Carl von Clausewitz and National Socialist Germany

Carl von Clausewitz is quite possibly the most significant military theorist in modern history, to the point that he has developed something of a cult following. His theories are mandatory study material in every major military academy from West Point to the Frunze and have even found their way into contemporary film, most notably in the Crimson Tide (1995, staring Gene Hackman and Denzel Washington). Often overlooked is the fact that Clausewitz’s most important work, Vom Krieg, was never finished – he died during the global cholera pandemic of 1826-1837. Consequently, his conclusions are left to speculation and open to wide interpretation. This was certainly the case in Nazi Germany.

In his 1935 address to officers and cadets on the occasion of the 125th anniversary of the War Academy in Berlin, General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944), Chief of General Staff for the German Army, quoted the writings of Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz three times to describe the attributes that make a good staff officer and student.[1] Little did Beck know at the time that his new civilian boss, Adolf Hitler, and his National Socialist regime that had come to power two years earlier would soon challenge the traditional understanding of Clausewitz, whose ideas over the previous century had become a hallmark of German-Prussian military thought and tradition. Clausewitz heavily influenced German National Socialists who based the martial policies of the regime on reinterpretations of his theories. Members of the anti-Nazi resistance also grounded themselves in Clausewitz’s ideas, basing many of their arguments against Hitler and his National Socialist policies on Clausewitz. This article examines the influence of Clausewitz in National Socialist Germany on both the regime and those who opposed it, as well as how the nature of Clausewitz’s writings allowed for such contradictory interpretations of his work.

Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, Bundesarchiv

To explain the opposing interpretations of Clausewitz in National Socialist Germany, it is important to understand the context in which German officers traditionally viewed his work. Prior to the rise of Hitler, generations of German general staff officers developed doctrines based, in large part, on the analysis of Clausewitz’s theories on war. For years, their study of Clausewitz centered on strategy and tactics, during which time a succession of influential German military chiefs drew on Clausewitz starting with Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder (1800-1891). Moltke, who as a young officer studied under Clausewitz and became his disciple, revolutionized the German-Prussian army in the latter half of the nineteenth century based on his interpretation of Clausewitz’s ideas on concentration and mass.[2] Furthermore, Moltke used Clausewitz as a model for commanders and staff officers in the army that he built during a period of expansion after the Prussian system of national service rapidly increased the size of the army.[3]

Years later the architect of the now famous German Aufmarsch I war plan for a decisive campaign against France, Field Marshal Alfred von Schlieffen (1833-1913), was influenced by Clausewitz’s theory of Vernichtungsschlacht or battle of annihilation.[4] In the forward of a 1905 edition of Vom Kriege Schlieffen emphasized that the principal lesson from Clausewitz is the need to evaluate each war according to its own character, and that warfighters should not be so bound by theory that they fail to recognize the actual situation with their own eyes.[5] This statement reveals the extent to which German military thinkers viewed Clausewitz’s work as adaptable to whatever the current situation happened to be; the often ambiguous and sometimes contradictory nature of Clausewitz’s unfinished work allowed for a tremendous amount of freedom of interpretation. Scottish military historian Hew Strachan listed no less than thirteen works penned by various European military strategists between 1905 and 1918 which included interpretations of Clausewitz that were as varied and contradictory to each other as they were complimentary.[6] In his work The Ghost of Napoleon British strategist B. H. Liddell Hart postulated that it was precisely this aspect of Clausewitz that made him subject to such varied and, in his opinion, misguided applications. Regarding the nature of Clausewitz’s work, he asserted that:

Not one reader in a hundred was likely to follow the subtlety of his logic, or to preserve a true balance amid such philosophical jugglery. But everyone could catch such ringing phrases as ‘We have only one means in war – the battle.’ ‘… We may reduce every military activity in the province of strategy to the unit of single combats.’ ‘… Only great and general battles can produce great results.’ ‘Let us not hear of generals who conquered without bloodshed.’

Liddell Hart, The Ghost of Napoleon, 125.[7]

Aside from blaming the bloodbath caused by World War I tactics and strategy on misapplications of Clausewitzian theory, Liddell Hart makes a valid point regarding the facility with which war planners can apply superficial analysis of Clausewitz to just about any theory, doctrine, or tactic. The Nazis would take this to a whole new level.

