Sunday, July 23, 2017

It Also Happened a Long Time Ago (1941)

From the June 1941 issue of the Socialist Standard

In the year 415 B.C., at the height of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a young Athenian landed from the sea on the Peloponnesian peninsula and made his way to Sparta. There he addressed the assembly and declared that be had never really been in sympathy with the Athenian democracy, whose policy, he declared, was to conquer Sicily and then make herself mistress of of all Greece. He proposed measures to resist Athens, which were acted upon by the Spartans and resulted in the total annihilation of the two strongest fleets. Athens had ever sent out, and proved to be the turning point in the war. Athens never recovered from the blow.

The young man responsible for this disaster was of noble birth, handsome and wealthy. He was a clever political leader, a persuasive speaker and a successful general. He is referred to as having been “popular without being respected, and followed without being trusted.” 

The name of this young man was Alcibiades, and he was one of the three generals in command of the expedition sent by Athens in 415 B.C. (the finest ever organised in Greece) to conquer Sicily. He left the expedition at Sicily and sailed for Sparta.

It is true Rudolf Hess landed from the air and not from the sea, but it is curious how incidents in history of a sensational nature are repeated.

Alcibiades was the ablest general of his time, but he was ambitious and a member of a privileged aristocracy, and this latter fact was the determining factor in his conduct. He subsequently deserted Sparta and went over to the common enemy—Persia, urging the latter to let Athens and Sparta wear each other out.

The motive behind Hess’s aeronautical adventure is still shrouded in mystery, and in this fantastic world, where real information is so scarce, one guess is as good as another.
Gilmac.

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