What if Cao Pi listened to Liu Ye?

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What if Cao Pi listened to Liu Ye?

Unread postby Mega Zarak » Tue Aug 05, 2003 7:52 am

When Liu Bei launched an expedition against Wu at 221 A.D. (subsequently known as the battle of Yi Ling), Sun Quan sent a messanger to Wei to sue for peace and "surrender". During then, according to Fu Zi (in Liu Ye's SGZ biography), the following exchange took place between Liu Ye and Cao Pi:

Liu Ye's SGZ biography with reference to Fu Zi wrote:孙权遣使求降,帝以问晔。晔对曰:“权无故求降,必内有急。权前袭杀关羽,取荆州四郡,备怒,必大兴师伐之。外有强寇,众心不安,又恐中国承其衅而伐之,故委地求降,一以卻中国之兵,二则假中国之援,以强其众而疑敌人。权善用兵,见策知变,其计必出於此。今天下三分,中国十有其八。吴、蜀各保一州,阻山依水,有急相救,此小国之利也。今还自相攻,天亡之也。宜大兴师,径渡江袭其内。蜀攻其外,我袭其内,吴之亡不出旬月矣。吴亡则蜀孤。若割吴半,蜀固不能久存,况蜀得其外,我得其内乎!”帝曰:“人称臣降而伐之,疑天下欲来者心,必以为惧,其殆不可!孤何不且受吴降,而袭蜀之后乎?”对曰:“蜀远吴近,又闻中国伐之,便还军,不能止也。今备已怒,故兴兵击吴,闻我伐吴,知吴必亡,必喜而进与我争割吴地,必不改计抑怒救吴,必然之势也。”帝不听,遂受吴降,即拜权为吴王。


This translates to:

Sun Quan sent a messanger begging to surrender and the Emperor (Cao Pi) asked Liu Ye for his opinion.

Liu Ye said,

"Sun Quan begs for surrender with no clear reason and it is likely that he maybe having an internal crisis. Not long ago, Sun Quan launched a sneak attack against Guan Yu and managed to accquire the four prefectures of Jing province. That made Liu Bei extremely furious and he was likely to launched a massive punitive expedition against Wu. Faced with strong external opponents, the masses in Wu would be unsettled. They were scared of Zhong Guo (refering to Wei) taking the opportunity to attack them and thus they are now begging to surrender. By doing so, they will be ensure that we will not send our armies against them and also, they will strengthen themselves by claiming that they have the support of our armies and thus confusing the enemies. Sun Quan is well-versed with military matters and he knows how to adapt and change his strategies. Hence, he is the person who is most likely to come up with this scheme. Right now, the world is divided into three portions. Wei occupies eight out of ten of China while Wu and Shu occupy one province each, each having geographical advantages like mountains and rivers, and both can aid each other in times of needs. This is the advantage share by these small countries. However, right now, these two countries are at war with each other and Heaven spells doom for them. Hence, we should launch an expedition and cross the river to attack Wu from the inside. With Shu attacking the outside and we attacking the inside, it will not take more than a month or so to bring an end to Wu. With Wu gone, Shu will then be alone. Even if we allow Shu to occupy half of Wu's territory (in the aftermath), Shu will still not be able to survive. Furtheremore, Shu only gain the external part of Wu while we gain the internal regions!"

Cao Pi replied,

"When others have the intention to surrender and we attack them, it will bring fear to those who have intention to join Wei. This cannot be done! Why don't I accept Wu's surrender and launch a sneak attack at Shu's rear?"

Liu Ye replied,

"Shu is far and Wu is near, if Shu hears that we are going to attack them, they will retreat and there is nothing we can do to stop them. At this moment, Liu Bei is very angry and he attacks Wu. If he knows that we are going to attack Wu, he will be delighted and will advance his troops to compete with us for Wu's lands. Liu Bei will surely not change his plan and turn around to help Wu instead. This is surely the way how things will go. "

Cao Pi refused to listen and he accepted Wu's surrender. He even awarded Sun Quan the title of King of Wu.

Going by this exchange, what do you think would have happened if Cao Pi listened to Liu Ye's advice and refuse to accept Wu's surrender? Would everything that Liu Ye say came true? Cao Pi was not a stupid man so what made him stuck to his own opinion? :D
Last edited by Mega Zarak on Fri Aug 08, 2003 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby TheGreatNads » Tue Aug 05, 2003 8:18 am

Were there any rebellions that were not yet quelled, or anything like that, that would affect Cao Pi's decision? If not, then this would lead to the Three Kingdoms being a much shorter(And probably, not as interesting) war.
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Unread postby Antiochus » Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:01 pm

If Cao Pi would have attack Wu, Wu whould probably have fallen. Then Liu Bei would only have Yi, Han Zhong and a part of Jing to fight agaist Wei that would have the rest of China.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Fri Aug 08, 2003 9:11 am

TheGreatNads wrote:Were there any rebellions that were not yet quelled, or anything like that, that would affect Cao Pi's decision? If not, then this would lead to the Three Kingdoms being a much shorter(And probably, not as interesting) war.


