Cao Cao's Subordinates

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Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby Human5 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:11 am

Cao Cao was known to be the traitor of the Han, and an evil man of many bad deeds. He also had a lot of subordinates working to him and pledging their lives to his cause. Are they evil too? Could they be "bad guys" just because they serve Cao Cao and his cause? If Cao Cao was so evil, why would great warriors such as Xu Chu and Zhang He join him instead of serving the Han Dynasty?
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby fritz » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:15 am

I always kind of assumed Cao Cao's "evilness" was inflated luo guanzhong. On the other hand, if Cao Cao was very evil, then it could be that all of his subordinates wanted a piece of the power.

Lots of people followed Hitler to Hell, y'know.

EDIT: Also, I'm not sure if everyone viewed the Han as virtuous. Its quite likely that many people saw it as corrupt, or dieing and did not want to join the sinking ship.
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby Human5 » Sun Jun 19, 2011 12:17 am

fritz wrote:I always kind of assumed Cao Cao's "evilness" was inflated Lu Guang Zhong.

I find this quite true, because I remember being told that the book was written in Shu territory.
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby Lady Wu » Sun Jun 19, 2011 1:17 am

It kinda depends on how you define "evil".

Since Cao Cao took the court under his wing, basically if you served in the Han court you'd be serving under Cao Cao as well. Cao Cao did start out protecting the Han, in a way---after all he reunited a lot of the land that was torn apart by warlords, and he himself did not usurp the throne. Lots of people who served Cao Cao were true Han loyalists (like Xun Yu), and Cao Cao did have a place for them until they really got in the way.
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby Rydain » Sun Jun 19, 2011 4:56 am

Cao Cao's supposed evilness was more like ruthlessness exaggerated by folk tales and various propaganda. Some of it, such as the massacre of Xu province, can arguably be unjustifiable even by the standards of the time. Still, the other major warlords had similar "evil" acts on record - even if not as severe - and Cao Cao had enough fairness and concern for his people to be legitimately admirable even if we can accept his worst actions without trying to explain them away.

As to his subordinates, people oftentimes didn't have a way to shop around for the ideal leader. Some of Cao Cao's men were family who joined him during the coalition against Dong Zhuo, which likely seemed more sensible to them than trying to forge warlord credibility of their own (assuming that they had the resources and desire to even try). Others, like Xu Huang, chose Cao Cao over a less competent or recently defeated lord. As mentioned, Cao Cao absorbed the Han court as well.

I doubt that everyone under Cao Cao's wing was power hungry. Their loyalty could have come down to simple commitment to their service or admiration for his accomplishments. Cao Cao was known for a slew of reforms from agricultural colonies to accessible schooling, and he also had anti-classist tendencies that some may have appreciated. His subordinates with ministerial and administrative appointments would certainly have been aware of this, which could have strengthened their loyalty even if they disagreed with some of his harshness.
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby jiang cheng » Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:22 am

I doubt that he is exactly evil, he had provinces under him growing steady and peacefully other than those border regions.

He did not do anything funny to his people. Growth actually happen because of him steadying the provinces.

I believed that many followed him cos they think that he would be the one who would be the most likely to bring peace to the entire china and hopefully for some, to re-establish the Han dynasty again.
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:54 am

Nobody seems to have quite gone the lengths Cao Cao did in Xu and very few would have used diplomacy to chase a childhood rival and have him sent back from Jiaozhi so the warlord could kill them. Cao Cao could be extremely brutal, if anything I think the novel softens that edge but makes him more obviously Han disloyal, and there is decent case for saying he was evil.

Are they evil too? Could they be "bad guys" just because they serve Cao Cao and his cause?


We do judge men by who they serve to an extent if we consider one side blatantly evil (but we tend not to with the three kingdoms) but we also judge men by their deeds

If Cao Cao was so evil, why would great warriors such as Xu Chu and Zhang He join him instead of serving the Han Dynasty?


