The Philosophy of Chinese Military Culture: Shih vs. Li

Ancient Chinese Warfare
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Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. Sort order. Feb 11, Bryant Macfarlane rated it really liked it. The first two chapters are rather like a house for buzz phrases.

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The authors have a model that they are trying to squeeze every possible scenario into. I doubt seriously this is, was? The authors never really address the effect of Communism on the Chinese psyche or logic. However, the case studies themselves are interesting if one takes a grain of salt along with you. The authors would have it that every action reported fit neatly into the Tao of China and was intended. Abs The first two chapters are rather like a house for buzz phrases.

He stressed more deceiving the enemy to create Shih than caring for the people through Tao. Since Cao Cao did not hesitate to deceive his friends while deceiving his enemies, he could neither find national Tao nor justify his authority. Although he tried to build national Tao through the emperor, even as a nominal ruler, he could never expect a strong endogenous Shih through Tao.

Instead, he relied heavily on exogenous Shih and often pursued immediate interests—Li—in his strategy. Only in the final stage did he introduce reservations and adopt the anomalous Te-strategy against Sun Quan. Cao Cao adopted Shih-strategy at his convenience and usually followed the path of Li-strategy. Unlike Xiang Yu, who did not recognize the importance of Shih even when Liu Bang defeated him and used Li-strategy as a default, Cao Cao was adept as an experienced general in both strategies. Although Cao Cao did not apply Shih-theory consistently in his strategy, the foundation of his strategy rested firmly within the Shih-perspective of war.

The People Liu Bei did his best for the people even in cases that might threaten his military campaign. Liu Bei did not let the people despair even when his troops were losing battles in retreat.

Cao Cao, in contrast, insulated his troops from the people. He insisted on securing his lines of communication for logistics and provisions that did not depend on the local people. During his delaying campaign in AD , accompanied by multitudes of refugees from Jingzhou who were part of his Tao, Liu Bei could move only ten li a day. Since Liu Bei was bound to keep the oath of the peach garden, he had no choice within his personal ethics. Liu Bei, Cao Cao, and Sun Quan fought by adopting Shih-strategies, which dominated both campaigns and diplomacy until the deaths of the principals.

Chinese Philosophy: Overview of History

Technological progress had expanded the area and scope of battle, while policy emphasized the importance of coordinated, joint warfare and logistics. Although Mao and Chiang both sought to rebuild a self-respecting, independent China within their shared strategic culture, their contrasting strategies epitomize the poles of Shih-theory—Shih and Li.

The Context By the late nineteenth century, the declining Qing Dynasty could no longer repel foreign intrusions or control domestic discontent. The pervasive, growing American presence—diplomats, traders, adventurers, missionaries, and relief agencies—and their European competitors protected China from partition.

While baojia and imperial law allowed no appeal or discussion, the secret societies influenced Chinese society at all levels by exerting power through extralegal supports and indirect linkages among millions of people. Some were pragmatic, or criminal, in controlling commerce and wealth— the northern Green Circle or the southern Red Circle. Other religious societies—White Lotus or Red Swastika—developed into anti-imperial and anti-Nationalist revolutionary groups. To support the republican government, Chiang enlisted the trade guilds and politicized the Ko Lao Hui as a Christian philanthropic organization of wealthy merchants and guild chiefs within the Chinese Nationalist Party Kuomintang: KMT.

As Chiang and Sun eventually alienated the secret societies and warlords with proposals for reform, General Yuan Shikai displaced the new republic with military power. With his death in , China slid into chaotic competition among political factions, secret societies, trade guilds, and warlords.

This elite would properly guide and inspire the common people, build political support for the generalissimo and his government, and modernize Chinese society. Although he urged better treatment for the peasants, Chiang never suggested that landlords should lose land or the wealthy transfer their wealth. Even as he strengthened the army, his New Life Movement urged people to resolve their disputes within traditional moral standards without violence or harsh methods.

As the campaign succeeded, Chiang absorbed the smaller armies, although some powerful warlords persistently resisted as autonomous military forces.

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After In another step away from harmony between ruler and people—Shih— Chiang replaced the uncomfortable political coalition by adding the 76 Table 4. As Chiang and Mao concentrated their opposing forces, Yan Xishan in Shanxi province maintained a growing third autonomous force. Contending Strategies As they consolidated power during the s, Mao and Chiang took their strategies, doctrines, and philosophies along diverging paths toward a The Chinese Civil War 77 common goal—a strong China occupying its rightful place in the world.

The war between them comprised three phases as combat advantage shifted gradually from Chiang to Mao. Force Structures and Doctrines The Northern Expedition had convinced Chiang of the need for a central, professional army to defeat and absorb the armies that opposed him.

