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Is von Moltke Still Relevant Today?

Updated: Feb 18

 Von Moltke, also known as von Moltke the Elder, was a prominent military strategist in the 19th century. He emphasized the importance of education, continuous historical study, and practical experience in developing strategic skills. According to von Moltke, strategic ability is not solely a unique gift possessed by a few individuals like Napoleon or Hannibal, but rather an achievable skill that can be taught and learned.


Von Moltke believed that in order to be successful in warfare, one must first discover the situation at hand, even if it is surrounded by the fog of the unknown. This requires a keen ability to appreciate what is seen, guess what is not seen, make sound judgments, and make decisions quickly and decisively. He emphasized the need to act with vigor and without hesitation. Von Moltke's is still significant today for several reasons.


Von Moltke highlighted the importance of education in strategic subjects and continuous historical study. This emphasizes the need for professionals and academics in the field of military strategy to constantly update their knowledge and maintain mental suppleness. By studying historical battles and tactics, one can gain valuable insights and learn from the successes and failures of the past.


Von Moltke's emphasizes that strategic ability is not solely an innate talent, but rather a skill that can be acquired through education, study, and experience. This provides hope and encouragement for individuals who aspire to develop their strategic thinking abilities. Von Moltke acknowledged the uncertainties inherent in war, conflict, and policy development. He emphasized the need to use professional judgement and make the best use of available information, even in the face of unknowns. This highlights the importance of critical thinking, adaptability, and the ability to make informed decisions in complex and uncertain situations.


Von Moltke's is particularly relevant in the context of grand strategy, which involves the alignment of political, military, and economic objectives to achieve long-term success. By emphasizing the importance of education, continuous study, and practical experience, von Moltke's provides a framework for developing the skills necessary for effective grand strategic thinking.


Von Moltke emphasizes education, continuous study, and practical experience, is of great importance in the field of military strategy. It highlights the potential for individuals to acquire strategic skills through learning and experience, and it underscores the need for critical thinking, adaptability, and decisiveness in complex and uncertain situations. By understanding and applying von Moltke, professionals, academics, and anyone interested in military history and strategy can gain a deeper understanding of the subject and foster meaningful discussions on the topic.

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