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Cpt. alfred thayer mahan influenced the u. s. to

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Cpt. alfred thayer mahan influenced the u. s. to

Captain. Alfred Thayer Mahan influenced the U.S. to increase its naval power or sea power

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Alfred Thayer Mahan was a United States historian and naval officer born on 27th September 1840. He was known to be the most important American strategist of the United States of the 19th century. His book “The Influence of sea power upon History” based on naval strategies made him world-famous and also the most dominant author of the 19th century.

According to Mahan’s belief, national greatness was associated with sea commercial use and war control. His Strategies were obtained from Antoine-Henri Jomini war strategies. He also emphasized the strategy of location and fighting power during the time of fleet. He believed that during peacetime nation should increase the manufacturing of shipping capacities and overseas control but also restrict over-draining of natural resources like coal.

His primary motive was to secure the command of the sea that would enhance the maintenance of sea communication for the nation’s ships. The command on the sea will neutralize the army fleet.

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Keywords: Alfred Thayer Mahan, historian, naval officer, strategist, Antoine-Henri Jomini, peacetime, coal, sea communication, neutralize, army fleet

The Geopolitical Vision of Alfred Thayer Mahan - The Diplomat

The Geopolitical Vision of Alfred Thayer Mahan – The Diplomat – Alfred Thayer Mahan. Credit: The Library of Congress. Mahan, the son of the legendary West Point instructor Dennis Hart Mahan, was born in 1840, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1859, served In The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, Mahan reviewed the role of sea power in the…Alfred Thayer Mahan (Sept. 27, 1840 -Dec. 1, 1914), was the leading military historian in the world in the era before World War I. His concept of "sea power" had an enormous influence in shaping the strategic thought of naval officials across the world, especially in the United States, Germany…Alfred Thayer Mahan was a United States Navy flag officer, geostrategist, and historian, who has been called "the most important American strategist of The concept had an enormous influence in shaping the strategic thought of navies across the world, especially in the United States, Germany, Japan and…

Alfred Thayer Mahan – encyclopedia article – Citizendium – …Alfred Thayer Mahan's The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783 ATTENDEES AT THE MAHAN CENTENNIAL CONFERENCE Many have gone before work and influence of in assessing the Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, U.S. Navy, and many will follow, for his influence transcends time.Alfred Thayer Mahans Influence of Sea Power Upon of strategic thinking, Alfred Thayer Mahan presented concepts and theories in The InfluenceAlfred Thayer Mahan: The Influence of Alfred Thayer Mahan. Byron King recounts the life, thoughts, and literary career of Alfred Thayer Mahan, one of the giants of naval military thought. "Mahan's book struck the highest levels of the governing classes like a bolt of lightning and created a tempest of…

Alfred Thayer Mahan - encyclopedia article - Citizendium

Alfred Thayer Mahan (Author of The Influence Of Sea Power Upon…) – Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan's book of 1890, The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783, argued that control of the sea was the key to world dominance; it stimulated the naval race among the great The Teller amendment passes through Congress stating that the U.S. would not annex Cuba.Section 1 – Mahan Alfred Thayer Mahan was a naval officer who attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis and constantly was in the top of his class. the United States showed little interest in foreign affairs. The U.S. relied on previous foreign policies which resulted in inconsistent international trade in…"[Chapter 1 of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History] has received far more attention from commentators than it deserves – probably because Mahan is more…

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MSC14 – Panel 1: The Naval Rebalance to the Pacific – Professor Dong Wang – .

Sir Julian Corbett, Limited War, and a Strategy for Maritime States – == Introduction ==

This video will be about Sir Julian Corbett, an early 20th Century British naval theorist,
and his application of the ‘Limited War’ concept to sea power and the strategy of maritime
states, which are societies closely linked with the sea.
Corbett argues that maritime states should
wage war in a fashion different from their continental counterparts – one based on
sea control, strategic isolation, and the cost-effective application of force. Corbett’s ideas, laid out in his 1911 book
Some Principles of Maritime Strategy, can be seen as his answer to the following question:
why was Britain able to defeat larger European rivals and rise to prominence? This was a question that needed answering
as Britain on the eve of WWI once again faced larger and better-resourced states, not just
Germany but also Russia and the United States. On a theoretical level, Corbett also sought
to re-introduce leaders to what he saw as a ‘British Way of War’, which he feared
was being ignored in favor of a Continentalist outlook. Continentalism argued that Britain needed
a large army, capable of taking on its Continental counterparts, in order to safeguard its interests. For Corbett, such an outlook threatened to
drag Britain into a war of attrition that would not only be costly but also unwinnable,
given its smaller population and declining relative industrial strength. Rather, Britain should re-connect with its
traditional methods, where small British forces supported by naval power were able to generate
effects in excess of their numbers. In order to lay the theoretical foundations
for such a method, Corbett turns to Prussian war theorist Carl von Clausewitz’s idea
of ‘Limited War’. == Absolute War vs Limited War ==

