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  Created in China>The Development of Chinese Military Affairs>Military Thoughts
Liu Tao


Liu Tao(Six Strategiesof the War), originally attributed to the famous strategist Jiang Ziya in the WesternZhou Dynasty(11th century-771BC), was actually completed in the lateWarring States Period(475-221BC). Though the actual writer cannot be determined now, it is possible that the book reflects some of Jiang's military thoughts.

Though there are many editions of the book from different periods of Chinese history, and the content of each may vary slightly, the structure and the guiding idea are the same.

There are six volumes in the edition nowadays: the Civil Strategy (which discusses how to manage the state affairs and make proper use of its personnel); the Martial Strategy (which discusses how to direct military operation); theDragonStrategy (which discusses the military organization): theTigerStrategy (which focuses on the war environment, weapons, and troop formations); theLeopardStrategy (concerning the tactics); and the Dog Strategy (which looks at the commanding and training of the army).

Liu Taoinherits the cream of the military thoughts of the previous strategists, and also borrows from the merit points of different schools, hence its rich content and thoughts. In the area of political strategy, the book repeatedly advocates "the world is not a world for one person, but for all the people in the world." The book stresses that those who want to take the world must win the support of the people. In substance,Liu Taorequires the rulers to reduce taxes and labor.

In the area of military affairs, the book requires the commanders to use various strategies and tactics with ingenuity according to different situations. For instance, the best way to attack a city is to besiege it and strike at the reinforcement, so as to force the surrender.

The book also notes the great influence of geography and the climate on tactics.

In addition, it also summarizes the respective fighting methods of various arms of services like the infantry, vehicle soldiers, and the cavalry, as well as the coordinated tactic when all are involved. The command structure and the function of each part in ancient China are recorded, with the book also suggesting that soldiers should be arrayed into different teams according to different specialties. The book also stresses that communication should remain confidential in the army, recording various such methods.

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