Go to contents

'Don’t nominate my son for commander in chief'

Posted August. 27, 2019 07:31,   

Updated August. 27, 2019 07:31


At a time when the Qin Dynasty flourished late in the age of civil wars, Dongjin of the dynasty was ruled by the state of Zhao, where Gen. Lian Po was one of the powerful generals of the state. No matter how strategic the generals of Zhao were, the Qin Dynasty excelled in the level of military power overall. There was a slim chance of Zhao defeating Qin in battlefields merely by taking an offensive stance. Lian Po constantly pursued defensive tactics, which the Qin forces struggled with. Nevertheless, insiders of Zhao raised complaints for unexpected reason even while Lian Po led success in battles. Noticing such a situation and aiming at fueling division and confusion across Zhao, the Qin Dynasty spread rumor that Qin people were afraid that Zhao Kuo, the son of Gen. Zhao She of Zhao, would be nominated for commander in chief. Then, the state of Zhao dismissed Lian Po and replaced him with Zhao Kuo.

Zhao Kuo read books on military tactics from a young age probably because he admired his father Zhao She, one of the famous Zhao generals. It was told that even his father failed to argue against Zhao Kuo during discussion on war strategies. With Zhao Kuo’s solid reputation built up, King Xiaocheng of Zhao assigned him as commander in chief. Then, his mother made an appeal not to assign her son to take the role, citing that he always considers wars easy to win.

Ruthlessly sticking to the offensive, Zhao Kuo was killed during war with the demise of the Zhao forces. With the capital of Zhao, Handan, beleaguered, the state was driven to the brink of its fall, which managed to avoid the fate as troops from Chu and Wei came to save it. However, the fall of Zhao came right soon as it was hard hit. If someone believes that he or she only practices justice while others are evil, thinking that only a couple of policies can change the world, the person tends to look at the world too easily. The state of Zhao had a right-minded mother who told the king not to nominate his son for commander in chief, at least. It is worrisome that there are so many people who are blindly generous toward people on their side, with prejudice and stereotypes in Korea.

Eun-Taek Lee nabi@donga.com