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Helmuth von Moltke (1800 – 1891)


Chief of Staff of the Prussian General Staff from 1857 to 1871 and then of the Great General Staff from 1871 to 1888.
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Helmuth von Moltke
The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. In this sense one should understand Napoleon's saying: "I have never had a plan of operations."
Therefore no plan of operations extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force.
Moltke quotes
No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy.
Moltke
Strategy is a system of expedients; it is more than a mere scholarly discipline. It is the translation of knowledge to practical life, the improvement of the original leading thought in accordance with continually changing situations.




If in war, from the beginning of the operations, everything is uncertain except such will and energy as the commander carries in himself, there cannot possibly be practical value for strategy in general principles, rules derived from them and systems built up upon the rules. Strategy is a system of expedients. It is more than science, it is the translation of science into practical life, the development of an original leading thought in accordance with the ever-changing circumstances.
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