Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

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Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack Wu?

Unread postby FuguNabe » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:37 am

Is it possible that Liu Bei started to see Guan Yu as a liability. I mean if Jing is so important why not distribute other able officers/advisors there to assist Guan Yu as soon as Han Zhong was conquered? Surely Liu Bei knows his sworn brother better than anyone of his seeming superiority complex he's gained from his fame? Seriously did they really think their cookie cut deal to hold on to Jing and the alliance with Sun Quan was that all that stable? Did they also think there's not a single mind in the Southland that can outwit Guan Yu? It's not like Guan Yu has never failed a task before.

Consider Guan Yu storming to reach Xuchang leaving only some less reliable officers to defend his rear (obviously from Wu). Surely Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang and other able officers of Shu didn't assume that Guan Yu is not going to have trouble leaving the defence of Jing to officers like Mi Fang and Fu Shi Ren considering how opportunistic Wu has been to take back Jing!?

With all that in mind to me after reading over and over the relating records and the novel I get the feeling that Liu Bei was just after a excuse to conquer Wu. He sacrificed his brother for an excuse to assemble and march a massive army to take Wu thinking nothing wil go wrong (which plenty did go wrong). Obviously the virtuous w•••• that was presented in SGYY does nothing to represent the historical account of Liu Bei and his arguably remarkable military career and his perhaps not so black and white (as in the novel) characteristics/personality. Same could be said of Guan Yunchang who was made to be more than he was in the novel.

Well it's just a possible hypothesis of the situation me think. It just maybe that Liu Bei saw Guan Yu as becoming a liability in being too independent and too much of a glory hog in his actions (ie, releasing Cao, trying to take Xuchang himself without coordinated attack from Hanzhong front). Perhaps I'm just looking too deep into it but please discuss...
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack W

Unread postby James » Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:56 am

I’ll entertain the discussion. I see some fundamental problems:

1) Sacrificing Jingzhou for an excuse to attack Wu seems <i>very</i> dangerous.
2) Sticking Guan Yu with some loser generals is sad, but I don’t see any indication that Liu Bei was working to prompt Wu into an attack against him. No sabatoge.
3) If Liu Bei was itching for a chance to attack Wu he probably would have been prepared to attack much sooner. As history places the timeline, it took him about two years from Guan Yu’s death to march on Wu.
4) By all historic indication, Liu Bei was very close to Guan Yu.

There’s one other thing I wonder about. How much of an excuse did Liu Bei really need to attack Wu? I mean, if he planned to attack just for the sake of attacking, he only needed to rally a degree of support from his own force. I don’t know how important Wei’s opinion in this would have been (though when and where they attack was obviously an issue).

I still wonder if Liu Bei saw the importance of his relationship with Wu…

<hr>
Ah! Releasing Cao Cao. Do you wish to discuss the event historically, as based in the novel, or as some sort of mix? Historically Guan Yu never released Cao Cao (nor did that event take place). In the novel, though, I think Liu Bei’s relationship with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei transcends any form of subterfuge. Liu Bei would have willingly died for either of them. After they passed away, he lived out the remainder of his life in grief before passing away (thus the presentation of many that he died from a broken heart).
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Re: Guan Yu's death a planned excuse for Liu Bei to attack W

Unread postby FuguNabe » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:16 am

James wrote:There’s one other thing I wonder about. How much of an excuse did Liu Bei really need to attack Wu? I mean, if he planned to attack just for the sake of attacking, he only needed to rally a degree of support from his own force. I don’t know how important Wei’s opinion in this would have been (though when and where they attack was obviously an issue).

I still wonder if Liu Bei saw the importance of his relationship with Wu…



Points taken. His supposed purpose to restore Han meant his focus should be first and foremost on the effort to bring down Cao Cao. Cao has more of everything at that time and the only way to bring him down was obviously to first work with Wu and maintain a good relations them. However from this I gather that is if restoring the Han is so damn important to Beiwhy did he overlook the bigger picture?

As for that one point about time it took to attack Wu after Guan Yu's death. That may just be because so many people opposing the campaign. Who know?
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Unread postby kvn_m » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:23 am

please list out the generals / officers who were with guan yu. and indicate who the losers were. k thanks.
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Fri Feb 02, 2007 6:33 am

I don't buy it. Nothing to do with Guan Yu. Attacking Wu wouldn't have been the greatest object of focus for Liu Bei at that particular time. Losing Jing also wouldn't have been very beneficial. In Liu Bei's ideal world, Jing would have been more thoroughly fortified against attack and Shu and Wu's attention would have been united against Wei.

BUT... Hitler turned his back on England and attacked Russia (with whom he had a non-aggression pact).
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:14 am

Liu Bei would never have risked the loss of Jing, even if he wanted Guan Yu dead. I'm not sure he wanted a war with Wu at the time, he had some momentum against Wei and if the alliance could keep pushing, just maybe they could cuase some more damage.
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Fri Feb 02, 2007 2:33 pm

I don't get the point of this topic. it took it 2 year I think to plan to attack wu. he didnt do it 1 second after guan yu death as I learned from dong zhuo
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:37 pm

Even historically, I think the relationship between Liu Bei and Guan Yu was very close. Liu Bei was only attacking lands that Wu had conquered from him; he wasn't using Guan Yu's death as justification for annihilating Wu, because he never got that far, and his intentions after Yiling are unclear (after all, it was he who restored the alliance with Wu, not Zhuge Liang).

