Cao Cao vs. Zhuge Liang

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Unread postby PrimeMinister Bu Zhi » Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:00 am

Wheater or not Tao Qian didn't kill him, it doesn't matter. What gets out to the people will simply be that yes, he did kill him. Thus he has huge support.
Lu Xun- "After much observation of how Liu Bei had been leading troops in his career, I see that he had more failures than success; hence, he is not much of a threat."
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Unread postby Xiahou Mengde88 » Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:12 am

Quote:
In Xuzhou,Cao's plan,though brutal, was brilliant.Destroy Tao Qian by completely removing his ability to make war on anyone.The strongest man will fall if you baseball bat his knees.


I must greatly disagree. This is a huge strategic error and was obviously done by an angry arrogant Cao Cao at the time, he wasn't thinking enough. Why defeat him so much? Tao Qian was a tiny little person with a tiny little army and he's about as powerfull as Wang Lang. You used to say Lu Xun was bad for his ploy at Xiangyang. This is to a far greater level. Cao Cao kills a population that can easily be conqeured and become his own. This is the level of brutality that disregards strategy. Everyone was too afraid to speak against it, since Cao was so mad.

Anyway, this is a stupid strategy, not even strategy at all. He could have just conquered Tao and gained the population. Instead, he foolishly killed them. In the end he got Xuzhou and it's really stupid to do this because it's his own population.



Master Fu Xi said it pretty well; Cao Cao was angry for the death of his father, and would not stop until Tao Qian's forces had been run into the ground.

After he heard the news, Cao Cao said, quote, ""Tao Qian's people have slain my father: No longer can the same sky cover us! I will sweep Xuzhou off the face of the earth. Only thus can I satisfy my vengeance.".

Keyword: "people"; As far as he was concerned, no one in Tao Qian's territory was innocent, as they had either been one of the people to try and kill him, or they had been a person who did nothing to help Cao Song, as well as the rest of Cao's family, while they were being chased. (Of course, most people were probably asleep, and therefore, heard nothing, but you know how emotional Ancient Chinese generals sometimes got, therefore blinding them to a little detail.)

But, anyway, they would kill anyone in the way of getting to Tao Qian, and one could argue that he was actually merciful to some officers, considering the fact:

1. Chen Gong had tried to talk Cao Cao out of attacking Tao Qian, but Cao Cao would not listen to him, because he couldn't trust a man who had once abandoned him, and all of a sudden, shows up to give him advice. I'm surprised he didn't kill Chen Gong, right there. But when he eventually did, it was Chen's own decision, which Cao actually cried over.

2. He spared Zhang Liao, who also indirectly got in his way of getting to Tao Qian.

3. He didn't spare Lu Bu, but that was for reasons that both him and Liu Bei had.


But anyway, about saying that he massacred the citizens of Xuzhou isn't exactly accurate; Cao Cao didn't tell the citizens, "Get out of the way, as all who don't shall be killed.", but he didn't say to his officers, "Slay any citizen in your way...and while you're at it, go ahead and cut down every single citizen in sight.", either.

And besides, even if he had killed all the citizens of Xuzhou, (which he didn't, by the way), what would it matter when he has quite a lot of troops in the first place, and can gain 10,000 troops as quickly as saying, "Surrender, troops, to the will of Cao Cao" (which was similar to something he actually said to gain 10,000 troops), and when you yourself said that Tao Qian had a small, easily conquerable army, anyway?
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Unread postby Cao Ah Man » Mon Sep 20, 2004 2:14 am

Y'know Bu Zhi, I kinda have to agree with you on Cao Cao loses his temper. I love Cao Cao he's my personal hero, but if there's one thing about Cao, ist that he is slightly compulsive, and may act too quickly and regret it down the road. For example Xun Wenruo and Xun You and when he speared the guy before Chibi. Of course Cao Cao's best ability was looking in the long term more than the short term. As to the raging debate about his actions in Xu Zhou....think the Red army in WWII. Except on a much grander scale. You have Russians who have lost family members and there people have suffered, look what happened to the East Germans when the Russians went on the offensive. Of course, that was an entire population, wheras the entire Cao clan in on a bit of different scale, but I think thats the reason he went wild.
(kind of Ironic isn't it that Tao Qian wanted to be Cao Cao's friend, isnt it...?)

