Small wars in the age of Clausewitz: the watershed between partisan war and people's war
Heuser, B. (2010) Small wars in the age of Clausewitz: the watershed between partisan war and people's war. Journal of Strategic Studies, 33 (1). pp. 139-162. ISSN 1743-937X
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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/01402391003603623
Around the time of Clausewitz’s writing, a new element was introduced into partisan warfare: ideology. Previously, under the ancien régime, partisans were what today we would call special forces, light infantry or cavalry, almost always mercenaries, carrying out special operations, while the main action in war took place between regular armies. Clausewitz lectured his students on such ‘small wars’. In the American War of Independence and the resistance against Napoleon and his allies, operations carried out by such partisans merged with counter-revolutionary, nationalist insurgencies, but these Clausewitz analysed in a distinct category, ‘people's war’. Small wars, people's war, etc. should thus not be thought of as monopoly of either the political Right or the Left.