During the post-World War I era, traditional interpretations of Clausewitz shifted to include an increased interest in Clausewitz’s theories on the relationship between military leadership and civilian policymakers as the German nation sought to understand what had gone wrong during the Great War. In 1919, the newly formed Weimar Republic Reichstag commissioned a committee of inquiry to determine the cause of the 1918 German collapse.[8] The result was a decade long process that included countless hearings and debates. These centered in part on German high command interpretations of Clausewitz, specifically Volume VIII, Chapter VI B. – War is an Instrument of Policy, with critics claiming that the bloody German offensives of 1918 were the result of military leadership seeking the impossible – a decisive victory on the battlefield, instead of recognizing the need for a negotiated peace and undertaking operations that would put her in a favorable position at the bargaining table.[9] For the first time since Clausewitz put pen to paper and expounded on the topic, German politicians and war planners began to seriously examine the relationship between strategy and policy through the lens of the disconnect between the two during the First World War. The Reichstag hearings also gave ultra conservatives a venue to promote the Dolchstoss “stab-in-the-back” theory that Germany had not lost the Great War on the battlefield, rather that she was done in on the home front by treacherous civilian politicians who betrayed the army and toppled the monarchy.[10]

During the tumultuous postwar Weimar period (1919-1933) General Erich Ludendorff, the former German High Command Chief of Staff who orchestrated the failed 1918 offensives, became a key figure in the Reichstag debate over Clausewitz, war, and policy. Ludendorff himself coined the stab-in-the-back myth and later promulgated it in his writings and speeches.[11] In order to make sense of National Socialist views on warfighting and political leadership, it is necessary to delve into Ludendorff’s views on Clausewitz and his radical evolution of Clausewitz’s theory of “absolute war” to one of “total war.”[12] Based on his World War I experience, and firm belief in his stab-in-the-back theory, Ludendorff proposed that Clausewitz’s ideas on the relationship between policy makers and military leadership were obsolete in the current atmosphere. He believed that in the future, the supreme military leader should have sole responsibility for policy and strategy. Ludendorff believed that the military chief alone should have power to completely mobilize the nation’s resources and manpower for the war effort, effectively making the case for a wartime military dictatorship in which politics would be subordinate to overall strategy.[13] The general’s ideas resonated with Hitler and the National Socialists with whom Ludendorff aligned himself during the early 1920s.[14] Hitler later made Ludendorff’s theory on consolidated political-military rule a reality, although in what he considered a more Clausewitzian form, with a civilian dictator that subordinated strategy to politics – and to whom all true German military strategists swore fealty.

While the debates raged in the Reichstag through the 1920s, Hitler and the National Socialists championed the Volkisch or “people’s” cause, and what they called the Volksgemeinschaft “folk community” which they saw as the means of unifying the German people after the fall of the monarchy and destruction of the aristocracy.[15] As part of this effort they promoted the past exploits and accomplishments of “exemplary Germans.” Clausewitz fell into this category; the Nazis viewed him as a great Prussian, a courageous German, and a faithful soldier that every good National Socialist should emulate.[16] Consequently Clausewitz was a popular source in many early Nazi speeches, writings, and publications.[17] It is also no surprise that Clausewitz’s Vom Kriege was included on the list of the first 100 books authorized for sale in Nazi book stores alongside other notable Germans such as Wagner, Bismarck, and Nietzsche.[18]

Later during the war years (1939-1945) the National Socialist propaganda machine used Clausewitz to rally support for Hitler and the war effort. References to Clausewitz in civilian broadcasts and military publications were common, especially as the war dragged on and the possibility of victory ebbing. An article in the January 1944 edition of the Wehrmacht monthly Officers of the Fuhrer attempted to address pessimism and grumbling among the officer corps by invoking Clausewitz:

Clausewitz gives an explanation, which at the same time raises a problem that also moves the mind: ‘…the general-in-chief cannot always expect all he desires from the sagacity, good-will, courage and firmness of character of his corps-commanders. He cannot, therefore, leave everything to their good judgment; he must prescribe rules on many points by which their course of action, being restricted, may easily become inconsistent with the circumstances of the moment. This is, however, an unavoidable inconvenience. Without an imperious commanding will, the influence of which penetrates through the whole army, war cannot be well conducted.’