I think Liu Bei was just following a natural line of thought: he wanted to destroy an enemy. Keep in mind that Sun Quan had made quite a few (albeit abortive) plans regarding conquering Liu Bei - he even gave Liu Zhang provisional reinstatement as Governor of Yi, suggesting that he had his eye on conquering all of Liu Bei's territory, not just Jing. For some reason - I'm guessing realization that once Liu Bei fell, Sun Quan himself would be next - Sun Quan aborted these plans, particularly after the death of Lü Meng.

Thus, Wu was a threat. You don't need any more justification than that - Liu Bei surely had no idea that Guan Yu would be attacked by Wu at that critical juncture, and even if he did, he surely had no idea that Guan Yu would perish.

The two year period of waiting between Guan Yu's demise and Yiling is standard for a major campaign, especially considering that Liu Bei had only just then annexed Hanzhong - he needed to secure his existing territory first before launching a major campaign. (In this, Liu Bei was greatly successful - it was in the handling of the Yiling campaign itself that he brought disaster upon himself.) If Liu Bei had sent troops immediately following Guan Yu's death, that would have left Hanzhong in a vulnerable position. Better to build up his defenses and his army so that he could attack relatively safely.

I do not think that Liu Bei had any reason not to trust Guan Yu. Guan Yu was a high caliber leader who had been with Liu Bei through thick and thin. Even with Guan Yu's short career with Cao Cao, Guan Yu still demonstrated remarkable loyalty to Liu Bei, even when he could have remained with Cao Cao (granted, there are many reasons why Guan Yu left, but there were plenty of other men he could have served far more powerful than Liu Bei). And Liu Bei is not the sort to doom his men based on mere suspicion.
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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Sat Feb 03, 2007 3:17 am

Sun Gongli wrote:Even historically, I think the relationship between Liu Bei and Guan Yu was very close. Liu Bei was only attacking lands that Wu had conquered from him; he wasn't using Guan Yu's death as justification for annihilating Wu, because he never got that far, and his intentions after Yiling are unclear (after all, it was he who restored the alliance with Wu, not Zhuge Liang).

I think Liu Bei was just following a natural line of thought: he wanted to destroy an enemy. Keep in mind that Sun Quan had made quite a few (albeit abortive) plans regarding conquering Liu Bei - he even gave Liu Zhang provisional reinstatement as Governor of Yi, suggesting that he had his eye on conquering all of Liu Bei's territory, not just Jing. For some reason - I'm guessing realization that once Liu Bei fell, Sun Quan himself would be next - Sun Quan aborted these plans, particularly after the death of Lü Meng.

Thus, Wu was a threat. You don't need any more justification than that - Liu Bei surely had no idea that Guan Yu would be attacked by Wu at that critical juncture, and even if he did, he surely had no idea that Guan Yu would perish.

The two year period of waiting between Guan Yu's demise and Yiling is standard for a major campaign, especially considering that Liu Bei had only just then annexed Hanzhong - he needed to secure his existing territory first before launching a major campaign. (In this, Liu Bei was greatly successful - it was in the handling of the Yiling campaign itself that he brought disaster upon himself.) If Liu Bei had sent troops immediately following Guan Yu's death, that would have left Hanzhong in a vulnerable position. Better to build up his defenses and his army so that he could attack relatively safely.

I do not think that Liu Bei had any reason not to trust Guan Yu. Guan Yu was a high caliber leader who had been with Liu Bei through thick and thin. Even with Guan Yu's short career with Cao Cao, Guan Yu still demonstrated remarkable loyalty to Liu Bei, even when he could have remained with Cao Cao (granted, there are many reasons why Guan Yu left, but there were plenty of other men he could have served far more powerful than Liu Bei). And Liu Bei is not the sort to doom his men based on mere suspicion.


i really couldn't have put it any better myself, i am quite impressed :)

Just want to expand one point which i think is important. That last line i think is very important. This point is proven right after Yi Ling when Huang Quan was cut off from Yi and was forced to surrender his forces to Wei, Liu Bei was advised to execute Huang Quan's family as was standard practice for traitors. When Liu Bei heard this he said that it was his faulty judgement that put Huang Quan into that position and his family was not to be harmed and infact made sure they were taken care of. In fact his son became an acomplished general albit one who suffered the same fate as Zhang Fei.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Mon Feb 05, 2007 6:09 am

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:i really couldn't have put it any better myself, i am quite impressed :)


Just because modern interpretation is unfairly and utterly lopsided in favor of Liu Bei doesn't mean he doesn't deserve a great deal of credit for being a benevolent and capable ruler. He wouldn't have gotten to his position if he didn't display a great deal of skill and fair-mindedness. I feel that, in the rush to embrace history, people are judging Liu Bei a bit too harshly.

Not Guan Yu though. :twisted:

I just think that, too often, once we learn that a conception we have of a person is somewhat mistaken, we make the wrong assumption and assume the exact opposite.

Plain and simple: Liu Bei did not take the loss of human life lightly. Especially his officers. For the vast majority of the time, he followed a path of righteousness, albeit not absolute righteousness. He can hardly be blamed for most of his actions. (We can say the same of many others of the era, of course.)
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