Not sure about that Nads. I'd have to do some extensive checks which I'm too lazy at this moment. The thing is, if I remember correctly, Cao Pi attacked Wu shortly after Liu Bei was defeated. What do you think was the rationale behind such "irrational" behaviours? :D
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Unread postby Mengdez New Book » Fri Aug 08, 2003 5:54 pm

Great Deer wrote:Not sure about that Nads. I'd have to do some extensive checks which I'm too lazy at this moment. The thing is, if I remember correctly, Cao Pi attacked Wu shortly after Liu Bei was defeated. What do you think was the rationale behind such "irrational" behaviours? :D

I think Cao Pi had his own view in this matter. For him, being the new Emperor who stole from Han throne. Somehow he afraid that his position would not be that stable, so when Sun Quan came to 'surrender' to him and demoted himself. He thought it was a good chance to show other that he was indeed very liberal in his rules. And, if Sun Quan the great Lord could surrender to him, then other Lord around will do the same thing as well. Another thing would be Cao Pi had promised Sun Quan about his 'surrendered', it was not wise for a new Emperor and new kingdom to break his own promise. Then, another thing maybe in Cao Pi's mind would be, would it be great if i could take over the whole Dong Wu without using any armies while my great father even couldn't do it?

Cao Pi attacked Wu shortly after Liu Bei defeated because Sun Quan ignored to send hostage to Wei (BR, you should know this :twisted: ).
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Fri Aug 08, 2003 6:15 pm

Mengdez New Book wrote:Cao Pi attacked Wu shortly after Liu Bei defeated because Sun Quan ignored to send hostage to Wei (BR, you should know this :twisted: ).


hehehe..that was what we see on the face of it. However, the thing is, Sun Quan's surrender was never genuine. Why didn't Cao Pi see it in the first place? Even if Sun Quan didn't send hostage and stuff like that, don't you think that attacking Wu after Wu had won a great victory over Shu was a bad decision?

BR?...hmm...sounds familiar. :evil2:
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Unread postby Mengdez New Book » Sat Aug 09, 2003 10:05 am

Great Deer wrote:hehehe..that was what we see on the face of it. However, the thing is, Sun Quan's surrender was never genuine. Why didn't Cao Pi see it in the first place? Even if Sun Quan didn't send hostage and stuff like that, don't you think that attacking Wu after Wu had won a great victory over Shu was a bad decision?

BR?...hmm...sounds familiar. :evil2:

I think most probably inside Cao Pi's heart, Sun Quan didn't post any threat to Wei. For him, destroyed Liu Bei’s Han empire was far more important as he 'stole' away the throne from Han Xian Di. And, Liu Bei did give him an headache when he declared himself as the next Emperor of Han soon after Cao Pi became Wei Emperor. So, when Sun Quan messenger came, all Cao Pi thought about was attacking Shu-Han instead of Sun Quan. Then, when Liu Bei battled Lu Xun at Yi Ling, Cao Pi thought that he should became the one who took any advantage that would arise after the war. Anyway, Cao Pi's patient was being tested by Sun Quan where Sun Quan delayed to send the hostage to Wei. That’s why soon after Sun Quan won the war, Cao Pi attacked Wu coz the timing was there. No matter how, this incident showed Cao Pi's overall skill was far more 'lower' than his father, Cao Cao.

I feel more comfortable to call you BR as it remind me the scene of the massive killing in the movie. :evil2:
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Unread postby Cao Zhi » Sun Aug 10, 2003 9:49 am

Lu Xun can't be everywhere at once. If he fights Liu Bei, then Wei would capture the interior of Wu. If Boyan defends against Wei's invasion, Shu would have marched into Wu unopposed. Also, Zhang Liao and Cao Ren are still alive at this point, so Wei would have some very experienced officers leading the vanguard. But no matter who led Wei's army, I doubt the Wei general would have been emotionally distracted with something like enacting vengence for Guan Yu and Zhang Fei and make foolish mistakes as Liu Bei did at Yi Ling. Barring a miracle, Wei's invasion combined with Liu Bei's vengeful army means that Wu would have been destroyed. With no Wu to balance the power of Wei, it would only be a matter of time until Wei overpowered Shu. As with Lu Xun and Wu, Zhuge Liang can't be everywhere at once.

The Three Kingdoms period would have ended much sooner, and Luo Guanzhong's enjoyable novel would have been roughly 35 chapters shorter :wink:
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Unread postby Sun Bofu » Sun Aug 10, 2003 6:30 pm

I'd have to agree with what everyone is saying, Wu was not a threat to Wei at that time so Liu Ye's suggestion was irrelevant. I have a suggestion for the mods in this particuler sub-forum to take consideration, with many "What If?" threads being created why not start a "Sticky" thread with thta same theme?
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Unread postby Zhilong » Sun Aug 10, 2003 8:12 pm

Cao Pi attacked Wu shortly after Liu Bei defeated because Sun Quan ignored to send hostage to Wei
Why did he not give him a time limit for the acceptance of his surrender - that is send your son over within a specified time or else... after Shu is defeated they have much less leverage.

And even if they do send the prince as a hostage... i don't think it is as desirable as having the lands of wu under your own personal rule.

Attacking after seemed to be an attempt to rescue his own pride and was meant to be punitive in nature and thus not initiated because there was a real opportunity.
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