Terra Cotta Soldiers on the March

A graduate of the Japanese Military Academy, Chiang drew power from foreign sources to build a unified military force armed with modern weaponry and trained within modern doctrines. His German advisors, under General Hans von Seeckt, urged a large central force built on firepower and strict discipline around a few elite units led by an elite officer corps.

Regional forces—reserves—operated only in their respective regions to support, reinforce, and complement main forces. Local part-time militias, trained and directed by regional forces, assumed combat support and logistical missions to support main- and regional-force operations.

Guerrilla War. See table 4. When able to attack, we must seem unable 2. When using our forces, we must seem inactive 3.

When we are near, we must make the enemy believe that we are away 4. When far away, we must make him believe we are near 5. Hold out bait to entice the enemy 6. Feign disorder, and crush him 7. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him 8. If he is superior in strength, evade him 9. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant If he is taking his ease, give him no rest If his forces are united, separate them Attack him where he is unprepared Protracted War.

Mao envisioned three stages in protracted war— strategic defensive, operational stalemate, and counteroffensive—as sequential processes to draw power from the people, reverse military asymmetry, and use it to win the war. To retain the initiative, Red Army commanders stressed flexibility and deception by shifting unexpectedly between offense and defense as opportunity and terrain required.

When Mao retreated to Jiangxi, Chiang used his military superiority to pursue, attack, and destroy the communist forces quickly while they were still weak. Instead of merely frustrating, confusing, and weakening a tactical enemy, annihilation sought quick, decisive engagements to destroy the enemy at the operational level. Mao conceived this first strategic-defensive stage of protracted war as weakening the White Army enough to force Chiang to abandon his campaign and consolidate his strategic position—intent-based Shih-strategy.

Throughout the Jiangxi campaigns, the Red Army fought a visible enemy, whereas the White Army faced an enemy with formless Hsing. The First Campaign. After ambushing the 18th Division, the Red Army annihilated two brigades and the command group. Mao sought to isolate one unit—the 18th Division—in a killing zone and annihilate it by concentrating Red efforts in overwhelming local superiority.

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The Second Campaign. In February , Chiang assigned , troops to the second attack. Mao counterattacked each column in sequence from the western column eastward. After losing 20, rifles and suffering high casualties, despite an absolute superiority of 20 to 3, The Chinese Civil War 83 the White Army withdrew in defeat. The Third Campaign. In July , Chiang began his third Jiangxi campaign by committing , men to press the Red Army back against the Kan River and destroy it.

While slower White units lost contact, units that moved too rapidly often fell into prepared Red traps. As he withdrew, the Red Army recovered Tonggu without fighting.

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Fearing that another deep White penetration into Jiangxi would alienate the people and weaken both Shih and Tao, the CCP adopted a new positional-defense strategy. Rather than concentrating only briefly for battles of annihilation, the new Li-strategy dispersed the Red Army in reinforced battle positions to hold critical terrain and prevent the enemy from penetrating.

The Fourth Campaign.

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Standardization, a hallmark of the Qin state, was applied to weaponry as well: should an arrow shaft snap, or the trigger on a repeating crossbow malfunction, the component could be easily replaced. Games Daily Sudoku. I have done lots of thinking about this, however. Works under MDS Four years later, the emperor sent three alchemists to retrieve the herbs.

Chiang launched the fourth Jiangxi campaign with about , troops in Whenever the White Army destroyed positions on the perimeter, the Jiangxi base shrank. Failure to appreciate the strength of the people Shih in the base area has often given rise to unwarranted fear of moving the Red Army too far from the base area.

Hence, it is possible to wreck an enemy plan.

In October , Chiang launched the fifth Jiangxi campaign around a new operational concept. Relying a third on military measures and two-thirds on political maneuvering the White Army enlisted the peasants in encircling and eliminating the Red Army. With more than , men, the White Army advanced systematically into the base and reduced the Communist-controlled area by one-fifth from its size. His novel political initiatives for the fifth campaign prevented the Red Army from applying Shih-strategic mobile operations.

Facing the systematic White advance, the Red Army withdrew to a small area in southern Jiangxi. The Long March From October to September , the Long March, passing through 11 provinces and crossing 18 mountain ranges and 17 rivers, covered about The Chinese Civil War 85 12, kilometers.

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Of about , people who left the Jiangxi base, only about 7, reached Yanan. Chiang estimated that Mao and the CCP were about to collapse and no longer posed serious threats. Early in the Long March, Mao proposed to unite all Chinese in resistance to the Japanese invasion while ceasing the wars between domestic factions, despite the political implications. As KMT leader and president of China, Chiang intensified and widened the political pressures and suppression campaign begun during the fourth and fifth Jiangxi campaigns.