Cao Cao's Failure: Military Mistakes or Lack of Time?

Join the Romance of the Three Kingdoms discussion with our resident Scholars. Topics relating to the novel and history are both welcome. Don't forget to check the Forum Rules before posting.
Kongming’s Archives: Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms Officer Biographies
Three Kingdoms Officer Encyclopedia
Scholars of Shen Zhou Search Tool

Cao Cao's Failure: Military Mistakes or Lack of Time?

Unread postby Lu Kang » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:33 pm

Cao Cao's biggest failure was not uniting the lands of Han China by the time he died. He tried, but failed. He attempted to go through Jing and Yang and was close to mounting an attack on Yi. In the end though his failure led to 60 years of nearly constant warfare until China was reunited. Time that eventually allowed his second biggest mistake (bringing the xiongnu into the interior) to grow the point where it destroyed "Han Chinese" rule for several hundred years. Keep in mind that he had from 208 until what we will assume would always be his death in 220. That's 12 years. In that time he launched his infamous Han Zhong and Chi Bi campaigns, two assaults on Ru Xu and an expidition into Liangzhou.

Anyways, do you think that Cao Cao failed to united China becuase he made his own mistakes or was it a lack of time? Did his mistakes create a position for his enemies that no attack would be able to root them out? Or would he have defeated them with enough time?
无口为天,有口为吴,君临万邦,天子之都
Historical Post
Lu Kang
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 1:04 am

Unread postby Sun Gongli » Tue Aug 28, 2007 1:44 pm

A lack of time almost certainly had something to do with it, but there's more. Although Cao Cao did suffer a few heavy defeats from his enemies - being Zhang Xiu, Chibi, Ruxu, and Dingjunshan come to mind - this can be attributed to the quality of opposition he was facing. Liu Bei and Sun Quan may not have been as talented as Cao Cao himself, but their subordinates were of the highest quality. In addition, to attack Wu, his only real choice was to attack via a river, which proved unsuccessful on multiple occasions - Wu had mastered naval warfare, and they would not be surpassed in that capacity until Jin invaded.

Shu, in the meantime, was quickly gaining territory and allies in the west and handling things very well in Hanzhong. And even though I'll be the first to criticize Guan Yu's abilities, he was, at the very least, able to put enough pressure on Cao Cao that any advance into Jing province would've been impossible.

So, basically, it's not Cao Cao's fault. ;)
"There are those who try to shape the world to their own whim,
and then there are those who allow the world to shape them.
It is in the balance that greatness is achieved."
User avatar
Sun Gongli
Poo Poo Pants
 
Posts: 4058
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:56 am
Location: Spies destroy everything I create!

Unread postby Shi Tong » Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:31 pm

Interesting.

It's not Cao Cao's fault?

Qin Shi Huang had 26 years to unite China, so maybe he had more time than Cao Cao, but then Alexander the great only had 13 years as king of Macedonia and he took over Persia and was undefeated in battle...

I would have thought that there were a combination of factors against Cao Cao, and in a lot of ways I agree with Sun Gongli, but then again, I cant help feel like Cao Cao could have done more to get into Wu and Shu.

Namely he should have spotted his weakened army at Chi Bi and attempted to strengthen them.

He should have listened to Cheng Yu on that one.

I cant see how Wu would have got much stronger, but I can see how Cao Cao could- and Liu Bei isn't necessarily going to stick around for the s*it to hit the fan, so Sun Quan may have been left quite weak against a stronger army at Chi Bi had Cao Cao paid more attention to his troops strengths and given them some naval training in order to win the battle.

