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But as fine as their engineers and scientists were, they lacked experience and valid thumb rules in aircraft design, and they sucked badly at conceptual design, so the reality is, that in matters of aircraft, they were pretty outclassed by the allies, particularly by US. That didn't change the fact that Lockheed, already in 1939, had design concepts for a canard jet fighter with afterburning engines, more advanced than any German fantasy plane from 1945 pencil sketches.
US started the war with extremely advanced civilian aircraft industry and very few military projects.
The typical Luftwaffe'46 fanboy fantasy, that more Me 262, He-162, and Do 335, Ho 229, Ta 183, Me P1101 could have made an impact in 1946, 1947, had Germany only been given more time, is not only based upon an unrealistic assumption that these aircraft would be much better than they actually were or could have been, but also on the even more unrealistic assumption, that the opponent wouldn't respond in any way whatsoever. Are great to realize the big picture and have the best strategy and utilize most useful tactics.
The contradictory nature, that you discuss, is precisely why I have never perceived 'Art of War' as rules. Certainly, if one takes 'Art of War' as some ready made recipe, follow steps for how to win wars, there is a basis for criticism. People are very prone to group thinking, and quoting Sun Tzu - while, for example, playing EVE online - remains a good method to get people to clear their mind, and get behind an effort to have their act together. It was jotted down (and practiced) by slaves, poets, emperors, politicians and soldiers, as well as ordinary folks to help with their own problems and those of their friends, family and followers. Specifically, I am referring to Stoicism, which, in my opinion, is the most practical of all philosophies. A brief synopsis on this particular school of Hellenistic philosophy: Stoicism was founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC, but was famously practiced by the likes of Epictetus, Cato, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. But at the very root of the thinking, there is a very simple, though not easy, way of living.
Amazingly we still have access to these ideas, despite the fact that many of the greatest Stoics never wrote anything down for publication.
Because other than their common study of the philosophy, the Stoics were all men of action—and I don’t think this is a coincidence. Using this definition as a model we can see that throughout the centuries Stoicism has been a common thread though some of history’s great leaders. Prussian King, Frederick the Great, was said to ride with the works of the Stoics in his saddlebags because they could, in his words, “sustain you in misfortune”. Meanwhile, Montaigne, the politician and essayist, had a line from Epictetus carved into the beam above the study in which he spent most of his time. The economist Adam Smith’s theories on the interconnectedness of the world—capitalism—were significantly influenced by the Stoicism that he studied as a schoolboy, under a teacher who had translated Marcus Aurelius’ works.
Toussaint Louverture, himself a former slave who challenged an emperor by leading the Haitian revolution, read and was deeply influenced by the works of Epictetus. Theodore Roosevelt, after his presidency, spent eight months exploring (and nearly dying in) the unknown jungles of the Amazon, and of the eight books he brought on the journey, two were Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations and Epictetus’ Enchiridion. Indeed, Teddy seems to represent the temperance and self control of the philosophy beautifully when he said, “What such a man needs is not courage but nerve control, cool headedness.
Today’s leaders are no different, with many finding their inspiration from the ancient texts. At the same time, I believe it is crucial to question the tools we use to put that practice into play, which is why critical thinking is very important in the practice of philosophy. Philosophy definitely starts with the individual, but I don’t believe that it should end with him.
Excellent article – all of us have a philosophy, whether we care consciously to articulate it or not. When I was in the Army in the early '80s, the standard weapons were the SLR (licence-made FAL), the Bren for squad-automatic roles and the GPMG (licence-made MAG) for more serious machine-gunning roles.

