible Committee and The Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei. Foucault sought the roots of power in it, whereas Deleuze and Guattari sought the ultimate sign of the 'machine of war' and Negri the truth of the Empire. T. Derbent expounds here, without sparing us any details, the adventures of this turnaround, which was wrongfully attributed to Lenin, but can already be found in the work of Proudhon."


Gallie, W. B. Philosophers of Peace and War: Kant, Clausewitz, Marx, Engels and Tolstoy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978.


Gat, Azar. "Marxism, Clausewitz, and Military Theory 1848 to the Nuclear Age." In Gat, The Development of Military Thought: The Nineteenth Century. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1992, pp.226-246.


Gat, Azar. "Clausewitz and the Marxists: Yet Another Look." Journal of Contemporary History, v.27 (1992), 363-382. Preview


Gibbs, Norman. "War," "Part A: The Western Theory of War." Ed. C.D. Kernig. Marxism, Communism and Western Society: A Comparative Encyclopedia. New York: Herder and Herder, 1972-1973.


Glucksmann, André, "Politics and War in the Thoughts of Mao Tse-tung," New Left Review 1/49 (May/June 1968).


Haffner, Sebastian. "Mao und Clausewitz," in Chapter VII, "Volkskrieg," in Günter Dill, ed., Clausewitz in Perspektive: Materialien zu Carl von Clausewitz: Vom Kriege. Frankfurt/M. Berlin/Wien: Ullstein, 1980, S. 652–663. Aus: Mao Tse-tung, Theorie des Guerillakrieges oder Strategie der Drinen Welt. Einleitender Essay von S. Haffner, Reinbek 1966 (= rororo aktuell Bd. 886), S. 14-22.


Hagena, Hermann. "'Offensive' Verteidigungsstrategie im Lichte von Lenin und Clausewitz." Rissener Rundbrief, Mai 1988, 177-183.


Hahlweg, W[erner]. "Lenin und Clausewitz. Ein Beitrag zur politischen Ideen-geschichte des 20. Jahrhunderts." Archiv für Kulturgeschichte, XXXVI. Bd. (1954), Heft 1, 3.: S. 357- 87.


Hahlweg, Werner. "Clausewitz, Lenin and Communist Military Attitudes Today." Journal of the United Service Institutes, v.CV, no.618 (May 1960), 221-225.


Lehrmeister des kleinen Krieges, von Clausewitz bis Mao Tse-tung und (Che) Guevara. Darmstadt, Wehr und Wissen Verlagsgesellschaft [1968]. Description: 275pp. LC call# U240 .H23.


Hampel, Frank R. Zwischen Guerilla Und Proletarischer Selbstverteidigung: Clausewitz, Lenin, Mao Zedong, Che Guevara, Koerner. Frankfurt am Main ; New York : P. Lang, c1989. ISBN 3631416938.


Holeindre, Jean-Vincent. "Violence, guerre et politique: Étude sur le retournement de la 'Formule' de Clausewitz." Res Militaris, an online social science journal, vol.1, n°3, Summer/Été 2011. [From the Abstract: This article presents an analysis of the thought of such authors as Lenin, Ludendorff, Schmitt, Foucault, and Girard, who all reversed Clausewitz's famous "Formula" in Vom Kriege: "War is the continuation of politics by other means." • Cet article se propose d'étudier la pensée des auteurs qui, de Lénine à René Girard en passant par Ludendorff, Carl Schmitt et Michel Foucault, ont retourné la célèbre 'Formule' de Clausewitz, tirée de son traité Vom Kriege: "la guerre est la continuation de la politique par d'autres moyens."]


Holmes, James R. [co-author of Red Star over the Pacific, an Atlantic Monthly Best Foreign Affairs Book (2010); former US Navy surface warfare officer]. "Clausewitz, Sun Tzu, or Mao Zedong? Who do you consider the best military strategist?" The Diplomat, November 26, 2012.


