How did revolutionary war cannons work?

Summary of The art of war

Civil revolution in China

With the so-called spring and autumn annals (722–481 BC), a period of economic and political upheaval began in China, which gained momentum significantly during the Warring States Period (475–221 BC). The catalyst for change were technical innovations in agriculture and crafts: iron tools, artificial irrigation systems and a plow pulled by cattle increased productivity. Effective plowshares, which were only known in Europe in the late Middle Ages, were used by the Chinese as early as the third century BC. A. Ownership of the land was passed to private individuals, and a class of rich peasants, artisans and merchants independent of the nobility developed and increasingly settled in large, walled cities.

Philosophy and science flourished: Confucius (551–479 BC) formulated his doctrine of human order and harmony, Sunzi (also Sun Tsu or Sun Tzu) (approx. 534–453 BC) devoted himself to the art of war and Lao Tse (also Laozi) is said to have founded Daoism - the doctrine of the right path - during this time.

Growing social prosperity and increasing population numbers led to distribution struggles. As the power of the Zhou dynasty waned, the feudal lords appointed themselves kings and began to fight for supremacy in China. As a result of countless wars, seven powerful states emerged from over 100 small countries. The decisive factor for success was no longer the aristocratic chariot drivers, but the peasants who fought in the armed infantry of the rapidly expanding armies. In addition, a meritocratic system prevailed: offices and officer ranks were no longer inherited, but awarded according to the performance principle. With the unification of the empire under the Qin dynasty in 221 BC Finally a confused epoch came to an end.


The art of war probably has several authors, who in the fourth and third centuries BC Contributed to the work. The oldest layer consists of military sayings and sentences that Sunzi adopted from the vernacular. The dialogue parts refer to the style that was common in Confucius ’time, other fragments to the ending period of the Warring States. They are all based on one and the same question: How should one react when one truth that is believed to be certain breaks away after another and the world threatens to sink into war and chaos? In the so-called era of the Hundred Schools, countless scholars worked on new values ​​and societies. Many of them were suspicious of the war. Philosophers like Confucius, his most important successor Menzius (also Mengzi) (approx. 370–290 BC) and the pacifist Mozi (approx. 470–391 BC) strove not to let the civilian sector subordinate to the military. As the number of wars increased and the methods and implements of fighting changed radically, the warring rulers sought ways to rationalize, legalize, and professionalize the war. Sunzi and his successors opposed a society that still believed in demons and spirits with a rational, rule-based system.

Impact history

The art of war is considered the oldest and most famous military script. Its success story is unparalleled: In China, Sunzi is the only thinker of his time who survived the politically turbulent millennia almost unscathed. Mao Zedong (also Mao Tse-tung) demonized Confucianism as feudal and reactionary, but was an ardent Sunzi fan. During the civil war he is said to have sent his men into enemy territory just to get him the little book. Recently, Chinese rulers have always brought their ancient strategists into play when they try to position themselves as peace-loving "soft power". In 2006, the Chinese President presented Hu Jintao his US counterpart George W. Bush a silk-bound edition - for many observers a clear swipe at Bush's unsuccessful war campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Since the unscrupulous stock market shark Gordon Gekko in the Hollywood blockbuster in 1987 Wall street rant about Sunzi's advice, a wave of secondary literature spills over the western world: Sunzi for investors, Sunzi for women entrepreneurs, Sunzi for golfers - according to the British magazine Economist there are 1500 Sunzi titles for every taste on Amazon. Even the glamor girl Paris Hilton was photographed reading Sunzi with a serious look through hip reading glasses. Not everyone can understand this hype. The sinologist John Minford For example, his work on the new translation into English in 2002 was tortured. He finds the book “unpleasant” and “unorganized” and says that it “has extremely little to say” to us. His verdict: "A little fascist manual on how to totally destroy your fellow human beings with the help of plausible ideas."