causeofwar - Cause of War Reverend Jesse Jackson once...

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Cause of War Reverend Jesse Jackson once imparted, “Time is neutral and does not change things. With courage and initiative, leaders change things.” (Jackson) This can be applied to war and man’s affinity to conflict. Human nature has remained in a fairly constant state since the beginning of man. A man’s reactions to life, death, peace, and war are surprisingly the same now in 2004 as they were in the mid-twentieth century or even 2500 years ago. Society, however– with its technologies, discoveries, and advancements in thought - has changed much over time, and so, we are faced with a quandary. Have the causes of war – whatever they may be - changed significantly over time, hand in hand with society, or have they stayed more or less the same over the span of two millennia? The most efficient way to investigate the cause of war and how it has changed over time is to scrutinize conflicts in history and search for trends. The Peloponnesian War, when compared and contrasted to the Vietnam War, provides an accurate example of the changes and continuities in the patterns of war, or more specifically, the cause of war. The Peloponnesian War is an ideal war to study when delving into the matter of time’s effect on the cause of war. It is one of the earliest international conflicts chronicled in depth by a historian. Thucydides, the widely proclaimed Father of History and an Athenian general, gives an extensive historical analysis of the twenty-seven year war in History of the Peloponnesian War . In 480 B.C.E., Greece was invaded by the Persians – making Greece the next steppingstone on Persia’s goal of imperial conquest. Much to Persia’s dismay, however, Greece was not to be taken easily. The Grecian city-states, most notably, Sparta and Athens, united to drive away Persia and force them into defeat. Following their victory, the two cities parted ways 1
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– with Sparta (the isolationist power) reverting within its borders to concentrate on domestic life instead of the international world, and Athens (the hegemonic power) moving forth in its efforts to lead a unification of Greece. (Nye, 13) Athens turned to its neighboring states in and on the coasts of the Aegean Sea for a stronger sense of collective security from the Persians, forming an alliance known as the Delian League. Athens’ power grew slowly as each day passed, and so, in a move to deter any future Athenian aggression and growth, Sparta fortified its alliances with many of its neighbors on the Peloponnesian peninsula, which mostly consisted of major land powers, with the exception of the strong sea power Corinth. These alliances, though intended to provide security to each of the member states, only led to tension and eventual conflict within Grecian city-states. A war broke out in 461 B.C.E between Sparta, Athens, and their allies.
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