Why would they commit career suicide for a dynasty that the gentry didn't care about (for most part) and which the people revolted against on mass in 184? Remember Zhang He had served Yuan Shao, who had refused to rescue the Emperor, so Zhang He doesn't seem to have been a Han loyalist.

Lady Wu wrote:It kinda depends on how you define "evil".

Since Cao Cao took the court under his wing, basically if you served in the Han court you'd be serving under Cao Cao as well. Cao Cao did start out protecting the Han, in a way---after all he reunited a lot of the land that was torn apart by warlords, and he himself did not usurp the throne. Lots of people who served Cao Cao were true Han loyalists (like Xun Yu), and Cao Cao did have a place for them until they really got in the way.


True to first part and to an extent I agree with the second.

Han loyalists were a part of Cao Cao's court. Most came when he took Emperor Xian in though Xun Yu served before hand as he felt Cao Cao was the Han's best hope.Some were resigned to the Han's fate and either changed loyalties in the end or walked away (Yang Biao, though he had very good reason), some tried to change it through Cao Cao (Xun Yu), some tried to kill Cao Cao (Dong Cheng). It was a double edged sword for Cao Cao.

Cao Cao's officer core would have had a lot who joined due to 1) family or superior joining him so they went along too, 2) location, particularly as he expanded his reach further, 3) the officers of warlords he defeated. To those who didn't fall into his ranks, there are several reasons why they might have served him, reasons that don't make them evil. Cao Cao was a scholar in a way most warlords weren't which would have got the interest of some gentry, he was a man who already had a wide range of acquittance/friends from his early days (Han Sui and Cai Mao two of the more famous ones) which would have spread his fame. Cao Cao was charismatic which would have helped, for the ambitious there was the good mix of his being extremely capable and badly needing officers (see Jia Xu's discussion with Zhang Xiu). There were those who, judging by their conversations on the matter, joined because they felt Cao Cao's strict administration was the best path for the land. After a certain point, many perhaps joined because they thought Cao Cao would win.

There is disagreement on Cao Cao being evil nowadays and I doubt during their own time, he was widely viewed as evil. Officers no doubt served him for a variety of reasons, some more or less noble then others, but I would certainly hesitate to call Wei the baddies.

On the issue of why people serve evil: many reasons. Location, family, ambition, they believe in whatever cause the leader is espousing. Many of the great evil rulers that were successful to any extent were able and very charismatic men but doesn't mean all their subordinates were bad. Depends on their actions.
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby ROTKobsessed » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:16 pm

a lot of Cao Cao's early support was from his family, who may have supported him from loyalty or just for future wealth and power. Xu Chu and Dian Wei were brutes of very low intelligence, especially with Xu Chu which I think is mentioned that on Cao Cao's ceremony of becoming Prince that Xu Chu didn't have any opinions on the han because he was just a brute
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby DragonAtma » Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:34 am

...

Neither xu chu nor dian wei were stupid. KMA, on Xu Chu leading an army against Zhang Xiu:

When the attack on Zhang Xiu was made, [Xu Chu] led the attack; it was calculated that he beheaded ten thousand men. Xu Chu was then transferred to be a Colonel (xiao wei).


Wikipedia, on Dian Wei:
Dian Wei was placed in command of hundreds of Cao Cao's personal guards, who patrolled around Cao's tent.[6] Dian Wei was a robustly built fighter, so the guards under his command were specially selected by him. During battle, Dian Wei and his men were always the first to charge into the enemy formation. Dian Wei was later promoted to Colonel (校尉).[7]


It's true that neither of them are as smart as Zhuge Liang, Jia Xu, or Lu Xun, but Xu Chu and DIan Wei were far from being morons; if they were, how would they reach their ranks when so many other people would be unable to handle them?
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Re: Cao Cao's Subordinates

Unread postby ROTKobsessed » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:55 am

there's a difference between military intelligence and political intelligence, there's no doubt they had good military intelligence - it's sort of necessary for most generals


but i,m also not saying they were partially retarded like the DW series says
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