Also, can you name any successful leaders of who weren't ruthless in some way? And I mean political leaders, not people like MLK,(whom I love) or Gandhi. Ambitious people are ruthless.
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Unread postby Separation Anxiety » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:02 am

Cao Cao was the most effective man. Zhuge could not touch him. Shu was showing weakness when Zhuge was PM, while the Han was steadily rising in power as Cao Cao was PM. Caos brutal tactics were very effective. He was feared, which was what these tactics were used for. They aren't called scare tactics because they remind you of a clown. He was a legalist. It was his belief that if you do something wrong and its under your own free will you will be punished. I would not spare an army that had just tried to fight me off. If they welcomed me with open arms I would reward them, but if they spurned me and defended I would annihilate them and kill them. War is ruthless. Liu Bei never got anywhere because he was a "virtuous" individual. Cao Cao was the most powerful man in China. Zhuge Liang simply did not have it in him to beat Cao Cao. Intelligence isn't everything. And if you remember. Cao Caos SGZ accomplishment out weigh even Zhuge Liangs SGZ by a landslide.

No contest Cao Cao was more brutal, more efficient and unforgiving. These are the makings of a military genius. Zhuge would go down in history as just a pebble in the road to Cao Cao's domination.
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Unread postby PrimeMinister Bu Zhi » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:04 am

Killing the population is tyrany. Cao Cao of course deserves credit for winning unlike tyrants such as Hitler who slaughter the populance. I really don't care about morality. If everyone loved Cao for killing Xu people, then I love him to. I care about the strategic value of things. Brutality such as this can be avoided in most cases and this is one of them.
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Unread postby Rommel » Mon Sep 20, 2004 4:21 pm

Situation was that Cao Cao's home base was being attacked. Once Cao Cao gave up his newly acquired land and withdrew from Xu Zhou, a still hostile land, he might face a counterattack/chase from Tao Qian. Cao Cao might be easily trapped in a two front war.

I have questioned how many people Cao Cao ordered to kill. What we need to look at is that if Xu Zhou became a deserted or ghosted town after Cao Cao left. How long did Xu Zhou recovered from "XuZhou massacre"? Did Xu Zhou population diminish dramatically after "XuZhou massacre"? The immediate effect of the incident was that Tao Qian couldn't mount an offense against Cao Cao in a short period of time.

Killing innocent people is wrong but how can you distinguish innocent people from enemy in a hostile state? Mercy kings/leaders will never succeed in chaotic time except they live on fantasy lands in Japanese cartoons 8-) .
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Unread postby PrimeMinister Bu Zhi » Mon Sep 20, 2004 9:52 pm

When enemies enter a city, it usually surrenders. They aim to kill every soldier.
Otherwise, it's a feild battle and no civilains involved.
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Unread postby Exar Kun » Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:04 am

PrimeMinister Bu Zhi wrote:I care about the strategic value of things. Brutality such as this can be avoided in most cases and this is one of them.


Yet you have yet to suggest a feasible alternative to what he did.If you can't suggest something then you must admit that Cao Cao's plan,though brutal,achieved all strategic goals in an efficient fashion.

Rommer wrote:I have questioned how many people Cao Cao ordered to kill. What we need to look at is that if Xu Zhou became a deserted or ghosted town after Cao Cao left. How long did Xu Zhou recovered from "XuZhou massacre"? Did Xu Zhou population diminish dramatically after "XuZhou massacre"? The immediate effect of the incident was that Tao Qian couldn't mount an offense against Cao Cao in a short period of time.


Hmm...for some reason 200,000 is only popping into my mind.I think that may be how many he killed.But then again that's also how many soldiers Xiang Yu buried and my mind is already on defending Cao Cao when HE buried 70,000 soldiers.
Either way,he killed quite a few.It was said that the bodies filled up the river and caused it to run red or something like that.
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Unread postby PrimeMinister Bu Zhi » Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:15 am

Let's see.. A plan to beat Tao Qian and lose land to Lu Bu. That shouldn't be too hard:

Cao Cao invades Xuzhou, kills Tao and his military officials and then abondones it. Either way, Lu Bu will take Xuzhou, and either way Xuzhou is open to outside invasion. But this one involves less killing of the innocent and actually achieves true revenge by killing Tao Qian.
Lu Xun- "After much observation of how Liu Bei had been leading troops in his career, I see that he had more failures than success; hence, he is not much of a threat."
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Unread postby James » Tue Sep 21, 2004 12:23 am

Exar Kun wrote:But was his goal even to destroy Tao Qian at all.Marking Cao Cao's actions as a blaze of anger and brutality might fit with what happened but does it really fit with Cao Cao as a person.Such a streak of madness was never seen in him before and never again.So really,is it madness?

