Sun Tzu says, “It is essential to seek out enemy agents who have come to spy against you and bribe them to serve you.” In The Art of War, double agents are the most important spies.
That is what the Allies did in World War II before the Normandy Invasion of France. No one used double agents better than the British did.
Britain turned almost every spy Germany sent during the war. These double agents made the Germans believed the invasion would take place at Pas de Calais and not Normandy.
Sun Tzu says, “The way a wise general can achieve greatness beyond ordinary men is through foreknowledge.” The allies had foreknowledge because they broke the German code and knew what the Germans were thinking and planning.
Sun Tzu would have praised the allied preparation for the invasion and the use of deception but he would have condemned the actual assault.
Sun Tzu says, “When a falcon’s strike breaks the body of its prey, it is because of timing. When torrential water tosses boulders, it is because of momentum.”
Sun Tzu believes that the best attack can be ruined if momentum is lost, and he would have predicted the cost of lives during the Normandy invasion more than two-thousand years before it took place.
An example of how hard the Chinese work stands in the Great Wall of China and the Grand Canal. To understand the significance, we will look at the Suez and Panama Canals first as a comparison.
China’s Grand Canal
In the 19th century, the French built a canal 100 miles across the Isthmus of Suez. When it opened, the Suez Canal was only 25 feet deep, 72 feet wide at the bottom and 200 to 300 feet wide at the surface. About 20,000 ships use the canal each year. Source: History.com
The Panama Canal was started in 1881 by the French but ended a failure. The Americans finished the canal between 1904 – 1914. The canal was 51-miles long. Today, it handles over 12,000 ships a year. Source: The Panama Canal
When I was in grade school, we learned about the Panama Canal in glowing terms. I’m sure the French and British brag about the Suez Canal in their textbooks too.
Until my first trip to China in 1999, I had never heard of the Grand Canal, which is the oldest and longest man-made canal in the world at more than a thousand miles from Beijing to Hangzhou south of Shanghai.
China’s Grand Canal
The construction started almost five hundred years before the birth of Jesus Christ and was completed centuries later. The canal is still in use today. To finish it, the Pound lock was invented in the 10th century during the Song Dynasty. There are 24 locks and about 60 bridges. Source: Wikipedia
The history of the Summer Palace starts with the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234) when the Golden Hill Palace was built in the present site of the Summer Palace. The Summer Palace that exists today dates back to Kublai Khan (Yuan Dynasty – 1277-1367). In 1750, Emperor Qian Long (Ch’ing Dynasty – 1644 -1911) had canals built leading to Kunming Lake, which was enlarged to serve as a reservoir for Beijing and is still in use today. He built palaces on the hill to celebrate his mother’s birthday.
In 1860, during the Second Opium War, a combined British-French military force invaded Beijing and destroyed many of the buildings. Twenty-eight years later, the Dowager Empress Ci Xi’s brother-in-law rebuilt and expanded the palaces using money (when he was the leader of China’s the navy) that was meant to modernize the Chinese navy.
After the Ch’ing Dynasty was swept aside during the 1911 rebellion, this new Summer Palace was opened to the public. In 1990, the Summer Palace was designated a world heritage site by the United Nations.
This “site” has more pictures and information about the Summer Palace.
This “video” shows the Summer Palace from the main gate to Suzhou Street where Emperors went to be entertained.