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35 Inspirational Carl von Clausewitz Quotes On Success

Last Updated May 2023

35 Inspirational Carl von Clausewitz Quotes On Success

Carl von Clausewitz was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the ‘moral’ (meaning, in modern terms, psychological) and political aspects of war. His most notable work, Vom Kriege (On War), was unfinished at his death. Clausewitz was a realist in many different senses and, while in some respects a romantic, also drew heavily on the rationalist ideas of the European Enlightenment. May his quotes inspire you to take action (peaceful action) so that you may live your dreams.

1. “All action takes place, so to speak, in a kind of twilight, which like a fog or moonlight, often tends to make things seem grotesque and larger than they really are.” Carl von Clausewitz

2. “To achieve victory we must mass our forces at the hub of all power and movement. The enemy’s ‘Center of Gravity’.” Carl von Clausewitz

3. “Savage peoples are ruled by passion, civilized peoples by the mind.” Carl von Clausewitz

4. “The first, the supreme, the most far-reaching act of judgment that the statesman and commander have to make is to establish the kind of war on which they are embarking.” Carl von Clausewitz

5. “The Conqueror is always a lover of peace: he would prefer to take over our country unopposed.” Carl von Clausewitz

6. Courage, above all things is the first quality of a warrior.” Carl von Clausewitz

7. “Pursue one great decisive aim with force and determination.” Carl von Clausewitz

8. “The political object is the goal, war is the means of reaching it, and the means can never be considered in isolation from their purposes.” Carl von Clausewitz

9. “The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan.” Carl von Clausewitz

10. “Talent and genius operate outside the rules, and theory conflicts with practice.” Carl von Clausewitz

11. “Men are always more inclined to pitch their estimate of the enemy’s strength too high than too low, such is human nature.” Carl von Clausewitz

12. “The world has a way of undermining complex plans. This is particularly true in fast moving environments. A fast-moving environment can evolve more quickly than a complex plan can be adapted to it. By the time you have adapted, the target has changed.” Carl von Clausewitz

13. “Intelligence alone is not courage; we often see that the most intelligent people are irresolute. Since in the rush of events a man is governed by feelings rather than by thought, the intellect needs to arouse the quality of courage, which then supports and sustains it in action.” Carl von Clausewitz

14. Knowledge must become capability.” Carl von Clausewitz

15. “The backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy.” Carl von Clausewitz

16. “The difficulty of accurate recognition constitutes one of the most serious sources of friction in war, by making things appear entirely different from what one had expected.” Carl von Clausewitz

17. “Just as some plants bear fruit only if they don’t shoot up too high, so in practical arts the leaves and flowers of theory must be pruned and the plant kept close to its proper soil- experience.” Carl von Clausewitz

18. “Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.” Carl von Clausewitz

19. “Given the same amount of intelligence, timidity will do a thousand times more damage than audacity.” Carl von Clausewitz

20. “Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.” Carl von Clausewitz

21. “To secure peace is to prepare for war.” Carl von Clausewitz

22. “Blind aggressiveness would destroy the attack itself, not the defence.” Carl von Clausewitz

23. “The more a leader is in the habit of demanding from his men; the surer he will be that his demands will be answered.” Carl von Clausewitz

24. “The first and most important rule to observe is to use our entire forces with the utmost energy. The second rule is to concentrate our power as much as possible against that section where the chief blows are to be delivered and to incur disadvantages elsewhere, so that our chances of success may increase at the decisive point. The third rule is never to waste time. Finally, the fourth rule is to follow up our successes with the utmost energy. Only pursuit of the beaten enemy gives the fruits of victory.” Carl von Clausewitz

25. “Strength of character does not consist solely in having powerful feelings, but in maintaining one’s balance in spite of them.” Carl von Clausewitz

26. “A general in time of war is constantly bombarded by reports both true and false; by errors arising from fear or negligence or hastiness; by disobedience born of right or wrong interpretations, of ill will; of a proper or mistaken sense of duty; of laziness; or of exhaustion; and by accident that nobody could have foreseen. In short, he is exposed to countless impressions, most of them disturbing, few of them encouraging. If a man were to yield to these pressures, he would never complete an operation.” Carl von Clausewitz

27. “Self-reliance is the best defence against the pressures of the moment.” Carl von Clausewitz

28. “Whoever does great things with small means has successfully reached the goal.” Carl von Clausewitz

29. “To be practical, any plan must take account of the enemy’s power to frustrate it.” Carl von Clausewitz

30. “Knowing is different from doing and therefore theory must never be used as norms for a standard, but merely as aids to judgment.” Carl von Clausewitz

31. “Of all the passions that inspire a man in a battle, none, we have to admit, is so powerful and so constant as the longing for honor and renown.” Carl von Clausewitz

32. “Every age has its own kind of war, its own limiting conditions and its own peculiar preconceptions.” Carl von Clausewitz

33. “There are times when the utmost daring is the height of wisdom.” Carl von Clausewitz

34. “With uncertainty in one scale, courage and self-confidence should be thrown into the other to correct the balance. The greater they are, the greater the margin that can be left for accidents.” Carl von Clausewitz

35. “Be audacious and cunning in your plans, firm, and persevering in their execution, determined to find a glorious end. Carl von Clausewitz

My name is Asad Meah, I am the CEO & Founder of AwakenTheGreatnessWithin. I am a dreamchaser who has gained a wealth of knowledge in entrepreneurship and personal development over the past five years through self-education. My mission is to inspire millions of people to become entrepreneurs by awakening their minds to their greatness that resides within them.

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