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Sun Wu (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: S n W ), style name Changqing ( ), better known as Sun Tzu or Sunzi (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: S nz ; pronounced [sw n ts ]), was an ancient Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher who is traditionally believed and most likely to have authored The Art of War, an influential ancient Chinese book on military strategy. Sun Tzu has had a significant impact on Chinese and Asian history and culture, both as an author of The Art of War and through legend. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Sun Tzu's The Art of War grew in popularity and saw practical use in Western society, and his work has continued to influence both Asian and Western culture and politics. According to traditional sources, such as the 2nd century BC biography written by Sima Qian, Sun Tzu was born in Qi during the Spring and Autumn Period of China (722±481 BCE) and became a heroic general for the king of Wu, King Helü. His victories then inspired him to write The Art of War. The period was a time of constant war among seven nations (Zhao, Qi, Qin, Chu, Han, Wei and Yan) seeking to control a vast expanse of fertile territory in Eastern China. One legend of Sun Tzu's life goes as follows: The king of Wu tested Sun Tzu's skills by commanding him to train a harem of 180 concubines into soldiers. Sun Tzu divided them into two companies, appointing the two concubines most favored by the king as the company commanders. When Sun Tzu first ordered the concubines to face right, they giggled. In response, Sun Tzu said that the general, in this case himself, was responsible for ensuring that soldiers understood the commands given to them. Then, he reiterated the command, and again the concubines giggled. Sun Tzu then ordered the execution of the king's two favored concubines, to the king's protests. He explained that if the general's soldiers understood their commands but did not obey, it was the fault of the officers. Sun Tzu also said that once a general was appointed, it was their duty to carry out their mission, even if the king protested. After both concubines were killed, new officers were chosen to replace them. Afterwards, both companies performed their maneuvers flawlessly. Sima's biography claims that Sun Tzu later proved on the battlefield that his theories were effective, that he had a successful military career, and that he wrote The Art of War based on his tested expertise. His descendant, Sun Bin, also became a famous scholar of the military arts. The Art of War is attributed to Sun Tzu, and it was originally called (pinyin: Sunzi Bingfa), or simply Sun Tzu. It presents a philosophy of war for managing conflicts and winning battles. Contrary to popular belief, it contains not only the writings of the original author, but also commentary and clarifications from later military philosophers, such as Li Quan and Du Mu. It is accepted as a masterpiece on strategy and frequently cited and referred to by generals and theorists since its publication, translation and distribution the world over. Of the texts written before the unification of China in the 2nd century BC, six major works survived, including The Art of War. During the Song Dynasty in the early 1st millennium AD,
which has led to The Art of War being considered a prime example of Taoist strategy. Although Han Dynasty bibliographies noted the latter publication as extant and written by a descendant of Sun. The finding of Sun Bin's work was therefore considered to be extremely important. The emperor's disregard for central principles such as attentiveness to temporal conditions is largely credited for his eventual defeat in Russia. . such as Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz's On War. Traditional histories recount that the first emperor of a unified China. However. AD 760. The Art of War addresses strategy in a broad fashion. and Tokugawa Ieyasu. was an avid reader of The Art of War. As a central part of that compilation. The book is not only popular among military theorists. Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The Art of War is distinguished from similar Western works. Sun Tzu's The Art of War has influenced many notable figures. The Art of War formed the foundations of orthodox military theory in China. and the book quickly became popular among Japanese generals. The discovery as a whole expanded the total known Chinese military works by hundreds. Qin Shi Huang. scholars uncovered a collection of ancient texts written on unusually wellpreserved bamboo slips. Sun Tzu uses language that may be unusual in a text on warfare and strategy. The meanings of such statements are clearer when interpreted in the context of Taoist thought and practice. Historians popularly recount how French emperor Napoleon studied Sun's military writings and used them to successfully wage war against the rest of Europe. the book was required reading to pass the tests needed for imperial appointment to military positions. The work also significantly influenced the unification of Japan. the 11th chapter states that a leader must be "serene and inscrutable" and capable of comprehending "unfathomable plans". The text outlines theories of battle but also advocates diplomacy and cultivating relationships with other nations as essential to the health of a state. by this spiritual dimension. and the work's illustration of military thought in late Chinese antiquity. Sun Bin's treatise is the only known additional text surviving from the ancient period or bearing a close association with Sun Tzu. it is still in use to this very day by the army as a basis of strategies. considered the book invaluable in ending the Age of Warring States. In the early 1970s. but it has also become increasingly popular among political leaders and those in business management. Despite its title. who led Japan's forces to victory against Russia in the Russo-Japanese War. Mastery of its teachings was honored among the samurai. For example. touching upon public administration and planning. The Art of War was introduced in Japan c. In the book. because of Sun Bin's relationship to Sun Tzu. In fact. Awareness of the Taoist viewpoint in The Art of War is essential to understanding its intended meaning. it had since been lost. Among them were The Art of War and Sun Bin's Military Methods. Illustrating this point. and its teachings were both exhorted and exemplified by influential daimyo and shogun such as Oda Nobunaga. Admiral of the Fleet T g Heihachir . Sun Tzu viewed the ideal general as an enlightened Taoist master.the six works were combined with a Tang Dynasty text into a collection called the Seven Military Classics.