Huntzinger, J., Introduction aux relations internationales, point, 1987, 358pp. (Discusses Clausewitz in the context of international relations theories alongside Machiavelli, Vattel, Marx, etc.).


Juvan, Jelena and Prof. Dr. Vladimir Prebilic. "Clausewitz in a Post-Communist State: A Case Study of Slovenia," pp.264-287 in Clausewitz Society [Clausewitz Gesellschaft, Hamburg], Reiner Pommerin, ed. Clausewitz Goes Global: Carl von Clausewitz in the 21st Century. (Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Clausewitz Society.) Berlin: Carola Hartmann Miles Verlag, 2011.


Kipp, Jacob W. "Lenin and Clausewitz: The Militarization of Marxism, 1914-1921." Military Affairs, October 1985, 184-191.


Kober, Paul M., translator. “Clausewitz and the Communist Party Line: A Pronouncement by Stalin.” Contains introduction and translation by Paul M. Kober; letter to Stalin by Professor Colonel E. Razin [Red Army], January 30, 1946; reply to Razin by J. Stalin, February 23, 1946. Military Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1949), pp. 75-78.


Kolkowicz, Roman. "On Limited War: Soviet Approaches." Robert O'Neill and D.M. Horner, eds. New Directions in Strategic Thinking. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1981.


Kondylis, Panajotis. Theorie des Krieges: Clausewitz, Marx, Engels, Lenin. Stuttgart 1988.


Lenin, V.I. "War and Revolution" [a lecture delivered 14 (27) MAY 1917). First published according to the shorthand report April 23, 1929 in Pravda No. 93. From Lenin Collected Works. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1964, Moscow, Volume 24, pages 398-421. "We all know the dictum of Clausewitz, one of the most famous writers on the philosophy and history of war, which says: "War is a continuation of policy by other means."[4] This dictum comes from a writer[See Clausewitz, On War, Vol. 1] who reviewed the history of wars and drew philosophic lessons from it shortly after the period of the Napoleonic wars. This writer['s...] basic views are now undoubtedly familiar to every thinking person...." Posted on-line by


Lenin, W.I.: Clausewitz' Werk "Vom Kriege." Auszüge und Randglossen. Mit Vorwort und Anmerkungen von 0tto Braun: (Ost) Berlin: Verlag des Ministeriums für Nationale Verteidigung, 1957.


Lenin, V.I. "Lenin's Notebook on Clausewitz." Ed./trans. Donald E. Davis and Walter S.G. Kohn. In David R. Jones, ed., Soviet Armed Forces Review Annual, vol.1. Gulf Breeze, FL: Academic International Press, 1977, pp.188-229. The text has been posted to The Clausewitz Homepage with the kind permission of Academic International Press. This is a translation of V.I. Lenin, "Notebook of Excerpts and Remarks on Carl von Clausewitz, On War and the Conduct of War, in V.V. Adoratskii, V.M. Molotov, and M.A Savel'ev, eds., Leninskii sbornik (Lenin Miscellany), (2nd ed., Moscow-Leningrad, 1931), XII, 389-452. Includes preface by A.S. Bubnov, explanatory notes by A. Toporkov, and considerable bibliographical information.


MAO ZEDONG: On Mao's direct and intimate familiarity with Clausewitz's work, see especially T. Derbent, "Clausewitz, Mao et le maoïsme," whose assessment (writing in French and based to a large extent on Zhang Yuanlin's research in German)—was much more conclusive than his earlier thinking in Derbent, Clausewitz et la Guerre Populaire (Bruxelles: Aden, 2004).
   Much of Mao's published work is on-line in English on See also T. Derbent's very useful website. [The original has disappeared. This is a reposting by]


Mao Zedong. Selected Military Writings. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1977.


Mao Zedong. On Protracted War, in Military Writings of Mao Tse-tung, Editions in foreign languages, Beijing, 1964, page 259. On Mao's direct and intimate familiarity with Clausewitz's work, see T. Derbent, On-line in English on


Mao Zedong. "Problems of Strategy in China's Revolutionary War," in Military Writings of Mao Tse-tung, Editions in foreign languages, Beijing, 1964.


Münkler, Herfried. '”Krieg und Frieden bei Clausewitz, Engels und Carl Schmitt. Dialektik des Militarismus oder Hegung des Krieges.” In Leviathan, 10. Jg., 1982, Heft 1, S. 16-40; in leicht veränderter Form In Herfried Münkler, Gewalt und Ordnung, S. 54-79.


Office of the Director of Intelligence, USAF. "Outlines of the Principles of Warfare from Clausewitz to the Present Time." ["An unclassified study, in outline form, dealing with the development of modern theories of warfare as propounded by Clausewitz, Ludendorff, Engels and Marx, Trotsky, Lenin and Stalin.] Paper, Maxwell AFB, AL: Air University, 1949.


Razin, Professor Colonel E. [Red Army] “Clausewitz and the Communist Party Line: A Pronouncement by Stalin.” Contains introduction and translation by Paul M. Kober; letter to Stalin by Professor Colonel E. Razin [Red Army], January 30, 1946; reply to Razin by J. Stalin, February 23, 1946. Military Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1949), pp. 75-78.


Renard, Thomas and Stéphane Taillat. "Between Clausewitz and Mao: Dynamic Evolutions of the Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in Iraq (2003-2008)." Small Wars Journal, October 14, 2008.


Rylander, R. Lynn. "Mao as a Clausewitzian Strategist." Military Review, v.61 (1981), no.8, 13-21.


Schmelzer, Paul. "Clausewitz and Mao." Master's thesis, Colorado State University, 1989. [Schmelzer also obtained a Ph.D. in 2010 from Texas Christian University for his dissertation, ""A Strong Mind: A Clausewitzian Biography of U.S. Grant."]


Schössler, Dietmar. Das Erkenntnis- und Praxisinteresse an der Methode von Friedrich Engels. (1. Werkstattgespräch). Die 'Reichweite' der Clausewitzschen Kategorien bei der Analyse des modernen bewaffneten Konflikts (2. Werkstattgespräch). In: Clausewitz- und Engels-Forschung im Blick auf eine europäische Strategie- und Militärwissenschaft für die neunziger Jahre. (Werkstattgespräche). Dresdener Studiengemeinschaft Sicherheitspolitik (DSS) e. V (Hrsg.): DSS-Arbeitspapiere, Dresden 1990, Heft 4.


Schössler, Dietmar. Clausewitz – Engels – Mahan. Grundriss einer Ideengeschichte militärischen Denkens (= Politik, Band 27). Lit, Berlin u. a. 2009, ISBN 978-3-8258-0220-2.


Stalin, J. “Clausewitz and the Communist Party Line: A Pronouncement by Stalin.” Contains introduction and translation by Paul M. Kober; letter to Stalin by Professor Colonel E. Razin [Red Army], January 30, 1946; reply to Razin by J. Stalin, February 23, 1946. Military Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Summer, 1949), pp. 75-78.


Staudenmaier, W.O. "Vietnam, Mao and Clausewitz." Parameters, v.VII, no.1 (1977), 79-89.


Vad, Erich. "Lenin über Clausewitz' Werk `Vom Kriege'" in: Europäische Wehrkunde 32 (1983), S.176-179.


Winczewski, Damian. "Engels Military Thought: A Few Critical Remarks." Research paper.


Zhang, Yuanlin. "Die chinesischen Ausgaben des Werkes `Vom Kriege' von Carl von Clausewitz," in: Österreichische Militärische Zeitschrift 28 (1990), S.229-230


Zhang Yuan-lin. "Mao Zedong und Carl von Clausewitz: Theorien des Krieges, Beziehung, Darstellung und Vergleich." Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Mannheim, 1995. Table of Contents (.pdf).


Zhang Yuanlin. "Mao Zedongs Bezugnahme auf Clausewitz." Archiv für Kulturgeschichte Volume 81: Issue 2, published online 1 Dec 1999.



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