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"What-If at Waterloo. Carl von Clausewitz’s use of..." Topic

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557 hits since 26 Mar 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP27 Mar 2018 8:54 p.m. PST

… historical counterfactuals in his history of the Campaign of 1815.

"In this article, I analyze the use of historical counterfactuals in the Campaign of 1815 by Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831). Such is the importance of counterfactuals in this work that its gist can be given in a series of 25 counterfactuals. I claim that a central role is played by evaluative counterfactuals. This specific form of counterfactuals is part of a didactic method that allows Clausewitz to teach young officers a critical method that prepares them for the challenge of decision-making in real warfare. I conclude with the enduring relevance of Clausewitz's use of evaluative counterfactuals for contemporary military historiography.

In his Campaign of 1815, Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831) makes the following remark about Napoleon after his victory at Ligny against the Prussians on 16 June 1815: ‘If Bonaparte had followed with the main army, he would have been ready to fight at Wavre early on the 18th, and it is doubtful whether Blücher would have been in a position to accept a battle at that time and place, and even more doubtful that Wellington could have rushed over in time.'
Clausewitz uses a historical counterfactual, which can be defined as a proposition of the form ‘If antecedent A had been the case, consequent C would have been the case.' This counterfactual uses the perfect tense. Strictly speaking, a counterfactual can also be formulated in the imperfect tense: ‘If antecedent A were the case, consequent C would be the case.' In this article, I will concentrate on counterfactuals in the perfect tense, i.e., I will concentrate on historical counterfactuals…."
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arthur181528 Mar 2018 12:46 a.m. PST

Another interesting find, Armand! Thanks for bringing it to our notice.
Suggests some ideas for 'alternative' wargame Waterloo campaigns and battles to enliven tabletop games.

138SquadronRAF Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 6:01 a.m. PST

Another great find.

Thank you!

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP28 Mar 2018 11:01 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend and dear cousin!. (smile)


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