The Art of War Analysis The Art of War was one of our world’s first written documents that dealt with militaristic strategies and advancements. The book was written by a Chinese military leader named Sun Tzu, who commanded and analyzed his military over the Warring States Period of China. Sun Tzu produced this text in an attempt to provide future military advantages for the Chinese, but The Art of War’s ideas eventually spread to neighboring civilizations and empires.
The ideas and facts expressed in Sun Tzu’s writings proved effective as military groups became more powerful through the writings. Throughout The Art of War, Sun Tzu expressed his views and tactics primarily in moral ethics, intelligence, environmental tactics, and leadership. While analyzing the text, it was clear that one of Sun Tzu’s main points was to express moral ethics. Sun Tzu speaks of the five constant factors that govern the art of war, and the first constant that he states is the “moral law”.
Sun Tzu believes that the moral law is unlike any of the other Chinese moral aspects and will lead a military to new advancements. The Art of War states, “The moral law causes the people to be in a complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger. ” (p. #1) This quote makes one believe that there will be no danger under one’s ruler, and they will be led to a safe victory. Putting all of one’s trust in a leader is very brave and daring, but this moral law seemed to bring the military together with more trust and bondage.
Moral ethics was an important aspect of The Art of War because it described new ways of viewing warfare and trusting those around you. The next topic that is very important in Sun Tzu’s writing is the intelligence of people within warfare. When speaking about intelligence, Sun Tzu describes how it can be used as a military strategy, such as deception. Sun Tzu states, “A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective. ” (p. 1) Making the enemy believe in false statements about your military will give you the advantage because they will not expect the unexpected. This is a very interesting quote because this tactic is clearly used throughout the history of warfare because the art of being unnoticed can help one’s army to victory. Another quote that describes the importance of intelligence is stated, “It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purpose of spying. ” (p. 1) This proves the importance of intelligence, whether it is making decisions as a leader or achieving positions within the army. When Sun Tzu describes the general as “wise”, he is already assuming that the general is bright and intelligent which is needed among all controlling leaders to navigate their soldiers to success. The next subject that seemed to be very important to Sun Tzu was environmental tactics. Throughout The Art of War, there are descriptions of tactics for each geographical environment and how to position one’s army on that terrain.
One tactic for a terrain of various heights was described as, “With regard to precipitous heights, if you are beforehand with your adversary, you should occupy the raised and sunny spots, and there wait for him to come up. ” (p. #1) This tactic of height advantage when fighting is still used today and it must have given Sun Tzu great powers over his enemies. Another quote about the environment that Sun Tzu states is, “The natural formation of the country is the soldiers’ best ally. ” (p. 1) Tzu is basically explaining how the formation of Earth and its different geography, climate, and terrain can give an army an advantage if they understand the environment. Fighting in one’s “homeland” will lead to better conditions for the army that originated in that area because they know of the environment and what it takes to survive there. Sun Tzu explains his opinions of military tactics on six types of terrain and all of them easily gave the best advantages to the military that used them. The last topic that Sun Tzu took great pride in was military leadership.
Since Sun Tzu was a general, he knew how to run an army to its best conditions with a minimal amount of casualties. During the text, Sun Tzu states, “Now the general is the pillar of the state; if the pillar has mastered all points of war, the state will be strong; if the pillar is defective, the state will be week. ” (p. #1) Tzu is using the general’s leadership as a supporting structure to the whole empire or civilization. If the military leader is dysfunctional, then the whole state or empire will be dysfunctional as well.
The Art of War also states, “The masterful leader cultivates the moral law, and strictly adheres to proper methods and discipline; thus it is his power to control success. ” (p. #1) The leader must also have great morals in order to run a great military and these morals by which the leader lives by will serve as models for the civilization. A great military starts with a great leader, and Sun Tzu expresses a great leader as somebody with proper morals, a high intelligence, and pride to create an advanced military.
Overall, Sun Tzu expressed his views and tactics primarily in moral ethics, intelligence, environmental tactics, and leadership throughout The Art of War. Sun Tzu believed in a righteous moral ethic that should be adhered by all within the military. It was clear that Sun Tzu believed in intelligence as a key to battle when he stated, “A military operation involves deception. Even though you are competent, appear to be incompetent. Though effective, appear to be ineffective. ” (p. #1) The Art of War also proved the importance of the landscape or terrain, and how these could be used as an advantage in warfare.
Lastly, Sun Tzu believed in great leadership and this can be clearly cited when he says, “Now the general is the pillar of the state; if the pillar has mastered all points of war, the state will be strong; if the pillar is defective, the state will be week. ” (p. #1) Sun Tzu was one of our world’s first military analyzers and his tactics and tips can be clearly seen in even today’s militaries. Bibliography Source 1: Sun Tzu ; Samuel B. Griffith. The Art of War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1963. Print.