Marie Von Clausewitz: The Woman Behind the Making of On War

TitleMarie Von Clausewitz: The Woman Behind the Making of On War
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBellinger, Vanya Eftimova
Number of Pages298
PublisherOxford University Press
CityOxford : New York
Abstract

"The marriage between Carl von Clausewitz and Countess Marie von Brühl was an unlikely partnership. A wealthy, cultured, politically-literate but plain woman with interests of her own, Marie's marriage to a less-fortunate, then-unknown officer in 1810 did not make sense by most accounts. But their relationship was forged by a love for each other, a deep sense of trust, and a meeting of the minds over common interests, one that would shape Clausewitz' opus, On War. Marie von Clausewitz is the first biography to shed light on Marie's illustrious life before she met Clausewitz and how she used her refined upbringing and social insights to inform his thoughts on warfare and politics. A newly-discovered archive of correspondence reveals details of their relationship and the extent of Marie's imprint on the theories that eventually comprised On War, from their courtship to the days of the Napoleonic War. This was a partnership - in the truest sense of the word, atypical for its time - and a form of continuing education for Clausewitz. The two came to a 'collaborative opinion' on many topics, from the moral implications of war to the emotional constitution required of an extraordinary person to affect change. Bellinger shows how Marie, a highly educated woman of Prussia's upper echelon, broadened Clausewitz's understanding of the cultural and political processes of the time; provided him with insights into the practical side of daily politics; sharpened his writing style; and served as the catalyst for his ideas. Marie added insight from the perspective of a spouse and caretaker, close enough to the battle to observe the physical and emotional effects of combat. The issues that Marie raised about the difficulties of war, such as social isolation and treatment of veterans, will resonate with readers today. Marie von Clausewitz sheds light on an extraordinary life and mind, offering compelling insights into class and gender in 19th century Europe and a seminal text in military history"--

Short TitleMarie Von Clausewitz
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