Based on the reasonable understanding of wars and military problems in the slavery and feudalism societies, ancient Chinese military thoughts experienced a consistent development in the past thousands of years with the advancement of the society.
China founded the slavery society in the 21st or 22nd century BC, and war has since become the highest form of struggles among different classes. People's understanding of wars remained in the rudimentary period, and the central content of the military thoughts was to carry out wars under the guidance of God's will.
In the name of going on punitive expeditions against those who "disobeyed God's will" the slave owners initiated looting wars against the other nations, or suppressed the resistance from the slaves. With augury, the so-called heaven's intention was used. By both cruel punishments and abundant rewards, soldiers were directed to fight in the field. The way of war was frontal fighting.
By theShang Dynasty(16th-11th century BC), the vehicle soldiers on chariots were the main body of troops. The commands required action unity and rigid management. The idea directed the military confrontations in the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties as well as the Spring & Autumn and theWarring States periods (about 21st century-221BC).
After many military practices during the period, people gradually summarized some basic notions about war like making moves according to the specific situation, acting according to one's own ability, that a larger troop could defeat the smaller one, and the stronger could defeat the weaker. It is said that some military works appeared in the WesternZhou Dynasty(11th century-771BC), which was lost later, but some fragments were included in later military works likeZuo Zhuan(Spring and Autumn Annals), andSun Zi Bing Fa(Sun Zi's Art of War).