The Cognitive Challenge of War
The compelling story of the military campaign that changed how we think about war
Responding to the enemy's innovation in war presents problems to soldiers and societies of all times. This book traces Napoleon's victory over Prussia in 1806 and Prussia's effort to recover from defeat to show how in one particular historical episode operational analyses together with institutional and political decisions eventually turned defeat to victory.
The author moves from a comparative study of French and Prussian forces to campaign narrative and strategic analysis. He examines processes of change in institutions and doctrine, as well as their dependence on social and political developments, and interprets works of art and literature as indicators of popular and elite attitudes toward war, which influence the conduct of war and the kind and extent of military innovation. In the concluding chapter he addresses the impact of 1806 on two men who fought on opposing sides in the campaign and sought a new theoretical understanding of war―Henri Jomini and Carl von Clausewitz.
Fields of history that are often kept separate are brought together in this book, which seeks to replicate the links between different areas of thought and action as they exist in reality and shape events.
About the Author
Peter Paret is Professor emeritus of the Institute for Advanced Study. Among his works on military history and on European culture in the 18th to the 20th century are a biography, Clausewitz and the State, now in its fourth expanded edition, and the translation, with Michael Howard, of Clausewitz’s On War. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society and recipient of its Thomas Jefferson Medal, an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics, and an Honorary Member of the German Clausewitz Society. The German government has awarded him the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.