Generalmajor Walter Scherff, “Vertrauen Und Glaube: Ein Bekenntnis Zum Feldherren Dieses Krieges – Trust and Faith: A Commitment to the Commanders of This War,” Offiziere Des Führers: Die Nationalsozialistische Monatsschrift Der Wehrmacht Für Politik, Weltanschauung, Geschichte Und Kultur – Officers of the Fuhrer: The National Socialist Monthly of the Wehrmacht for Politics, Worldview, History and Culture, 1944, 11.[19]

While the examples of Nazi manipulation of Clausewitz for their own purposes are wide and varied, to truly comprehend the relationship between the National Socialists and Clausewitz one must examine the interaction between Adolf Hitler and Clausewitz’s work. Hitler, who was a voracious reader, was intimately familiar with Clausewitz. The earliest recorded literary interaction between Hitler and Clausewitz can be traced to 1913-14, shortly after he emigrated from Vienna to Munich. The son of Hitler’s landlord at the time, Josef Popp Jr., recalled frequently running errands to bookstores and libraries to bring him works on politics, economics, art, history, and especially war – including Clausewitz’s Vom Kriege and Confessions.[21] Ernst Hanfstaengl, an early confidant and a close friend of Hitler in the 1920s and 30s, described a 1922 visit to Hitler’s living quarters in Munich: “He had books – a lot of them popular editions – on history, geography, Germanic myths, and, especially war including Clausewitz, on the shelves of his shabby, sparsely furnished room…”[22] Hanfstaengl went on to say that Hitler could “quote Clausewitz by the yard” and that he expressed and “unbounded admiration” for his work.[23]

Clausewitz is not only to be found on Hitler’s bookshelf and in private conversations with his associates, he also wrote about and invoked Clausewitz in speeches from the earliest days in his political career all the way up until the end of the Third Reich. Indeed, an index review of notable figures referenced in Hitler’s writings reveals that only Ludendorff and Wagner are mentioned more often than Clausewitz.[24] Writing of the War of Liberation in his notes for an early 1920’s speech Hitler scribbled:

1813 – Who liberated Germany? Not the host of the meek – but the hardheads. Not the Simons – Wirts – Erzbergers – Rathenaus, etc., but the Bluchers, Scharnhorsts, Yorcks and Gneisenaus. The spirit that Clausewitz expressed in a pamphlet: Clausewitz’s Bekenntnis [Clausewitz’s Confessions].

Werner Maser, Hitler’s Letters and Notes, trans. Arnold Pomerans, 317.[25]

Little over a decade later on the 1934 anniversary of his failed Beer Hall Putsch, a sanctimonious Hitler chided his “old comrades” saying: “None of you has read Clausewitz, or if you have read him, you haven’t known how to relate him to the present.”[26] This comment sheds light on how Hitler personally applied Clausewitzian theory to politics, which Hitler viewed as a form of war in itself. In a 1931 interview with German journalist Richard Breiting, Hitler expounded on his political philosophy: “Anyone familiar with the thinking of Clausewitz and Schlieffen knows that military strategy can also be used in the political battle.”[27]

Politics aside, the most profound impact of Clausewitz on Hitler and the terrible chain of world events he set in motion in 1939 is found in his management of all things martial. Hitler believed himself to be a military genius and often declared that according to Clausewitz a distinguished military commander should be possessed of strength of mind balanced by judgement, energy, perseverance, tenacity, and firmness of character, but that he did not need to attain equal excellence in all of them – Hitler believed this to be a perfect description of himself.[28] Besides superficially looking to Clausewitz as an inspiration for command qualities, Hitler was most influenced by his ideas on war as an extension of state policy and the concept of absolute war. That Hitler intended to wage war and integrate these ideas into his warfighting formula is an understatement. In a 1932 conversation with close Nazi associates that took place when he was on the cusp of taking power in Germany, Hitler explained:

I shall not allow myself to be ordered about by ‘commanders-in-chief.’ I shall make war. I shall determine the correct moment for attack. There is only one most favorable moment. I shall await it – with iron determination. I shall not miss it. I shall bend all my energies towards bringing it about. That is my mission. If I succeed in that, then I have the right to send youth to its death.

Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction, 1940), 11.[29]

In what he considered Clausewitzian fashion, Hitler fully intended to subordinate the military to his person and yoke it to his National Socialist policies, effectively melding the two together. After clearing out old conservatives in the officer corps who stood in his way, Hitler made this a reality in mid-April 1938 when he assumed personal control over the Wehrmacht High Command (OKW) in a move that would allow him to freely pursue his war plans. Hitler cited Clausewitz to support his position that the supreme duty of a soldier is to subordinate himself to political command. In part his OKW order reads “… it should be recalled that we soldiers are all bound by the duty to conquer according to the political concept of the head of state… To lead the complete war effort is the affair of the Fuhrer …”[30] In later disputes over strategy or unlawful orders, Hitler would again invoke Clausewitz to put his stubborn generals in check.[31]

 The union between war and policy was, in Hitler’s mind, closely related to the idea of absolute or total war expressed by Ludendorff in his 1935 work Der Totale Krieg. Ludendorff’s interpretation of Clausewitz fit with Hitler’s belief that the state had the “right to employ even the most brutal weapons” in a conflict that would involve “transformation of the world.”[32] The following excerpt from a Nazi publication illustrates how they made the leap from Clausewitz’s absolute war theory to one of total war:

The primacy of politics over war is the axis around which Clausewitz’s thought concerning war revolved. Thus, Clausewitz had attained the peak of his conception of the uninterrupted nature of war… War is one side, peace the other of an indivisible historical reality… Thus, the liberal idea that war is an unfortunate interruption of peaceful conditions . . . was overcome. Only this overcoming brought forth for the first time, as a possibility, the character of the concept ‘total war’ as we know it today.

Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 14.[33]

The 1938 OKW document in which Hitler asserted his supremacy over the Wehrmacht included an appendix that touched on various topics, including the nature of war which it described as “in its absolute form” when the state uses “all means” at its disposal; that “the war of today” is a “national emergency” and a “fight for survival.”[34] The usage of Clausewitzian terminology was not a coincidence. Hitler himself in a conversation with his Romanian and Hungarian allies Ion Antonescu and Miklos Horthy explained that “Clausewitz already had quite correctly labelled this uncompromising war of allies against a merciless enemy as the natural form of war.”[35]

 Thus, in National Socialist Germany, Hitler’s interpretation of Clausewitz’s theories on war and its nature were declared to be absolute fact – complete victory or utter defeat, life and death the only alternatives for the German nation. Hitler and his high ranking Nazi associates thoroughly dismissed the possibility of limited war; “the era of cabinet wars and wars of limited political goals” was “over.”[36] Hitler’s version of absolute, or total war was one in which the ends completely justified the means, as he explained to Josef Goebbels “… we must win, and when we have won, who will ask us about the method?”[37] In a mass briefing to the generals that led his armies into the Soviet Union Hitler explained: “We must forget the concept of comradeship between soldiers. A Communist is no comrade before or after the battle. This is a war of annihilation.”[38]

While the National Socialists and Hitler pillaged Clausewitz’s work for their own twisted purposes, their detractors also looked to Clausewitz for inspiration. Some civilians and members of the German officer corps who opposed Hitler sought to reclaim Clausewitz from the Nazis and refute the National Socialist interpretations of his work, which they regarded as an extreme deviation from the traditional application of his theories. At around the same time that Hitler was forcing members of the OKW general staff who opposed him into retirement, Albert Schreiner, a German expatriate living in Paris, pointed out the existence of a conflict among military circles in Germany between “Clausewitzians” who still believed in the tempering influence of politics in war, and those of National Socialist persuasion who espoused Ludendorff’s new doctrine.[39] The tables would soon turn on the “Clausewitzians” who were either forced into retirement or chose to remain silent in order to keep their job.