Jr. Modern Chinese scholars explicitly rely on historical strategic lessons and The Art of War in developing their theories. Sun Tzu's The Art of War is listed on the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program (formerly known as the Commandant's Reading List). speed. has directed all units to maintain libraries within their respective headquarters for the continuing education of personnel in the art of war. America's defeat here. was an avid student and practitioner of Sun Tzu's ideas. seeing a direct relationship between their modern struggles and those of China in Sun Tzu's time. which are used regularly in developing the strategies of the Chinese state and its leaders. . The Art of War is mentioned as an example of works to be maintained at each individual unit. The Department of the Army in the United States. both General Norman Schwarzkopf. The work strongly influenced Mao's writings about guerrilla warfare. During the Persian Gulf War in the 1990s. which further influenced communist insurgencies around the world. There is a great perceived value in Sun Tzu's teachings and other traditional Chinese writers. the military mastermind behind victories over French and the American forces in Vietnam. General Vo Nguyen Giap. Mark McNeilly writes in Sun Tzu and the Art of Modern Warfare that a modern interpretation of Sun and his importance throughout Chinese history is critical in understanding China's push to becoming a superpower in the 21st century. and staff duty officers are obliged to prepare short papers for presentation to other officers on their readings. through its Command and General Staff College. and attacking the enemy's weakness. more than any other event. and General Colin Powell practiced Sun Tzu's principles of deception. Ho Chi Minh translated the work for his Vietnamese officers to study. brought Sun Tzu to the attention of American military thought leaders.Communist Chinese leader Mao Zedong partially credited his victory over Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang in 1949 to The Art of War.
in all probability. Always remember. I truly believe that if our military and political leaders in recent times had studied this work of genius. Vietnam could not have happened as it happened. almost word for word. I find it astounding that Sun Tzu wrote so many truths twenty-five centuries ago that are still applicable today. the Bay of Pigs could not have occurred. I would like to make The Art of War obligatory study for all our serving officers and men. as well as for all people in government and all high schools and universities in the free world. the hostage fiasco in Iran would not have come to pass. World Wars I and II would have been avoided. that Sun Tzu¶s knowledge is vital to our survival. I believe The Art of War shows quite clearly how to take the initiative and combat the enemy. I think this little book shows clearly what is still being done wrong. JAMES CLAVELL .´the true object of war is peace´. it has been known that«. If I were a commander in chief or president or prime minister I would go further: I would have written into law that all officers. and. the source of all Mao Tse-Tung¶s Little Red Book of strategic and tactical doctrine). Sun Tzu deserves to be read. especially in his chapter on the use of spies. particularly all generals. which I find extraordinary. it is also. I believe. It can give us the protection we need to watch our children grow in peace and thrive. since ancient times. any enemy. the passing mark being 95 percent. any general failing to achieve a pass to be automatically and summarily dismissed without appeal. take a yearly oral and written examination on these thirteen chapters. the British Empire would not have been dismembered. and all other officers to have automatically demotion. Supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy¶s resistance without fighting.Edited & With a Foreword by James Clavell Sun Tzu wrote this extraordinary book in China two and a half years ago. Even more importantly. we would not have lost the war in Korea. and why our present opponents are so successful in some areas (Sun Tzu is obligatory reading in the Soviet political-military hierarchy and has been available in Russian for centuries. I sincerely hope you enjoy reading this book. very much.
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