Part 2 of 4
Clausewitz in the Third Reich I: A National Hero
Clausewitz’s presence in this period of German history cannot be reduced to Hitler. As a Prussian patriot and the preeminent theorist of modern war, Clausewitz was unsurprisingly enthusiastically celebrated in the Third Reich. This had obvious benefits for the glorification of both Germany and warfare. Furthermore, the National Socialists were eager to portray their movement as being in the lineage of the Prussian/German tradition of politics and warfare, from Luther through Frederick the Great to Bismarck. Clausewitz was a natural part of this, and the least one can say is that much of his life and work – the dogged resistance to foreign domination, the deference to authority, the enlistment and inspiration of the masses, the necessity of violence, the importance of emotions and “moral forces,” the need for iron will, and so on – are eminently compatible with National Socialism.