Under Hitler it became dangerous, even deadly, to openly voice opposition to the National Socialist regime. Many of those who were bold enough to speak or write against  [2] the official party line were jailed or eliminated before the end of the war. For this reason, anti-Nazi material produced in Germany by those who disagreed with Hitler’s interpretations of Clausewitz is scarce. Of those among the Wehrmacht officer corps who did actively oppose Hitler and the regime, General Ludwig Beck was the most influential. He played a key role in the July 1944 assassination attempt against Hitler, for which he paid with his life.[40] He also left behind a substantial record of his activities and thoughts on Clausewitz.[41] His experience with Clausewitz is characteristic of many of his colleagues, with the difference being that he acted on his beliefs rather than hide behind the oath of personal loyalty to the Fuhrer.[42]

Up until the 1938 clashes between Hitler and the conservative generals that opposed him, Beck’s record on Clausewitz is very similar to that of his predecessors. His 1935 speech at the War Academy illustrates the traditional way German military strategists viewed [3] Clausewitz. In it, Beck invoked Clausewitz in the sense of what Clausewitz termed “moral forces” as expressed in Volume III of his work: “… moral forces are amongst the most important subjects in War. They form the spirit which permeates the whole being of War.”[43] According to Clausewitz, these moral forces are related to all aspects of war: self-reliance, boldness, perseverance, flexibility, and initiative. They were hammered home by a series of German military chiefs including one of Beck’s mentors, Hans von Seeckt (1866-1936), who served as Reichswehr Chief after World War I and is credited with laying the foundation for the Wehrmacht and its revolutionary doctrine of rapid combined arms warfare.[44] Beck’s interest in Clausewitz before 1938 can therefore be classified as conventional and limited to the practical application of Clausewitz to the prevailing doctrines of the day.[45]

However, Beck began to seriously study Clausewitz’s theories on the relationship between politics and war after disagreements with Hitler over his plans to incorporate Czechoslovakia and Austria into the German Reich. Beck believed that the Wehrmacht was not yet able to risk a major war and advised that it stick to enlarging organizational structure and training until 1945.[46] In 1938, the general authored a case study in an attempt to persuade Hitler not to risk war due to what he considered lack of readiness on the part of the German armed forces. In it, he made the Clausewitzian argument that the synchronization of the political reasons for war with military means at one’s disposal necessitated the participation of the military high command in developing foreign policy.[47] He went on to assert, referring to Clausewitz, that the statesman and the military chief “must work more closely than ever.”[48] To round out his argument with Hitler, Beck quoted an 1827 letter from Clausewitz to Prussian general staff officer Major von Roeder:

War in its relation to policy has above all the obligation and the right to prevent policy from making demands that are contrary to the nature of war, to save it from misusing the military instrument from a failure to understand what it can and cannot do.

“Clausewitz to Roeder,” Carl Von Clausewitz to Major Von Roeder, December 22, 1827. Translated by Peter Paret, and Daniel Moran (Fort Leavenworth: U.S. Army Command & General Staff College)[49]

After a series of clashes with Hitler over the political-military relationship, on which they did not see eye-to-eye, Beck resigned.[50]

Thereafter the general dedicated himself to refuting Hitler and the National Socialists’ stance on strategy, war, and policy; Beck authored several documents and lectures that rejected Hitler’s views on these items. One of the most interesting was a 1940 paper titled Betrachtung über den Krieg or Contemplations on War that was written for and read in the famous Berliner Mittwochsgesellschaft liberal think tank. Beck opened the paper with the following line from Clausewitz, whom he referred to as the greatest military strategist of all time: “War is therefore an act of violence intended to compel our opponent to do our will.”[51] He went on to cite Clausewitz in an argument that violence or force are not necessarily the only means to “compel the opponent” to “do our will.”[52] This was in direct contrast with Hitler who did not view war as an extension of political discourse, or the means to an end, rather as an end itself. He concluded, referring again to Clausewitz, that war should be “the last resort of policy” to be used only after all others are exhausted, and that the first responsibility of the statesman and general is to correctly “understand in this respect the War in which he engage” and “not to take it for something, or to wish to make of it something, which by the nature of its relations it is impossible for it to be.”[53] In 1942, he delivered a lecture to the private intellectual discussion group “Wednesday Society in which he argued against the total war concept and called for a return to “the diversionary and therefore limitation of war in the sense that Clausewitz had depicted.”[54]

After the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the realization of a two-front war, Beck teamed up with Carl Goerdeler, the former Reich Price Commissioner and Mayor of Leipzig, to recruit Wehrmacht officers into the growing anti-Nazi resistance group in Germany. Together they co-wrote various memos in which they liberally cited Clausewitz to point out the error of total war and make the point that war is “one of many tools in the political workshop.”[55] In 1941, for example, they wrote that politics do not necessarily give the military commander all forms of warfare, and that he should evaluate whether the destruction “brings one closer to the considered and possible goal of an advantageous peace and its desired form and whether it serves to preserve this.”[56] Up until the end Beck, and a handful of others, continued to make Clausewitzian arguments in private against Hitler’s ideas on total war and unwillingness to take counsel from military strategists. Beck was known to quote Clausewitz so often that shortly before the July 20, 1944, attempt on Hitler’s life, one of Beck’s fellow conspirators, former ambassador Ulrich von Hassell, wrote in his diary praising him as “pure Clausewitz.”[57]

Along with countless millions of others, both Beck and Hitler were consumed by the total war that one man started, and the other had attempted to avert in the name of Clausewitz. Adolf Hitler for his part clung to his belief in the “spirit of Clausewitz” until the bitter end. In the last hours of his life in his bunker deep under the ruins of Berlin, Hitler dictated his political testament, calling upon German soldiers to never “give up the struggle, but rather continue it against the enemies of the Fatherland, no matter where, true to the creed of the great Clausewitz.”[58] No other historical figures are mentioned in the document. Only days before he gave the order to execute Operation CLAUSEWITZ, the defensive plan that turned Berlin into a fortress city where the defenders would fight to “the last man and the last cartridge.”[59] Ludwig Beck used Clausewitz to refute Hitler and inspire resistance to the Nazi regime; simultaneously the National Socialist regime hijacked and misinterpreted Clausewitz’s ideas, yoking them to their twisted policies that would not have otherwise been any different. Before his death Clausewitz himself explained how these paradoxical outcomes were possible when he prophesied that if not completed during his lifetime, his work would stand as “a mass of conceptions not brought into form… open to endless misconceptions…”[60]

[1] Klaus‐Jürgen Müller, “Clausewitz, Ludendorff and Beck: Some Remarks on Clausewitz’ Influence on German Military Thinking in the 1930s and 1940s,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, Clausewitz and Modern Strategy, 9, no. 2-3 (1986): 241, accessed July 11, 2018,

[2] B. H. Liddell Hart, The Ghost of Napoleon (London: Faber & Faber Limited, 1933), 130-131, accessed July 9, 2018,

[3] Ibid. 130.

[4] Hew Strachan, “Clausewitz and the First World War,” The Journal of Military History 75 (April 2011): 371-373, accessed July 15, 2018,

[5] Ibid. 371.

[6] Ibid. 373-383.

[7] Liddell Hart, The Ghost of Napoleon, 125.

[8] Strachan, “Clausewitz and the First World War,” 387.

[9] Ibid. 386-387.

[10] Ibid. 386.

[11] John W. Wheeler-Bennett, “Ludendorff: The Soldier and the Politician,” Virginia Quarterly Review 14, no. 2 (Spring 1938): III, accessed July 19, 2018,

[12] General Carl von Clausewitz, On War ( Kindle Edition, 2008), 2, 18, 255. General Erich F. W. Ludendorff, Der Totale Krieg (Munich: Albert Ebner, 1935), 10-29, accessed July 10, 2018,

[13] Ludendorff, Der Totale Krieg, 10-11.

[14] Wheeler-Bennett, “Ludendorff: The Soldier and the Politician,” III-IV.

[15] Adolf Hitler and Ralph Manheim, Mein Kampf (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1971), 10-11.