I feel that sometimes Cao Cao was too willing to go with the morale and not listen to his advisers when he thought he couldn't lose, which he did do relatively frequently.
User avatar
Shi Tong
Stupid Egg of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 4034
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:12 pm
Location: London, England

Unread postby Shadowlink » Tue Aug 28, 2007 2:53 pm

It wasnt Cao Cao's fault, it was all Wu's fault for holding out and having alot of talent.
The only mistake he did was call Liu Bei a Hero which he saw through Liu Bei's ambition and that made Liu Bei leave his service and become a thorn.
User avatar
Shadowlink
Langzhong
 
Posts: 4883
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 5:57 pm

Unread postby Shi Tong » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:30 pm

It wasnt Cao Cao's fault, it was all Wu's fault for holding out and having alot of talent.
The only mistake he did was call Liu Bei a Hero which he saw through Liu Bei's ambition and that made Liu Bei leave his service and become a thorn.


There have been so many talented people who oppose other talented people who have then later been defeated- take the Xiang Yu- Liu Bang saga- neither can be to blame, only the person who wins is generally more talented.

Either that or they hit some great luck.

Did Cao Cao call Liu Bei a hero historically as well?

I think Cao Cao made a few more mistakes than that BTW- especially leading unwell untrained men towards Chi Bi only to be burnt and die of illness later.

Great one Cao.
User avatar
Shi Tong
Stupid Egg of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 4034
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:12 pm
Location: London, England

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:49 pm

If a man had ambition then nothing Cao Cao really said was going to change that.

It is possible that Wu might never have been conquered while Cao Cao was alive no matter what he did but Cao Cao tended to make the wrong choice at key moments after Guan Du. Ignored Jia Xu at Chi Bi, provoked a fight with Ma Chao and got bogged down for awhile in a silly fight, failed to push on while Liu Bei was weak in Shu so yes, I think Cao Cao has to take a large amount of blame
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 14378
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Unread postby Shadowlink » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:54 pm

If a man had ambition then nothing Cao Cao really said was going to change that.
Well it did make Liu Bei leave faster. He was worried already since Cao Cao saw through him. It was one mistake he did, he alway knew Liu Bei was a hero but he was probably drunk and mistakenly said it. Even if Liu Bei was a Hero Cao Cao underestimated him since Liu Bei had no army of his own, he was alway borrowing (somehow it work) because Liu Bei had alot of chr.
User avatar
Shadowlink
Langzhong
 
Posts: 4883
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 5:57 pm

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:09 pm

Cao Cao calls him a great hero and indeed his bio seems to find it less humiliating saying Liu Bei beat him at Chi Bi, I'm not sure underestimating is a problem he had with Liu Bei's abilities.

Shaodow, I thought the huge Yuan army and the Dong Cheng plot played a bigger part then a supposedly drunk (honestly, where it say he was drunk?) Cao Cao saying anything?
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 14378
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Unread postby Shadowlink » Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:36 pm

Sorry I was watching a Chinese program about this so Im not 100% sure. It said that he alway thought of Liu Bei as a hero but his mistake was to actually say it (meaning something happen that cause him to say it). He deeply regreted letting Liu Bei go later.
User avatar
Shadowlink
Langzhong
 
Posts: 4883
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2002 5:57 pm

Unread postby Zhilong » Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:46 pm

Shi Tong wrote:Interesting.

It's not Cao Cao's fault?

Qin Shi Huang had 26 years to unite China, so maybe he had more time than Cao Cao, but then Alexander the great only had 13 years as king of Macedonia and he took over Persia and was undefeated in battle...


Qin's triumph over the other states took much longer in reality since the groundwork and generations of reforms were already undertaken before Ying Zheng was enthroned.

Neither Qin Shi Huang nor Alexanders empire endured for long after their death. Both of them inherited regimes whereas Cao Cao had to create his from scratch.
"You weaver of mats! You plaiter of straw shoes! You have been smart enough to get possession of a large region and elbow your way into the ranks of the nobles. I was just going to attack you, and now you dare to scheme against me! How I detest you!"
Zhilong
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 952
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 5:22 am
Location: Shang Fong Valley with petrol bombs waiting for yours truly.

Next

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved