Support or refute the argument that the prolonged and bloody stalemate of the World War I
stemmed from a slavish adherence to the theories proposed by Clausewitz.
Major Billy Stubbs
H100 Outline Argumentative Essay
June 22, 2015
General Carl von Clausewitz is one of the best-known translators of Napoleon’s success
during war and is considered to be a genius on military theory. Clausewitz‘s identified a
‘Paradoxical Trinity’ of distinct variables to explain the phenomenon of War. The first one,
mainly concerning the people, is the primordial violence, hatred, and enmity, which are to be
regarded as a blind natural force. The second one, concerning military, is the play of chance and
probability within which the creative spirit is free to roam. The third variable, concerning the
Government, relies in its element of subordination, as an instrument of policy, which makes it
subject to reason alone (1). During the bloody stalemate of World War I (1915-1918), it is
possible to identify the three tendencies of Clausewitz’s ‘paradoxical trinity’: the primordial
violence, hatred, enmity of the German and French people; the play of chance and probability
inherent to the action of the German and French army; and war as an instrument of policy, since
the major political objective was at stake. Also, Clausewitz’s express the importance of
maintaining a balance between these three tendencies, to ignore anyone of these tendencies
during war would have unfavorable results as shown in the stalemate of World War I.
The first variable of Clausewitz’s ‘Paradoxical Trinity’, address the people
who can influence a war, but has no control during combat. The French and German
people slowly rallied behind the decision to go to war, but soon became unparalleled in their
support of it. However, violence and passion are the people’s field of action; thus this...