[16] P. M. Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” Journal of Contemporary History, The Second World War: Part 1, 16, no. 1 (January 1981): 10, accessed July 11, 2018,

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Generalmajor Walter Scherff, “Vertrauen Und Glaube: Ein Bekenntnis Zum Feldherren Dieses Krieges – Trust and Faith: A Commitment to the Commanders of This War,” Offiziere Des Führers: Die Nationalsozialistische Monatsschrift Der Wehrmacht Für Politik, Weltanschauung, Geschichte Und Kultur – Officers of the Fuhrer: The National Socialist Monthly of the Wehrmacht for Politics, Worldview, History and Culture, 1944, 11, accessed July 9, 2018,

[20] Oberstleutnant Ferdinand Ernst Nord, “Glaubt an Deutschland, Glaubt an Den Führer, Glaubt an Den Sieg – Believe in Germany, Believe in the Fuhrer, Believe in Victory,” Offiziere Des Führers: Die Nationalsozialistische Monatsschrift Der Wehrmacht Für Politik, Weltanschauung, Geschichte Und Kultur – Officers of the Fuhrer: The National Socialist Monthly of the Wehrmacht for Politics, Worldview, History and Culture, 1944, 16-17, accessed July 9, 2018,

[21] Werner Maser, Hitler, trans. P. Ross and B. Ross (London: Allen Lane, 1973), 133.

[22] Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris (New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 1998), 157-158.

[23] Maser, Hitler, 162.

[24] Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 10-11.

[25] Werner Maser, Hitler’s Letters and Notes, trans. Arnold Pomerans (New York: Harper & Row, 1973), 317.

[26] Maser, Hitler, 163.

[27] Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 16.

[28] Clausewitz, On War, 41-49. Maser, Hitler, 273.

[29] Hermann Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1940), 11.

[30] International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, Documents and Other Material in Evidence, vol. XXXVIII (Nuremberg: International Military Tribunal, 1949), 40-42, accessed July 9, 2018,

[31] Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 13.

[32] Adolf Hitler and Ralph Manheim, Mein Kampf, 225.

[33]Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 14.

[34] International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, Documents and Other Material, 40-42.

[35] Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 14-15.

[36] Ludendorff, Der Totale Krieg, 6.

[37] Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1936-1945 Nemesis (W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition, 2000), Kindle Locations 7788-7789.

[38] Ibid. Kindle Locations 7786-7788.

[39] Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 16.

[40] Wolfgang Foerster, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck: Sein Kampf gegen den Krieg (Munich: Isar Verlag, 1953), 163-165, accessed July 11, 2018,

[41] Müller, “Clausewitz, Ludendorff and Beck: Some Remarks on Clausewitz’ Influence on German Military Thinking in the 1930s and 1940s,” 240.

[42] Foerster, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, 67-68.

[43] Clausewitz, On War, 139.

[44] Karl-Heinz Frieser and John T. Greenwood, The Blitzkrieg Legend: The 1940 Campaign in the West (Kindle Edition: Naval Institute Press, 2013), Kindle Locations 7447-7458.

[45] Müller, “Clausewitz, Ludendorff and Beck: Some Remarks on Clausewitz’ Influence on German Military Thinking in the 1930s and 1940s,” 241.

[46] Foerster, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, 149-150.

[47] Müller, “Clausewitz, Ludendorff and Beck: Some Remarks on Clausewitz’ Influence on German Military Thinking in the 1930s and 1940s,” 241. Clausewitz, On War, 50.

[48] Ibid. Foerster, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, 52.

[49] “Clausewitz to Roeder,” Carl Von Clausewitz to Major Von Roeder, December 22, 1827. Translated by Peter Paret, and Daniel Moran (Fort Leavenworth: U.S. Army Command & General Staff College), accessed July 18, 2018,

[50] Foerster, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, 145-147.

[51] Müller, “Clausewitz, Ludendorff and Beck: Some Remarks on Clausewitz’ Influence on German Military Thinking in the 1930s and 1940s,” 256. Clausewitz, On War, 3.

[52] Ibid.

[53] Clausewitz, On War, 19.

[54] Baldwin, “Clausewitz in Nazi Germany,” 17.

[55] Ibid. 16-17.

[56] Ibid. 17.

[57] Foerster, Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, 138.

[58] United States, Office of United States Chief of Counsel for Prosecution of Axis Criminality, Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression, vol. VI (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1946), 260-263, accessed July 10, 2018,

[59] Erich Kuby, “Die Russen in Berlin 1945,” Der Spiegel, May 5, 1965, accessed July 20, 2018,

[60] Clausewitz, On War, 2.