IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Testing Clausewitz: Nationalism, Mass Mobilization, and the Severity of War

  • Cederman, Lars-Erik
  • Warren, T. Camber
  • Sornette, Didier
Registered author(s):

    Drawing on Clausewitz's classical theory, we argue that the emergence of mass nationalism following the French Revolution profoundly altered the nature of the units constituting the interstate system, thereby transforming the conduct of interstate warfare. To validate these assertions—and thus to test Clausewitz—we rely on quantitative evidence at the macro level, with a particular focus on the global distribution of interstate war sizes, measured in terms of battle deaths, over the past five centuries. Drawing on extreme value theory, we demonstrate that temporal discontinuities in the shapes of the tails of such distributions can be used to draw inferences about the nature of the mechanisms underlying the bloodiest events in world history. This approach allows us to show that the interstate system experienced a fundamental shift in the mechanisms underlying the production of war sizes: a shift that can be dated to the years 1770–1810, and that resulted in a systematic increase in war severity. These same tools also allow us to rule out a number of alternative explanations for this shift (including changes in population sizes and changes in weapons technology), while providing evidence for a specific account of war severity rooted in the mobilizational capacities of states.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0020818311000245
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal International Organization.

    Volume (Year): 65 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 04 (October)
    Pages: 605-638

    as
    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:65:y:2011:i:04:p:605-638_00
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Cambridge University Press, UPH, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8BS UK
    Web page: http://journals.cambridge.org/jid_INO
    Email:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:65:y:2011:i:04:p:605-638_00. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Keith Waters)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.