Accession Number:

AD1087827

Title:

Conquering the Unknowable: Romanticism's Influence on Helmuth von Moltke

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report,01 Jun 2016,25 May 2017

Corporate Author:

ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2017-05-25

Pagination or Media Count:

49.0

Abstract:

As the general officer credited with putting Carl von Clausewitzs theories into practice, Helmuth von Moltke had a profound influence on modern warfare, most notably revolutionizing the role of the general staff and, in the face of much criticism, unapologetically advocating for the empowerment of subordinate leaders. His influence remains present in modern command structures and mission command thinking. Although they are typically associated with the intellectual approaches of emergent military science, the foundations of Moltkes most influential practices were rooted in Romantic philosophy. To be sure, his belief in human reasons ability to deconstruct and synthesize complex information reflects Immanuel Kants theories on the human minds categorization and synthesis of particulars, which Kant termed synthetic judgments a priori. Moltke also betrayed an affinity for Romantic interpretations of sublimity, humanism, and autonomy that in the end dominated his theories and practices. Moltke, one of the greatest modern military theorists and practitioners, cannot be correctly evaluated without consideration of all the influences on his thinking and practice.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Humanities and History

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE