Born under the name Sun Wu, Sun Tzu wrote the art of war during the warring State period in China. Some historians challenge its validity while others argue that he was a mythical character. However, the writings are recognized on strategy as well as warfare with the strategies becoming common in national goals, leadership as well as soldiers. Additionally, his works have gained recognition among scholars, soldiers and strategists over the years. Subsequently, historians argue that his works remain valuable for conducting war as they focus on avoidance while maintaining full control over an attacker in a stronger position than the battle itself. Further, his works got influenced in 1990 during the Persian Gulf War by several military leaders and professionals (Wilcoxon, 3-6).
Thesis Statement: Leaders and Military should implement the Sun Tzu strategies during a war to gain success.
The main reason why Sun Tzu wrote the book was to establish a systematic treatise that would guide leaders and generals in succeeding in war. More so, his works continue to survive over the years because his theories get based on objective analysis of military problems in addition to providing a guide for attaining success despite a competitive ground. I’m going to focus on Sun Tzu response to the military campaign that states the following. Sun Tzu awakens one morning to find that he is no longer in China, but rather in the Italian Alps in 218 BC, in the company of the polyglot army of the Carthaginian general, Hannibal Barca. Sun Tzu accompanies Hannibal during his campaigns in Italy, witnessing all of the major battles between Carthaginian and Roman forces. He mysteriously returns to his own time and place in 201 BC, just following the conclusion of the Second Punic War.
The second Punic war refers to the war that was deliberately started by the Carthaginian general Hannibal. He performed one of the most famous campaigns when he marched his vast army across the Alps and the Pyrenees. However, Hannibal failed to attack Rome but instead acquired a foothold in the Southern Italy. He later abandoned the war in Italy and went to defend Carthage after sixteen years of winning the battles. But, Hannibal suffered defeat from commander Scoppio in Rome, and a treaty ended the Carthage’s imperial power raising the city to the ground where Hannibal took the civil magistrate position. Subsequently, Hannibal continuously opposed and fought the Romans making the Romans make plans of capturing him. When he discovered that he could never escape from the hands of Romanians, he took poison in 183 B.C putting an end to his dream of destroying Rome.
From this history, we find that Hannibal could have achieved his goal of destroying Europe if he had finished the battle earlier. He assumed that he could always win the battle which is not always the case. Additionally, the strategies used by Carthaginian entail Empire and honor as Hannibal’s aim was to replace Rome so that Carthage can regain its power that was lost in the first Punic war (Parker, 15-20). According to Sun Tzu strategies, Hannibal tried to destroy the city instead of taking the city intact and whole. Additionally, he could have captured the entire army instead of trying to destroy the city. Also, Hannibal should have broken the enemy’s resistance using other methods instead of fighting. More so, Hannibal broke Sun Tzu greatest law of winning without fighting as he went to the battle to get fame, fortune as well as power. Also, military power should not drive a country’s policy as was the case with Hannibal at Carthage. We see that Hannibal primary interest was to gain fortunes, and he was allowed to established national policy which led to the defeat against Rome. In contrary, Rome won the battle as its senates were governed by the policies directly and the military leaders got selected from the senate who had to tell the senate of their intended operations. Also, the army was loyal, resilient and as a result, and they were able to gain victory in the battle against Carthage (Lazenby, 103-107).
In conclusion, leaders and military should implement the Sun Tzu strategies during a war to gain success. The main reason why Sun Tzu wrote the book was to establish a systematic treatise that would guide leaders and generals in succeeding in war. More so, his works continue to survive over the years because his theories get based on objective analysis of military problems in addition to providing a guide for attaining success despite a competitive ground. From the above situation, Hannibal expected Rome to surrender, but Rome acted on equal strategic defeat. Also, loyalty, resilient as well as national policies that were prominent on the Rome’s side made them gain victory. In contrary, Hannibal tried to destroy the city instead of taking the city intact in addition to capturing the entire army. Also, Hannibal should have broken the enemy’s resistance using other methods instead of fighting. Finally, Hannibal broke Sun Tzu greatest law of winning without fighting as he went to the battle to get fame, fortune as well as power.
Lazenby, J. “Hannibal’s War.” Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.
Parker, James. “Comparing Strategies of the 2nd Punic War: Rome’s Strategic Victory over the Tactical Genius, Hannibal Barca.” Usawc Strategy Research Project, 2009.
Wilcoxon, C. “Sun Tzu: Theorist for the Future Twenty-First Century.” United States Army National Guard, 2010.