Writing in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, Clausewitz is known and stereotyped
for his use of ‘Absolute War’ as the ideal form of conflict. In a war of unlimited political aims where
the loser stands to lose everything, the enemy will only surrender when he has been disarmed. Rather than bleeding him dry, Clausewitz argues
that it is more efficient to attempt the enemy’s disarmament by pitting one’s entire force
against his in decisive battle. Later in his intellectual career, however,
Clausewitz began to pay more attention to the idea of the ‘Limited War’. Limited wars are characterized by one or both
sides limiting their political aims – by demanding territory, for example, rather than
regime overthrow. With limited aims, both sides operate under
cost-benefit analyses which lead to points where further sacrifice ceases to be worth
it. Surrender is therefore not based on whether
one is able to resist, but instead on reaching that point where achieving the aim would cost
more than one is willing to spend. Limited War thus offers the possibility of
winning without having to mobilize one’s entire force for decisive battle, and Corbett
now outlines a method where such an outcome can be achieved. == The Limited Form ==

What Corbett calls the ‘Limited Form’ is based on the advantages of adopting an
offensive or defensive posture. By switching between the two, the Limited
Form raises the enemy’s cost of winning without extra input from our side, ideally
sending him over the point at which he would prefer surrender to fighting on. Corbett sees the offensive as being the ‘more
effective form of war’. Only through the offense can one actually
induce changes to the strategic status quo. Operationally, the offensive side also possesses
the initiative, and with that the ability to deploy and maneuver in such a way as to
concentrate the largest force against the enemy’s weakest point. Corbett characterizes the defensive, on the
other hand, as the ‘stronger form of war’. Operationally, defenders have the benefit
of time, force-multipliers, beneficial supply lines, and the second-mover advantage of acting
after the attacker has made his move. The more an offensive progresses, the more
it exhausts itself; by contrast, the defense’s advantages only get stronger the more one
is pushed back. To use Corbett’s analogy, it is easier to
keep money in one’s pocket than to take it from another man’s; an attacker must
be stronger, faster or stealthier than the defender in order to prevail. The following illustrates how the Limited
Form can switch between offensive and defensive to produce positive and cost-effective results. Suppose two states are in a limited dispute,
in this case over territory owned by the defender. The attacker begins with an operational offensive,
utilizes his advantages of initiative and surprise, concentrates against the defender,
breaks through and establishes himself on the territory before the defender can react. Now the attacker has shifted the status quo
in his favor and is on the strategic offensive. He now switches to the operational defensive,
takes advantages of local force-multipliers, and prepares to hold what he has taken. The defender, with the goal to restore the
pre-war status quo, is now on the strategic defensive. In order to do that, he now has to take the
operational offensive, which means he will be going up against the ‘stronger form of
war’. All else being equal, this means that the
defender has to spend more, risk more and likely lose more, simply to get back to where
he once was. The same territory now demands significantly
more from the defender than it did from the attacker. Should the difference be large enough, an
inferior attacker can send a superior defender beyond the point where continued resistance
is worthwhile. If the defender decides to go on the offensive
with superior forces, he runs the risk of exhausting himself against an inferior force
and tossing away any numerical advantages he once had. The Limited Form applied in a Limited War
therefore offers a way for smaller forces to win over larger forces, and for inferior
nations to achieve positive results over superior nations. In this sense it is a cost-effective strategy
and Corbett sees it as a pillar of the ‘British Way of War’. == Limited War: Clausewitz and Escalation ==

