Derek Gregory on fog, friction and war. Tim Cresswell has just done a nice chapter on friction and mobility for our Handbook of Mobilities coming out later this year.

geographical imaginations

I suspect most people attribute the metaphoric “fog of war” to Clausewitz’s critical reflections on the Napoleonic wars and then fast-forward to Erroll Morris‘s brilliant 2003 film about Robert Strange (sic) McNamara, The Fog of War, which centres on the Second World War and Vietnam.

Carl von Clausewitz  (1780-1831)Both turn out to be more problematic than they seem. First, although Clausewitz mentioned ‘fog’ several times in his manuscript On War he never used the phrase “fog of war”; this is the sentence that probably comes closest to the contemporary meaning:

‘War is the realm of uncertainty; three quarters of the factors on which action is based are wrapped in a fog of greater or lesser uncertainty’ [Der Krieg ist das Gebiet der Ungewißheit; drei Vierteile derjenigen Dinge, worauf das Handeln im Kriege gebaut wird, liegen im Nebel einer mehr oder weniger großen Ungewißheit’].

In a brief commentary, Eugenia Kieslingsuggests that…

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