Sun Tzu

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Sun Tzu

(so͞on dzo͞o), fl. c.500–320. B.C., name used by the unknown Chinese authors of the sophisticated treatise on philosophy, logistics, espionageespionage
, the act of obtaining information clandestinely. The term applies particularly to the act of collecting military, industrial, and political data about one nation for the benefit of another.
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, and strategy and tacticsstrategy and tactics,
in warfare, related terms referring, respectively, to large-scale and small-scale planning to achieve military success. Strategy may be defined as the general scheme of the conduct of a war, tactics as the planning of means to achieve strategic objectives.
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 known as The Art of War. It includes many commentaries by later Chinese philosophers. The core text was probably written by one person during a time of expanding feudal conflicts, but the exact century is uncertain. Most authorities now support a date early in the Warring States period (c.453–221 B.C.). This work has deeply influenced Chinese, Vietnamese, and Japanese military thinking and has enjoyed growing popularity among businessmen. It stresses the unpredictability of battle, the importance of deception and surprise, the close relationship between politics and military policy, and the high costs of war. The futility of seeking hard and fast rules and the subtle paradoxes of success are major themes. The best battle, Sun Tzu says, is the battle that is won without being fought. See guerrilla warfareguerrilla warfare
[Span.,=little war], fighting by groups of irregular troops (guerrillas) within areas occupied by the enemy. When guerrillas obey the laws of conventional warfare they are entitled, if captured, to be treated as ordinary prisoners of war; however, they are
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.

Bibliography

See The Art of War (tr. by S. B. Griffith, 1971).