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Difference and OrientationAn Alexander Kluge Reader$
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Alexander Kluge and Richard Langston

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739200

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739200.001.0001

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(p.392) 23 War
Difference and Orientation

Alexander Kluge

, Richard Langston
Cornell University Press

This chapter studies war and harks back to both Alexander Kluge's controversial book on the Battle of Stalingrad, The Battle (1964), and those portions of the third book of History and Obstinacy (1981) coauthored with Oskar Negt on war as a special case of the public sphere of production. War lays waste to fields, depopulates provinces, and turns cities into dust. War is a fight between rulers carried out with the help of weapons. This definition comes from Louis de Jaucourt's article, which was written in 1757 during the second year of the Seven Years' War. Like a vaccination, societies internalized the excesses of a war that would not end, the religious wars in France, and the barbarism involved in the founding of the early colonies. Rules of war were developed. The way in which people deal with the catastrophe of war is regarded as a high art form. This art consists not only in conquering the enemy, but also in reining in the autonomous forces as well as war's movements, which subjugates the entire world to its destructive power. Ultimately, this art of war is considered to be the highest of art forms, above even architecture. Thirty-five years later, what erupts out of the escalation of the French Revolution is a form of modern war Jaucourt could not have known when he wrote his encyclopedia article: the people's war. Kluge then considers how the image of war changed in the second half of the twentieth century.

Keywords:   war, Alexander Kluge, Oskar Negt, production, Louis de Jaucourt, Seven Years' War, religious wars, rules of war, art of war, French Revolution

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