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The History Of The Art Of War Within The Framework Of Political History By Delbruck

1604 words - 7 pages

Despite Clausewitz utilization of war theory as a model for explanation of 'what had happened' in warefare history, Delbruck regarded this theory as a “corrective to what the sources told us.”1 Claueseiwitz advocated the use of “historical example” to determine the nature of war. He noted the four uses that history has to offer: “an explanation, a demonstration of the application of an idea, as a support for a statement, and as a detailed presentation from which one might deduce doctrine.” He also establishes various degrees of rigour:
The first and simplest demand is for accuracy. If we read widely enough, we can develop an ability to discern and a base for comparison that will develop a ...view middle of the document...

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As this paper had shown, Claueseiwitz, and more importantly Delbruck, were significant influences to military historiography. During Delbruck's time, military history was only “taught, written about, and argued by university professors.” But this oversimplified military history was taught as a vein of politics which was problematic. Professors projected their “romantic idealism” onto the military past to which Delbruck was vehemently opposed. In their view, for example, many Prussian historians believed that Julious Caesar was successful due to his genius; however, Delbruck went against the grain and claim that it wasn't Caeaser who was successful but the Roman civilization; the Roman civilization ability to defeat the German civilization was because “culture triumphed over barbarism.” Professors taught politics while soldiers taught war but excluded politics. Noble officers were offended by Delbruuck's criticism for military history, due to to his civilian, middle-class status. They believed they had the exclusive domain to write military history. 3 Delbruck even himself said that the faculty he joined previously objected to the “study of the military” and that it “did not belong to the university.”4
More importantly, his military history “sharply contrasted to the existing historical tradition, both academic and military.” Enlightenment rationalism was a strong influence over German scholars at the first half of the nineteenth century. William Van Humboldt “described two stages in writing history: first, an exact, impartial, and critical examination of the events, and second, intuiting that which was still unknown.” and, for Ranke, “historical understanding began with meticulous search and study of the documents” and by that historians “approached the 'spiritual essence through an act of intuition.'” Delbruck, like Ranke and Humbold, began with the sources, and used his own ideas to imagine what must have happened in the past, but he also added to “sources and intuition exact, technical deetails of military life, often from the bottom up.”5 He sought to “describe war from the inside out, as well as from the outside in.” He wrote as a practitioner who “experienced it but added all the technical data – machinery, time, space, size – that outside observes see.”6
Description of the batle of Gravelotte (1870):
Whoever said that hell is afalseyl painted was right. It is a paradise compared with an ight bivouac in torrential downpour, with nothing to eat or drink, lying onthe ground without wood or straw. In spite of great tiredness, we cannot sleep. Gradually, as we spend more and more of these nights, we are losing our good humor. Luckily, one night there was some milk, the second night a few fired were built. But now, when everyone wants above all to dry out, our endurance must be built up for more such nights.7

Description about combat units in battle:

The tactical body is made up of individuals as the human body is made...

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