Go to contents

May, the cruelest month for Goguryeo

Posted May. 17, 2022 07:50,   

Updated May. 17, 2022 07:50


Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty arrived in Yodong with a large army in the third month of the lunar calendar in 645 to invade Goguryeo. At first, the emperor was on a roll. The Yodong Fortress, which had not fallen once during four invasions by Sui Dynasty was captured in one attack. The Tang army captured Gaemo and Baekam fortresses, breaking the first line of defense, and was about to go through Goguryeo’s second line of defense, the Yalu River. It was around May and June. Taken aback, Goguryeo sent a large army to annihilate the Tang army at the first line of defense, but suffered a huge loss in the battle of Jupilsan. However, the Goguryeo army refused to surrender and fought till the end at Ansi Fortress, the last remaining stronghold of Goguryeo. The attack, which began in the seventh month of the lunar calendar, lasted three months, but Ansi Fortress did not fall. In the meantime, the scheduled period of time for the invasion went out. No matter how powerful a country is, it cannot continue such an all-out war indefinitely. Taizong had no other choice but to withdraw.

A failure in the Goguryeo-Tang War was a huge disgrace for Taizong, who had established reputation by winning numerous wars since his early days. Refusing to accept his defeat, Taizong changed his strategy from an all-out invasion to a war of attrition two years later. Instead of reducing the size of his force and attacking Goguryeo’s line of defense head-on, he harassed Goguryeo by launching repeated attacks on specific areas. After trying to exhaust Goguryeo for a while, Taizong suddenly died while preparing for the second major invasion in May 649.

Shortly before his death, Taizong issued a letter, ordering to stop the invasion of Goguryeo, but Tang continued the war. As a result, Goguryeo collapsed in 668, but the Tang Dynasty was also weakened by a civil war waged by warlords, who augmented power through wars.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not a great commander as Taizong, nor did he directly enter the war. Then, why does this story remind us of the Ukraine war? A reckless war and a war driven by the ambition of a dictator destroy everyone. By June, Russian society will also experience great pain. Even if Putin gives up the war, the world will suffer from severe food and economic problems until at least next year. A war turns everyone into a victim, which includes egoistic dictators. To whom will June be the cruelest month?