Determination from Broken Pots and Sunken Boats

PureInsight | August 29, 2007

[] Near the end
of the Qin Dynasty, many ambitious men came out to resist the Qin
Dynasty. Many were the offspring of the Warring States. They carried
the banners of the old kingdoms and built up their fighting forces.

Zhang Han, a general of the Qin Dynasty, led his troops to attack
soldiers from the Chu Kingdom.  He not only won but also went
further to attack the Zhao Kingdom. When his soldiers surrounded Julu
City, the major city of Zhao, the king of Zhao asked many kingdoms for
help. However, all of them viewed the grave situation and knew that
even the strong Chu soldiers had been defeated, so who could win
against the Qin? As a result, no kingdom was willing to send soldiers.

Watching the Qin troops becoming stronger and stronger and the troops
from other kingdoms holding still, Xiang Yu, the leading general from
Chu, decided to make a defensive move. In order to raise the soldiers'
combat morale, he thought of a unique strategy.  After Xiang Yu
led the soldiers across the Yellow River, he ordered the soldiers to
sink all boats, break all cooking pots, and burn all tents. He gave
every soldier a three-day food supply. Since all the boats were sunk,
there was no way to back off or return. In order words, they had to
triumph or die.

This move enabled the soldiers to have the determination for wining and
moving forward. They fought for their own lives against the enemy
soldiers. After nine battles, they defeated the Qin soldiers and saved
Julu City.

Nowadays, the expression, "determination from broken pots and sunken
boats," originates from this story in the Chinese history and it
indicates strong determination and a duty-bound

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