Clausewitz is perfectly fascinating, though, and I'd highly recommend reading him if you portray a deep thinker of the time. It sheds a lot of light on mid 19th century military thought and how the 19th century is clearly a transitionary period. Clausewitz deftly reveals a lot about human nature in war that is obvious when read yet you would have never considered it otherwise.
Indeed. And if the company will permit another digression, we could apply a "Clausewitzian framework" to reenacting. It may be nothing more than a parody, but there might be some useful insights as well.
Clausewitz posits that there are many kinds of war, with the extreme cases being "absolute" war (all possible force concentrated and expended in an instant) and a "mere continuation of policy by other means". In the same way, we can posit many different kinds of reenactments, with the extremes being:
- Absolute, total immersion, where we literally "become" people from an earlier period for the duration;
- A "mere continuation of historical instruction with the addition of other means". Such as costumed docents at a historic site, or a uniformed reenactor giving a "blanket talk" in a high school classroom.
From his synthesis of the two extremes Clausewitz draws the following principle:
Now, the first, the grandest, and most decisive act of judgment which the statesman and general exercises is rightly to understand in this respect the war in which he engages, not to take it for something, or to wish to make of it something which, by the nature of its relations, it is impossible for it to be.
What is good for statesmen and generals is also good for reenactors.
Clausewitz also speaks of the nature of war as dependent upon a "wonderful trinity" of three forces or "tendencies", which he defines as:
- Violence, hatred, and animosity (mostly associated with the people);
- Probability and chance (mostly associated with generals and armies)
- Political instrumentality (mostly associated with governments)
In the same way, we could look at the nature of reenactment events as dependent upon the expectations and characteristics of three groups:
- The participants
- The spectators
- The event site and its hosts
I'll leave it as an exercise for the students to decide which of these should be associated with pure reason, probability and chance, and violence, hatred and animosity