Carl von Clausewitz
NOTE: This version of Carl von Clausewitz's famous treatise On War is a complete version (i.e., it contains all eight books—most on-line versions have only the first four) posting of Colonel J.J. Graham's translation published by Nicholas Trübner in London in 1873. It is derived from the German original, Clausewitz's Vom Kriege (Berlin: Dümmlers Verlag, 3 vols., 1832–34). The 1976/84 Howard/Paret translation from Princeton University Press is the standard English translation today; for the most accurate text one should always consult the Otto Jolles translation, originally done in 1943 at the University of Chicago. For more information on the original German text and on all of the available English translations, click HERE. Please take a look at the relevant books shown below. For a general discussion of the various versions of Vom Kriege/On War available, see ClausewitzStudies.org, "Which Translation of Clausewitz's On War do you have?" For an advanced and rather complex discussion of some important problems with all of the English translations (including Graham's, H/P's (especially), and Jolles'), see Christopher Bassford, "Clausewitz's Categories of War and the Supersession of 'Absolute War.'"
In his 1-volume edition of On War, Graham also translated the two appendices to Vom Kriege:
Die wichtigsten Grundsätze des Kriegführens zur Ergänzung meines Unterrichts bei Sr. Königlichen Hoheit dem Kronprinzen ("The most important principles of warfare to complement my lessons for His Royal Highness the Crown Prince," usually called "Principles of War" in English) and "Skizze eines Plans zur Taktik oder Gefechtslehre," "Sketch of a plan for tactics or combat theory, variously called, in English, "Sketch of a Plan For Tactics," "Guide to Tactics," or "Theory of the Combat."
Another on-line version of Graham's "Principle" can be found at "The On-Line Library of Liberty." This is a scan taken from a 1918 edition on On War, edited (with some very misleading—or at least seriously anachronistic—editorial additions) by COL Frederick Natusch Maude.
Graham's version of Sketch of a Plan For Tactics can also be found in the "The On-Line Library of Liberty" posting of On War. However, a new and far superior translation can be found on-line inOlivia A. Gard's An Annotated Guide to Tactics: Carl von Clausewitz’s Theory of the Combat (Quantico, VA: Marine Corps University Press, 2021). See also her Review of the Graham translation in The Strategy Bridge, 23 MAR 2020.
Carl von Clausewitz and Arthur Wellesley, First Duke of Wellington, On Waterloo: Clausewitz, Wellington, and the Campaign of 1815. Ed./trans. Christopher Bassford, Daniel Moran, and Gregory W. Pedlow (ClausewitzStudies.org, 2010). ISBN: 1453701508. This book is built around a new and complete translation of Clausewitz's study of the Waterloo campaign (Berlin: 1835), which is a strategic analysis of the entire campaign (not just the Battle of Waterloo), and the Duke of Wellington's detailed 1842 response to it. Clausewitz's Der Felzug von 1815 was written late in his life and its findings were never incorporated into On War, so most readers will find it new material.
Buy the best translation—recommended for serious readers. The Book of War (The Modern Library, February 2000). ISBN: 0375754776. Clausewitz's On War and Sun Tzu's Art of War in one volume. The translation of Clausewitz's On War is the 1943 version done by German literary scholar O.J. Matthijs Jolles at the University of Chicago during World War II—not today's standard translation, but certainly the most accurate. Sun Tzu is presented in the modern translation by Roger Ames, based on complete ancient texts found by archaeologists.
Buy the standard English translation of Clausewitz's On War, by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton University Press, 1976/84). ISBN: 0691018545 (paperback). Kindle edition. This quite readable translation appeared at the close of the Vietnam War and—principally for marketing and copyright reasons—has become the modern standard.
Decoding Clausewitz: A New Approach to On War (University Press of Kansas, 2008). By Jon Tetsuro Sumida. ISBN: 9780700616169. *This is perhaps the most important recent book for anyone seeking to understand Clausewitz's thinking. Sumida contends that Clausewitz's central value lies in his method of reenacting the psychological difficulties of high command in order to promote the powers of intuition that he believed were essential to effective strategic decision-making. Sumida also correctly notes Clausewitz's argument that the defense is a stronger form of war, and goes on to explore the implications of that fact.
Clausewitz, On War
trans. COL James John Graham (London: N. Trübner, 1873)
TABLE OF CONTENTS
and His Works." (This is a contemporary introduction by Christopher Bassford
(originally written 1991, the latest version updated 2023)
• Preface to the First Edition by Marie von Clausewitz
• Information on the 1873 Translator, Colonel J.J. Graham
plus Christopher Mewett, "J.J. Graham: A Biographical Sketch."
BOOK I: ON THE NATURE OF WAR
BOOK II: ON THE THEORY OF WAR
BOOK III: OF STRATEGY IN GENERAL
BOOK IV: THE COMBAT
BOOK V: MILITARY FORCES
• 9. Camps
BOOK VI: DEFENCE
SKETCHES FOR BOOK VII: THE ATTACK
SKETCHES FOR BOOK VIII: PLAN OF WAR
US • UK • France • Germany