When holding meetings, Mao Zedong liked to say that “three cobblers are the top of Zhugeliang”. On the one hand, it shows that he doesn’t think much of Zhugeliang’s military talent, on the other hand, it shows that he attaches great importance to collective wisdom.
In that era when people revered Zhugeliang as a God, Mao Zedong could clearly see the shortcomings of Zhugeliang, which reflected the wisdom of a military strategist. When people exclaimed that Zhugeliang “won his master at a bad time” and tried to find excuses for Zhugeliang’s failure, Mao Zedong knew very well that Zhugeliang’s defeat could not be blamed at a bad time, but only because he was not smart enough.
When analyzing the reasons for Zhugeliang’s failure, Mao Zedong said: “it started by mistake in Longzhong, and it was a thousand miles away and divided its forces by two. In the end, Guan Yu, Liu Bei and Zhugeliang were three-thirds strong and invincible.”
The reason why Mao Zedong said that Zhugeliang “mistakenly started in the Longzhong antithesis” is that Zhugeliang mentioned in the “Longzhong antithesis” that “when the world changes, he will order a general to send the troops of Jingzhou to Wanzhou and Luozhou, and the general will lead the people of Yizhou out of Qinchuan. Is there anyone who doesn’t have enough food to meet the general?” At first glance, Jingzhou and Yizhou are quite tempting. However, Mao Zedong was very clear that Jingzhou was thousands of miles away from Yizhou, and the separation of troops between the two places would inevitably make Liu Bei’s regiment lose more advantages in military strength. The result of the implementation of “Longzhong pair” was that Jingzhou, which Guan Yu guarded, was successfully attacked by Sun Quan’s army, and Guan Yu and his son died in Sun Quan’s hands. It can be said that the root cause of the decline of Shu Han was “Longzhong right”.
As Mao Zedong said, “Guan Yu, Liu Bei and Zhugeliang have three forces.” It refers to Guan Yu’s guarding Jingzhou, Liu Bei’s attacking Dongwu, and Zhugeliang’s northern expedition to the Central Plains. The “three forces” were launched in turn. The previous two troop divisions failed miserably, which resulted in the great loss of strength of the Shu Han Dynasty, and Zhugeliang’s Northern Expedition capital was very little. Therefore, Mao Zedong sighed: if we divide our troops by three, we will be invincible.
In the romance of the Three Kingdoms, the author borrows stories such as “fighting with Confucians”, “borrowing arrows from straw boats”, “borrowing the east wind skillfully” and “Huarong Dao”, making Zhugeliang almost the number one hero in the battle of Chibi. In fact, Zhou Yu should be the number one hero in the battle of Chibi.
Turn to “strategic issues in China’s revolutionary war” on page 204 of Volume I of selected works of Mao Zedong, There is a saying like this: “there are many examples in the history of Chinese wars that have been won in accordance with this principle. The famous wars, such as the Chenggao war of Chu and Han Dynasties, the Kunyang war of the new Han Dynasty, the Guandu war of Yuan Cao, the Chibi war of Wu and Wei dynasties, the Yi mausoleum war of Wu Shu, and the Feishui war of Qin and Jin Dynasties, were all won by the weak and the weak. The weak gave way first and then struck.” In this passage, Mao Zedong defined the battle of Chibi as “the battle of Chibi in the Wu and Wei Dynasties”, indicating that he did not think that Liu Bei and Zhugeliang had made much contribution to the battle of Chibi.
In 1953, Mao Zedong said in “the work of the Youth League should take into account the characteristics of young people” that “Cao Cao led a large army to the south of the Yangtze River to attack the Soochow. At that time, Zhou Yu was a ‘Youth League member’. At that time, the commander of the Soochow, Cheng Pu and other veteran generals refused to accept it. Later, he persuaded him to be the leader and won the battle.”. This passage shows Mao Zedong’s position. He believes that Zhou Yu, not Zhugeliang, was the number one hero in the battle of Chibi.
During Zhugeliang’s first northern expedition to the Central Plains, Ma Su, the commander of the army, violated Zhugeliang’s restraint and acted inappropriately. As a result, he was broken by Zhang Jia, a general of the Wei Dynasty. As a result, Jieting, an important pass, fell into the hands of the enemy. Zhugeliang had to retreat to Hanzhong and perform a tragedy of “cutting ma Su with tears”.
In the performance of the “lost Street Pavilion” incident, storytelling and dramas in the past dynasties all focused on how Ma Su violated the regulation and how Zhugeliang strictly enforced the law. Mao Zedong had a unique view on this. He commented that “Liang Yi should personally face the battle in the first battle.” In Mao Zedong’s view, whether the Street Pavilion can be firmly guarded or not is related to the success or failure of the entire campaign. How can such a major task be entrusted to a person without actual combat experience? Moreover, even if people are sent to defend Jieting, they should constantly send troops to reinforce it. If Jieting is in danger, even Zhugeliang himself should go to direct it himself and launch a decisive battle with the enemy.
Although Cao Cao has always been a “villain” in traditional dramas and novels, Mao Zedong has a high evaluation of Cao Cao. Mao Zedong once said that Cao Cao reformed many evil policies in the Eastern Han Dynasty, curbed the powerful and powerful, developed production, implemented the system of stationing farmland, urged the reclamation of wasteland, promoted the legal system, and advocated thrift, so that the society that suffered great damage began to stabilize, recover and develop. Isn’t that great?
Mao Zedong once talked with the staff around him about Cao Cao, saying: “Cao Cao ended the situation of the mixed warfare among the haos at the end of the Han Dynasty, restored the vast plains on both sides of the Yellow River, and paved the way for the later reunification of the Western Jin Dynasty.”
On one occasion, Mao Zedong heard his accompanying doctor say that Cao Cao was a “white faced treacherous minister”. He immediately retorted: “bullshit! Saying that Cao Cao was a white faced treacherous minister is written in the book, played in the play, and said by the common people. It was an unjust case created by feudal orthodoxy. Those reactionary literati monopolized culture, wrote things and fooled and poisoned the common people. We should turn over this case!”
Mao Zedong liked Cao Cao’s poems very much. He thought that Cao Cao’s poems were magnificent, generous and sad. They were real men and big. When talking with his children, he also said: “Cao Cao’s articles and poems are very natural, straightforward, open-minded, and should be learned.”