Sun Tzu is the author of “Art of War”, one of the most influential and sought-after books about strategies in battles. However, the Art of War now applied in other fields like politics, business, sports and many more. Sun Tzu is a military general and philosopher who led several battles into a success with the use of deception, manipulation and unpredictable tactics. Sun Tzu was believed to have lived in the period of warring states. He worked under the leadership of Wu, a small semi-barbaric state. Wu, a neighboring kingdom, once conquered Chu and won. After some time, Nang Wa, the prime minister of Wu, decided to kill some of the royal descendants of the Chu kingdom in fear of being a victim of their revenge. Years passed by and Wu decided to conquer the Chu with Sun Tzu now on their side. Nang Wa led the troops of Wu. The Chu’s plan was to simultaneously attack the Wu soldiers from the front and the back. However, there were some conflicts between Nang Wa and his other leaders which led their plan to fail and making Sun Tzu in an advantage point. Sun Tzu’s strategy on the other hand was to retreat but advancing at the same time.
He lured the troops of Chu into a deceit trap right from the start by losing. The Chu lost battles one after the other. Sun Tzu also faked defeat until the Chu advanced very deep into Wu land where the best Wu fighters are. The first few soldiers were the old and sick while they placed the hungry and strong soldiers at the end where the opponent lost most of its energy. One of his principles that is applicable in this battle is “Know your enemy and yourself and you will never be in Peril.” Sun Tzu’s principle were also helpful in the Vietnam War. Ho Chi Minh, the leader of Vietnam at that time, is similar to Sun Tzu. They both believed that it is better to outthink the opponent rather than outfighting them. Besides this, Ho Chin Minh were also appealed to Sun Tzu’s principle such as the one mentioned above “to learn to understand both the enemy and yourself, to seek out his weaknesses and your own strengths, and act accordingly.”
One application of this that is shown in the film is how the Vietnamese use their knowledge of the battlefield (it is their own country) to surprisingly attack the Americans like the use of surprise bombs. Another example is the idea of the Vietnamese to dug underground to make a secret passage and a trap for the Americans. Ho Chin Minh also
applied to his leadership the principle of Sun Tzu to make ample use of subterfuge and stratagem in order to defeat or disarm your adversary as well as to use outright violence only when absolutely necessary in the belief that political struggle was more effective than military struggle especially considering that Americans has more firepower than did his own forces. However, both of them still believe the importance of military strength. One of the techniques of Sun Tzu that was applied by Ho Chi Minh is putting his Vietnamese soldier in death ground, making them understand that they’re land is being conquered and that they’re families are in jeopardy so that they would transform and fight at their best. Sun Tzu’s concepts of the four important factors in a battle also helped the Vietnamese win the war. These four factors are the weather, terrains, leadership and military power.
Lastly, the most important principle that helped the Vietnamese was the concept of spies. Vietnamese planted spies on a bar near the American base where they usually hang out. This helped in getting an insight and preparing the Vietnamese or sabotaging the plans of the opponent.
The battle of the allied forces at the Normandy also applied Sun Tzu’s art of war’s principles. In the year 1944, the allies were faced with a challenged of an attack by the allied when their battleships landed on the Normandy beaches. The Germans had the most advanced technology. They have foreknowledge or the encrypting, decoding and intercepting messages of the opponents. They were able to anticipate the plans of the opponents and thus prepare for it. Similarly, foreknowledge is a type of spying. Sun Tzu was a huge believer in the use of spies. Germans also used spies. However, Sun Tzu also found a way to deal with spies which he called cross-over. Cross-over spies are also called double agents who used to work for one group but was converted by the opposing group to provide the opposition with false information. During this battle, the spies sent by the Germans to sneak into the allied forces was discovered the Britain and thus converted them to double agents, which are now being paid by Britain to give Germans wrong information about were the Allied Forces would be landing at.
They asked the spies to tell the Germans that the allied forces would be landing at Calais which would be really landing at Normandy and thus they focused all their attention there opening all their other ports and bases allowing the opponents to freely attack them. Another Sun Tzu principle applied in this battle is the bombing of the Germans from the north to make it seem hat the allied forces are really coming from that direction and moving to the north and leading the Germans to follow and move further to the north to support was being bombed. Like what Sun Tzu said “make your enemy prepare on his left and he will be weak on his right”. The success of the allied forces in winning the war was mainly because of this reason and the cross-over spies. Another factor that led to the failure of the Germans in the war is their chain of command system. Sun Tzu says that “it is important that generals are not constrained by their leaders”. The German generals are in direct control of Hitler so the final call comes only from Hitler and the generals are not allowed to make their decisions of their own, they should always wait for Hitler’s go signal. Another problem with this is that Hitler tends to make wrong decisions.
The last battle is at Johannesburg. We weren’t able to finish the film so I just researched the battle in the internet. According to the references, the Johannesburg was a battle civil war caused by inequality in the past, people in poverty and alienated communities that refuse to live together. One of Sun Tzu’s principle that was applied in this batlle was “The art of war teaches us to rely not only on the likelihood of the enemy not coming but on our own readiness to receive him; not on the chance of him not attacking but rather on the fact the we have made our position unassailable.”