By von Clausewitz, Carl; Maude, F.N.; Willmot, Louise; Griffith, Tom; Graham, J.J.
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Additional info for On War
Utmost exertion of powers If we desire to defeat the enemy, we must proportion our efforts to his powers of resistance. This is expressed by the 39 product of two factors which cannot be separated, namely, the sum of available means and the strength of the will. The sum of the available means may be estimated in a measure, as it depends (although not entirely) upon numbers; but the strength of volition is more difficult to determine, and can only be estimated to a certain extent by the strength of the motives.
Here it is sufficient to show that a complete concentration of all available means in a moment of time is contradictory to the nature of war. Now this, in itself, furnishes no ground for relaxing our efforts to accumulate strength to gain the first result, because an unfavourable issue is always a disadvantage to which no one would purposely expose himself, and also because the first decision, although not the only one, still will have the more influence on subsequent events, the greater it is in itself.
Further, the smaller our political object, the less value shall we set upon it, and the more easily shall we be induced to give it up altogether. Thus, therefore, the political object, as the original motive of the war, will be the standard for determining both the aim of the military force and also the amount of effort to be made. This it cannot be in itself, but it is so in relation to both the belligerent states, because we are concerned with realities, not with mere abstractions. One and the same political object may produce totally different effects upon different people, or even upon the same people at different times; we can, therefore, only admit the political object as the measure, by considering it in its effects upon those masses which it is to move, and consequently the nature of those masses also comes into consideration.