Antoine-Henri Jomini

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Jomini, Antoine-Henri

 

(Gendrikh Veniaminovich Zhomini). Born Mar. 6, 1779, in Payerne, Switzerland; died Mar. 24, 1869, in Paris. Baron (1807). Military theorist and historian. General of the infantry in the Russian Army (1826).

Jomini joined the Swiss Army in 1798 and the French Army in 1804, becoming chief of staff of Marshal M. Ney’s Corps from 1805 to 1809 and again in 1813. Violent clashes with Marshal L. Berthier, chief of staff of Napoleon’s army, forced Jomini to accept Russian service in August 1813. He was on the staff and in the suite of Emperor Alexander I.

In his works Jomini generalized from the experience of the wars of the late 18th and early 19th century. Victory over the enemy, he believed, should be won not through maneuver without engagement but through a decisive engagement. He stressed offense over defense and argued that the main forces should be concentrated on the decisive line of operation. Jomini attached great importance to seizing the initiative and to morale and emphasized the exceptionally great role of the military leader.

At the same time Jomini believed that the art of warfare is governed by “eternal and immutable principles” and considered Napoleon’s art of military leadership a permanent model of the art of warfare. He also underestimated the influence of politics on war. Jomini made a great contribution to the research methodology of military history, mainly by applying the comparative method. His works had a great influence on military theoretical thought and the principles of conducting wars through the early 20th century.

WORKS

Histoire critique et militaire des guerres de la Révolution, vols. 1–15. Paris, 1820–24.
In Russian translation:
Rassuzhdeniia o velikikh voennykh deistyiiakh Hi kriticheskoe i sravnitel’noe opisanie pokhodov Fridrikha i Napoleona, vols. 1–8. St. Petersburg, 1809–17.
Politicheskaia i voennaia zhizn’ Napoleona, vols. 1–2. St. Petersburg, 1844.
Ocherki voennogo iskusstva, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1939.