“Revenge”,

— the battle of Vietnam against Wu in 478 BC

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Wu and Yue were two vassal states located in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River at the end of the spring and Autumn period. From 510 B.C. to 475 B.C., Wu and Yue fought for hegemony in Jiangsu and Zhejiang for 35 years. This was the last battle of princes in the spring and Autumn period. After Wu’s war against Li, Yue’s war against Fu Jiao, Lize’s war against Wu and the siege of Suzhou, it ended with the demise of Wu and the victory of Yue. In the mutual attack of Wu and Yue, the excuse for launching war also changed.

“Gou Jian, king of Yue

in 514 BC, Helu ascended the throne of the state of Wu and appointed the former nobles of the state of Chu and Qi who fled to the state of Wu to reform internal affairs, expand the army and strengthen war preparedness. And formulated the strategic policy of “breaking and strengthening Chu in the west, weiqi and Jin in the north and subduing Yue people in the South”. At that time, the state of Yue, which occupied the current northern region of Zhejiang, had a narrow territory, a small population and relatively backward economic and cultural development. In order to unite the state of Yue to check and balance the state of Wu, the state of Chu actively supported the king of Yue Yunchang, so that the power of the state of Yue grew rapidly.

in 510 BC, the state of Wu began to attack the state of Yue in order to achieve the strategic goal of “serving the Vietnamese people in the South”. The war between the two countries began. You come and go, and began a long-term tug of war. In 506 BC, Helu led his army to attack Chu. The following spring, Yunchang took advantage of the emptiness in Wu and sent troops to attack Gusu, the capital of Wu. The king of Wu hurried to draw troops back for rescue. Yunchang knew that he could not defeat him, so he withdrew his troops and returned after the raid.

in 496 BC, Yun Chang died of illness and his son Gou Jian succeeded to the throne. In order to “subdue the Vietnamese people in the South”, King Helu of Wu took the opportunity of the unstable domestic political situation shortly after Gou Jian ascended the throne to lead the army to attack Vietnam. The two sides formed an array in Li (now the southwest of Jiaxing County, Zhejiang Province). Seeing Wu’s strict appearance, Gou Jian organized death squads to launch attacks several times in a row, all of which were repulsed by Wu. In this case, Gou Jian forced the prisoners who had committed the capital crime to be listed in three rows. He walked to the front of the Wu army with a sword and committed suicide together. Frightened by this crazy move, the soldiers of the Wu army rushed up to see what happened, and the formation of the Wu army was in chaos. The Vietnamese army took the opportunity to launch a surprise attack and defeated the Wu army. Helu himself was also injured and died. Before his death, he repeatedly warned his son Fu Chai: “revenge for me, don’t forget to cross!”.

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after he ascended the throne, he always kept in mind the Revenge of killing his father, and always inspired himself with his father’s last words of “never forget to cross”, trained day and night, actively prepared for war and prepared to send troops to attack Vietnam. In the spring of 494 BC, after learning that Fu Chai was ready to attack Vietnam, Gou Jian, king of Yue, did not listen to the advice of the minister and decided to send troops to attack Wu under the condition of insufficient preparation. Fu Chai sent all the elite soldiers of the state of Wu to meet Fu jiao (now southwest of Suzhou, Jiangsu). Under the slogan of “never forget Vietnam”, Wu Jun shared a common hatred of the enemy and fought bravely. The Vietnamese army retreated one after another with heavy losses, leaving only 5000 people to retreat to Kuaiji mountain. The Wu army pursued the victory and occupied Kuaiji, the capital of Vietnam, and then surrounded Kuaiji mountain. At the critical juncture of life and death, Fan Li, a doctor of the state of Yue, proposed humiliation and perfection, and advocated using humble words and generous gifts to beg for surrender to Wu. If not, Gou Jian would personally go to the state of Wu as a hostage. Gou Jian adopted this proposal. While preparing for a deadly war, he sent Wenzhong to ask King Wu for peace, bribed Wu taizai Bohai with beautiful women and treasures, asked him to mediate, persuaded Fu Chai to allow the state of Yue to be a subsidiary of Wu, and declared that if the state of Wu did not allow it, the state of Yue would break through the bridge and fight to the end with the state of Wu.

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Wu Zixu of the state of Wu believed that “if we do not destroy Vietnam today, we will regret it later”. It is better to destroy Vietnam than to dominate the Central Plains. He also saw the ambition to destroy Wu hidden behind the despicable words and courtesies of the state of Yue. Therefore, he firmly advocated the complete elimination of Vietnam, otherwise, we will suffer from carbuncle and carbuncle. But Fu Chai still did not forget his father’s dream of dominating the Central Plains at this time, and thought that since the state of Yue had surrendered, it existed in name only and had avenged itself. Therefore, he promised to negotiate peace with Vietnam and lead the army home. Wu Zixu’s proposal was rejected because of Fu Chai’s shortsightedness.

after this war, the strength of the state of Yue was greatly damaged. In order to appease the people, Gou Jian issued an imperial edict to sin himself:

“I don’t know my lack of strength, but I hold a grudge against the big country to expose the bones of the people in the Central Plains. This is my crime. Please be more careful.”

and ordered “bury the dead, ask the injured, those who keep healthy, hang with sorrow, congratulate with joy, those who send, those who welcome, go to the evil of the people and make up for the deficiency of the people”.

then entrusted the domestic affairs to the doctors respectively, and took Fan Li and others to the state of Wu to be slaves for the husband. Gou Jian endured humiliation and Disgrace in the state of Wu, went through all kinds of hardships, and finally cheated Fu Chai’s trust. This is the source of “sleeping on the salary and tasting the gall”, and it is also the direct reason why Gou Jian is determined to counter attack Fu Chai. Three years later, Gou Jian was released and returned home. After returning to the country, Gou Jian was determined to avenge his disgrace, restore the country and destroy Wu. He began a series of reforms to improve people’s livelihood and expand national strength:

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strive for the support of the people, select talents and accept advice, let Wenzhong govern politics, Fan Li reorganize the army, establish a talent recruitment hall, and receive talents from all aspects. Reform the internal affairs, reduce penalties, reduce taxes, reclaim wasteland, develop production, reward fertility and increase the population. Militarily, it has built cities and built outlines, repaired capital cities damaged by war, trained troops, rewarded severe punishment and expanded its troops. In terms of foreign policy, it pursues the policy of “uniting Qi, being close to Chu, attaching Shanxi and enriching Wu”. He kept giving his husband generous gifts to show his loyalty and obedience, so as to eliminate his vigilance against the state of Yue; Send beauty and Zheng Dan to him, which makes him indulge in female sex and distract his energy; Bribe Wu Chen to win their sympathy and help; And alienated the interior of the state of Wu and provoked discord among its ministers; Destroying Wu’s economy and buying Wu’s grain at a high price, causing its internal grain price to rise and causing supply difficulties; Collect good materials, select craftsmen and give them to husband Chai, so as to promote him to build large-scale construction and consume human and material resources. The above measures have achieved remarkable results, strengthened themselves and weakened the enemy. The strength of the state of Yue has been greatly enhanced. What it lacks in launching troops against Wu is only a matter of time.

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in the state of Yue, the state of Wu was becoming more and more corrupt. Fu Chai was defeated by victory