Murphy's Law and Clausewitz (UNCLASSIFIED)

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Jan 25 23:52:10 UTC 2008

Clausewitz wasn't given to punchy, pithy expression. What he did say, according to Col. J. J. Graham, his most influential translator, was:

  "War is the province of chance. In no sphere of human activity is such a margin to be left for this intruder, because none is so much in constant contact with him on all sides. He increases the uncertainty of every circumstance, and deranges the course of events."

  Close, but no cigar.


"Mullins, Bill AMRDEC" <Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL> wrote:
  ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
Sender: American Dialect Society
Poster: "Mullins, Bill AMRDEC"
Subject: Murphy's Law and Clausewitz (UNCLASSIFIED)

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Stumbled across this in Google Books:

The Natives are Always Restless By Gerald Raftery, 1964
"When General Karl von Clausewitz said, "If a thing can happen, it will
happen," he could have been ruminating on amateur theatricals as well as
the art of war. . . " [snippet view, rest is truncated]

Note: This is more or less how George Nichols said he originally stated
what is now known as Murphy's Law.

My question is, does anyone recognize this quote as being really from
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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