Of course it was. Cao Cao and Tao Qian were vicious enemies long before Tao Qian killed Cao Song. Cao Cao needed no excuse to march on him, and I’m sure would have gladly done it at any time, but this situation was probably more than he could handle, and given their previous history together I suspect he wouldn’t have forgiven it. Unable to take his land, Cao Cao takes his population. There is no other sound tactical explanation for it, I suspect it was simply a measure taken by him to strike out at an enemy he couldn’t claim the head of right away.

Was the campaign carried out from beginning to end in anger? Probably not, actually. I’m sure Cao Cao was upset and was attacking for revenge, but I do not imagine it would have clouded his mind that much. It was probably all very deliberate. His slaughter of the Xuzhou population on his exit was probably deliberate as well, and that part, on the other hand, might have very well taken place with vengeance in mind, rather than planning for the future. Like I said, Cao Cao did not need to take those actions to defeat this enemy, but he did regardless. What does that tell us?

Exar Kun wrote:First is that Tao Qian killed,knowlingly,the father of a known warlord.That really can only mean an act of war by Tao Qian.You don't go around killing the close family of warlords for fun certainly.So therefore Cao Cao now has a quarrel with Tao Qian,started by Qian.

An act of war was not necessary, because the two were already long-time rivals.
Cao Cao and Tao Qian hated one another long before Cao Song’s death.

Exar Kun wrote:Secondly is of course the humiliation and face Cao Cao lost,as well as his duty to avenge his family.This would certainly mean that he must act sooner rather than later.If he allows Tao Qian to strike such a blow and go unpunished then what message is Cao Cao sending?None save:"I am weak."In a time when perception could easily cause another warlord to strike at you and all warlords want to look as good as possible to attract the services of worthy men,can Cao Cao afford for his character to take such a hit?I should not think so.

This is out of character for Cao Cao. Numerous times in his career he has accepted defeat without lashing out at the populace, so why would this instance be an exception? Furthermore, the message sent with this action is much more blatant than ‘I am weak’ or ‘I am strong’. How could a person honestly believe the instance of slaughtering the populace in what, certainly, was deemed by all who were aware of it to be an act of anger and vengeance would come across as a virtue, in terms of strength of anything else? It would only provide fuel to those who wish to oppose him, an indication of tyranny and untrustworthiness, and certainly would do him no favors among the educated populace. I do not see how the true tactical advantage of this action can be argued in Cao Cao’s favor—it was a tactical mistake.

PrimeMinister Bu Zhi wrote:You know what I think. That it fits Cao Cao perfectly.
That's not the only atrocity he's commited. If anything, he would be the guy who goes around killing family members for fun.

How does this fit Cao Cao’s personality perfectly? I hope you aren’t mixing the historical Cao Cao up with the Sanguo yanyi Cao Cao, because there are major differences between them. We discussed once here what happened when he buried Yuan Shao’s troops alive (which is debatable considering the number of troops involved), or at the very least slaughtered them to a man, and it turns out that instance truly was an occasion in which he didn’t have many other tactical options. Where else in his military career has he been guilty of senseless butchery, at least on the scale that might lend us the right to classify his personality in this regard? He was actually very trustworthy to his men, welcomed talent from the enemy, punished traitors who could not be trusted, and looked out for the lowly peasant in many instances where other truer tyrants would have simply had them robbed. Xuzhou aside, Cao Cao is no grand villain.

Uiler wrote:From what I read in history books, Tao Qian didn't knowingly kill Cao Song. In fact he wanted to offer Cao Song his protection but some of his subordinates decided that the rich baggage train that Cao Song had was ripe for the pickings.

Sanguo yanyi, the source of this information, is no history book. What really happened was simply an enemy taking a stab at another enemy, both parties doing exactly what they wished to do. Tao Qian was no soft-hearted benevolent ruler as the Sanguo yanyi makes him out to be either.
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