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The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Irish Independent. Translation by A. North China Branch, Shanghai Society for the Study of Early China. Early China 3. Chinese University Press. Harvard University Press. University of California Press.

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The Art of War

The Art of War at Wikisource. Syun 1 -zi 2 bing 1 -faat 3. Operational Blitzkrieg Deep operation Maneuver Operational manoeuvre group. Personnel Military recruitment Conscription Recruit training Military specialism Women in the military Children in the military Transgender people and military service Sexual harassment in the military Conscientious objection Counter recruitment. Logistics Military—industrial complex Arms industry Materiel Supply chain management.

Explores the five fundamental factors the Way, seasons, terrain, leadership, and management and seven elements that determine the outcomes of military engagements. By thinking, assessing and comparing these points, a commander can calculate his chances of victory.

Habitual deviation from these calculations will ensure failure via improper action. The text stresses that war is a very grave matter for the state and must not be commenced without due consideration. Explains how to understand the economy of warfare and how success requires winning decisive engagements quickly. This section advises that successful military campaigns require limiting the cost of competition and conflict. Perhaps the greatest warfare novel written, The Art of War , is believed to have been written by Chinese military official, Sun Tzu, around B.

However, historians continue to debate the authority of the book as well as the very existence of Sun Tzu himself. The novel, a relic of Chinese history, was only recently introduced to Western culture when it was translated first into French and later English in the 20 th century. Regardless of how the book came to be, The Art of War has fascinated great military minds and common men through its short proverbial literature.

In addition to the commentary surrounding the qualities of the ideal General, Sun Tzu alludes to the crucial role the General plays in the State.

SUN TZU ART OF WAR

The importance of his role is not to be taken lightly. Under the description of the great General, Sun Tzu stresses the following critical qualities necessary to become successful: Awareness of Situations and Natural Surroundings, Awareness of Self and Enemy, and the specific traits of Cleverness and Wisdom. With regard to Awareness of Situations and Natural Environment, Sun Tzu introduces the five constant factors that should be considered when observing the conditions and landscape of the field of war.

These constants are:. Sun Tzu believes these are the five criteria whereby the great General groups his thoughts and observations with respect to the field of battle, leading him to intentionally develop strategies and tactics for the upcoming war. All decisions in warfare should be made with careful regard and consideration to each of these factors.

It is interesting to note these constants are a combination of both physical and mental characteristics, contrary to the popular misconception that warfare is merely a physical match of strength and firepower. In light of the quality of Awareness of Self and Enemy, Sun Tzu lists seven questions the General should consider when making comparisons between his own force and the enemy.

Sun Tzu states victory or defeat can be predetermined by the answers to these seven considerations. These questions of comparison compel the General to develop an in-depth understanding of the force at his command, as well as the enemy army. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.

If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. Although these qualities would be ideal throughout the army ranks, it is of vital importance for the General to possess these attributes, but to also nurture and develop these skills in the army at large. Sun Tzu encourages the General to pretend to be weak so that the enemy may grow arrogant.

This strategy is the height of cleverness and a sure road to victory. In concurrence with the appearance of weakness, holding out traps with which to entice the enemy and feigning disorder and lack of unity is promoted.

Rouse him and learn the principle of his activity or inactivity. Force him to reveal himself, so as to find out his vulnerable spots. This proverb also emphasizes the significance of cleverness and wisdom in accomplishing victory through means outside of direct military encounters. The Art of War is perhaps the most influential manual concerning the ancient tactics of warfare ever written. Historians continue to debate whether the classic was written by a Chinese military official named Sun Tzu or if Sun Tzu even existed.

Those who refute his existence argue that, had such a brilliant military mind really lived, more would have been recorded regarding his background and conquests in Chinese history. Historians who claim Sun Tzu did exist believe he was in the service of the King Ho-lu of Wu, one of the ancient Chinese kingdoms, but very little is known about his military exploits outside of The Art of War.

Some historians think Sun Tzu did not, in fact, rise to the rank of general in the Chinese military due to the lack of historical evidence of his existence, and the opinion that such talented individuals usually do not rise above certain military ranks due to their genius. The reason such individuals would often not rise above this rank was that the emperor would feel threatened by their power and cunning.

Other historians believe The Art of War was written by a collection of other individuals within the military around approximately the same time Sun Tzu may have lived; while additional scholars think he was one of these contributors.

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The military manual is believed to have been written around B. Throughout this historical period, there were many advancements, including the shift from predominately chariot armies to organized armies consisting of primarily infantry and some cavalry, as well as the development of great literary works that became the basis for Chinese religious and social beliefs in the following years. The main philosophical schools of thought at the time were Taoism and Confucianism, although the philosophy of Legalism was the central governing body under which the Qin Emperors ruled.

Although the book garnered great respect in Eastern traditions, its introduction into Western cultures occurred in , when a Jesuit missionary, Father Amiot, translated the book into French. However, the first English translation is less than one hundred years old and became widely known when Captain E. Calthrop published his version in Since then, various translators and historians most notably James Clavell in have updated the translation, resulting in a more comprehensive version, which is read extensively today.

He who knows these things, and in fighting puts his knowledge into practice, will win his battles. He who knows them not, nor practices them, will surely be defeated.

The main traits of the successful General can be grouped into the following categories: Awareness of Situations and Natural Surroundings, Awareness of Self and Enemy, and the specific traits of Cleverness and Wisdom. It is a matter of life and death, a road either to safety or to ruin. Hence it is a subject of inquiry which can on no account be neglected. The book immediately introduces the five constant factors that should be considered when observing the conditions and situations of the field of war.

Sun Tzu believes these are the five criteria whereby great generals group their thoughts and observations with respect to the field of battle leading them to intentionally develop strategies and tactics for the upcoming war. It is interesting to note these constants are a combination of both physical and mental characteristics, which is contrary to the popular misconception that warfare is merely a physical match of strength and firepower.

These are conditions governed by Heaven and Earth and are beyond the control of the General.


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Thus, the skillful General must observe the natural surroundings upon surveying the field of battle, and his duty is to develop a battle strategy based upon these factors that will be advantageous to his army.