Battling to the End
Conversations with Benoit Chantre
Studies in Violence, Mimesis & Culture
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
Sales Date: 2009-12-15
Carl von Clausewitz (1780–1831), the Prussian military theoretician who wrote On War, is known above all for his famous dictum: “War is the continuation of politics by other means.” In René Girard’s view, however, the strategist’s treatise offers up a more disturbing truth to the reader willing to extrapolate from its most daring observations: with modern warfare comes the insanity of tit-for-tat escalation, which political institutions have lost their ability to contain. Having witnessed the Napoleonic Wars firsthand, Girard argues, Clausewitz intuited that unbridled “reciprocal action” could eventually lead foes to total mutual annihilation. Haunted by the Franco-German conflict that was to ravage Europe, in Girard’s account Clausewitz is a prescient witness to the terrifying acceleration of history. Battling to the End issues a warning about the apocalyptic threats hanging over our planet and delivers an authoritative lesson on the mimetic laws of violence.