Especially in the UK, where understatement has subsequently been taken to mean that all our equipment was crap, so a lot of pretty good innovation is overlooked. But, up until that point, jet developments were pretty much entirely un-funded in US and Britain.
The B-47 Stratojet bomber was ordered into development in 1945, and first flew already in 1947. Then the military started a steam roller that - as far as putting into mass production and fielding - stopped rather soon, already in 1944, with aircraft that went on and won the war. The project was originally for a friend of mine, who is mostly clueless about military history, but was convinced Germany had a massive technological lead towards the end of WW2. Still, written Chinese don't work quite as phonetic languages, and it's maybe easy to read a lot into a translation, which was never there. In fact, it is something men and women of action use—and have used throughout history—to solve their problems and achieve their greatest triumphs. The philosophy asserts that virtue (such as wisdom) is happiness and judgment be based on behavior, rather than words.
Take obstacles in your life and turn them into your advantage, control what you can and accept what you can’t. George Washington was introduced to Stoicism by his neighbors at age seventeen, and afterwards, put on a play about Cato to inspire his men in that dark winter at Valley Forge. Bill Clinton rereads Marcus Aurelius every single year, while Wen Jiabao, the former prime minister of China, claims that Meditations is one of two books he travels with and has read it more than one hundred times over the course of his life. One of the great weaknesses of Greek philosophic thought was its excessive cerebralism, this tendency towards utopianism which we see in Plato. Enabling JavaScript in your browser will allow you to experience all the features of our site.
The thoughts in Meditations aim to be a source of guidance on how to live a happier and more productive life. They were off the starting blocks earlier, which is why early in the WW2 they often seemed to have the edge. Much more flyable, with a twice as powerful and much more flyable jet engine, and lower wing loading, and longer range. Stopped, because the enemy was already beaten, and because jets were more interesting for the future. It's mostly about "pleasures are useless and pains are nothing" with stoic and platonic themes and wisdom here and there. I've had the dubious pleasure of being involved in playing EVE online, and it's amazing how Art of War nails it, even in relation to that. That we don’t control and cannot rely on external events, only ourselves and our responses. Cato, the moral example for many philosophers, defended the Roman republic with Stoic bravery until his defiant death. Epicureanism is my personal preference of the two, but I see both of them as guides to a virtuous life and to inner tranquillity.
As with other Stoic philosophers, Aurelius focused on limiting emotional reactions to outside forces in life that are not under your control. It wasn't a bad weapons system, but it was generally considered that the lack of full-auto for every infantryman was a bad thing. If it had been necessary, there are a number of awesome warplanes US could have fielded during 1944 and 1945. But maybe it isn't, if you're involved somewhere among the suits in a political party or a big corporation.

Also, it might be interesting to get some exposure on what is completely wrong."Military Rules" is a more accurate translation of the word bingfa, which is the work's title in Mandarin. Seneca’s letters were, well, letters and Epictetus’ thoughts come to us by way of a note-taking student.
Unlike the Stoics or philosophers from other schools, Marcus Aurelius held a powerful political position, as Roman emperor from 161-180 CE, making his contribution unique. As it is, even the latest German, sane developments from 1945 (essentially Ta 152) still aren't so hot, even compared to US '43 fighters. Rendering the title as "Art of War" was originally a way for early modern Europeans to compare the work to those of more well-known European authors (like Machiavelli, who wrote a dell'arte della guerra in the sixteenth century).Much of what I don't like about the work is that it rarely offers specific, insightful comments. While some, both German and American aircraft were built with swept wings before, none was designed and built according to the German wind tunnel research from the end of the war. I loved the FAL, even though it fired the 7.62 it recoiled little more than the STG77 (Steyr AUG) due to its weight and the massive action sucking up some of the forces.
Our version had the happy switch but sadly I was never allowed to use it, I was issued the STG77. And examples of German successes and progress is more than matched by corresponding allied. Yes, it's nice if a commander has the ability to obtain major advantages prior to the start of combat, whatever those advantages might be - in terrain, troop training, equipment, whatever. But these are all things that should be relatively obvious ideals, and they are ideals that are also rarely practical or possible to implement. It does not help that the Rules are sometimes contradictory in inevitable ways; the author might say at one point, for example, to never deploy troops in certain kinds of difficult terrain, but at another point the author says to attack an enemy at unexpected points - and difficult terrain often makes for such an unexpected point. There are trade-offs and unknowables with each such choice, and the way in which they are addressed in the Rules is generally not helpful for the student.Worse are the comments that are actively wrong or misleading. If you could make it a little shorter which would not be a problem it would make the perfect all around cartridge. The author claims that a quick victory is the optimal solution (true) but that drawing out hostilities is never worthwhile (horribly, horribly false).
The author never addresses the strategy-tactics divide (or synergy, or whatever you want to call it) specifically, because those terms would have been anachronistic to him, but his comment has been fodder for successive generations of vapid idiots claiming that the physical act of fighting does not matter compared to the planning and preparation beforehand.The work is also, inescapably, a product of its times and of its author. Several passages in the Rules are written in a way that suggests the author had trouble at court or with his superiors and was preoccupied with a general's fate at the whim of a king; others rely on the sort of classical Chinese geometric geography that has no relevance to the modern reader.
But, in my opinion, they are not timeless works of genius that illuminate the core of what warfare truly is.Vom Kriege, while also something of an anachronism in many ways for modern warfare, at least contains useful concepts that are not immediately apparent to many readers. Clausewitz's concept of friction is arguably the most important contribution anybody has ever made to the understanding of warfare, and his attempt to characterize the essence of morale does a much better job than most authors'. A student who read nothing but Platon and Aristoteles would not have much of an understanding of philosophy at all, yet many people believe that reading old military classics will give a proper understanding of the art of warfare. And warfare has fundamentally and objectively changed in important ways over the last few millennia. Warfare has evolved, and so has the way people think about it; denying that truth, and failing to acknowledge it, is obscurantism of a type that I think is annoying at best.

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