So if the Limited Form is so effective, then why isn’t it the go-to strategy for every
situation? The answer lies in the concept of escalation. Remember that Limited Wars are so-called because
both sides have decided or coordinated to limit their war aims. Clausewitz sees this restraint as ultimately
a political decision and nothing stops leaders from getting rid of them if they want to. Unsurprisingly, the losing side is always
tempted to escalate in a bid to turn the tables, expanding the scope of the war into new theaters
where he has the initiative and can use the Limited Form against the winning side. Clausewitz saw that this logic of escalation
eventually causes all Limited Wars to become Unlimited, with aims so unrestrained that
they approximate the conditions of Absolute War. Indeed, the losing side can escalate to Unlimited
War immediately by ignoring the territory held by the attacker and directly striking
his homeland. In either case, the side that is still fighting
a Limited War when the enemy has removed all restraints is simply courting disaster, as
the long record of failure against Napoleon showed. This is not to say that escalation to Unlimited
War is inevitable. But given the high stakes involved, states
in Limited War have to act as if Unlimited War is a constant possibility. The only real way to solve this conundrum
decisively would be to remove the enemy’s ability to resist, which means reverting back
to the Clausewitzian ideal of targeting the enemy force. Escalation therefore threatens to remove the
rationale for using the Limited Form in war. == Limited War: Corbett and Strategic Isolation ==

If ‘Limited War’ and ‘Limited Form’ are to be of practical value, Corbett must
find situations where escalation effectively cannot happen. Here, he lays out two possibilities: The first possibility is where the aim in
dispute is of limited political importance: this is Clausewitz’s idea of limited aims. For Corbett, however, only colonies or other
sparsely-populated overseas possessions are really that insignificant. The others are not only more materially valuable,
they also tend to be infused with immaterial elements such as national pride, historical
claims and so on, greatly inflating their value and promoting escalation. The second possibility is where the aim is
strategically isolated. This in itself consists of two things: firstly,
the power to secure the homeland from an enemy’s unlimited strike, and secondly, the power
to isolate the aim itself to deny the possibility of enemy reinforcement, Combined, this means
that if the enemy wants to escalate, he is unable the enemy is unable to bring extra
force to stave off defeat even if he wanted to. Corbett claims that Continental states are
connected to each other over land and therefore are never truly able to strategically isolate
themselves from enemy escalation. By contrast, however, the most straightforward
form of strategic isolation can be performed by a maritime state that controls the seas. Defensively, a maritime state that controls
home waters is effectively defended from the threat of enemy invasion and no longer needs
to mobilize to meet such a threat. It can therefore mobilize and deploy its land
force in accordance with its priorities, rather than what the isolated enemy can potentially
do. Offensively, strategic isolation gives the
isolator full possession of the initiative, able to redistribute and concentrate forces
at will, while the isolated side is denied the chance to reinforce vulnerable fronts
or to distract the isolator through the opening up of new fronts. Given the circumstances, the isolated side
can only hope that his existing deployments can fend off all potential challenges, which
is a tall order indeed. Strategic isolation through sea control represents
another pillar of the ‘British Way of War’. By controlling the relevant seas, Britain
was spared the cost of defending itself from unlimited invasion, prevented the enemy from
bringing superior force to entire theaters, and created conditions for true Limited War
where local superiority and the application of the Limited Form would bring about victory. Without controlling the seas, as happened
during the American Revolutionary War, Britain was deprived of the ability to strategically
isolate theaters and soon found itself unable to deal with the consequent enemy escalation. But more often than not, strategic isolation
allowed Britain to win wars without the force and cost outlays of Continental rivals. The resulting cost-efficiencies allowed Britain
to invest more into itself, its trade, and its Empire, fueling its rise to prominence. == The Limited Form in an Unlimited War ==

Through strategic isolation and the Limited Form, the ‘British Way of War’ proposes
a method for inferior states to win Limited Wars. Corbett now seeks to apply this method to
Unlimited Wars, where the war aims demand the destruction of the enemy’s ability to
resist. According to Clausewitzian Absolute War theory,
such an achievement would require the annihilation of the enemy force under a strategy of decisive
battle. In the broadest sense, Corbett does not dispute
this. He does, however, propose that one can use
Strategic Isolation and the Limited Form to overthrow the enemy’s ability to resist
without having to mobilize and match his force strength. There are two ways that Corbett’s strategy
can be used to win Unlimited Wars. The first way involves finding a prestige
objective so symbolic that its capture would generate significant pressures for surrender. Strategy then becomes a matter of isolating
the objective and then using the Limited Form to force the enemy into unfavorable match-ups. Corbett takes the Crimean War as an example,
where the entire contest over Near Eastern hegemony crystallized into a fight over Sevastopol,
the eventual fall of which compelled the Russians to admit defeat despite retaining potent forces. Corbett characterizes the other way as ‘Wars
Limited by Contingent’, where an expeditionary force uses the Limited Form to overstretch
the enemy and advantage allies in coalition warfare. First, a selected theater is strategically
isolated via sea power, limiting the enemy’s ability to bring his full force to bear and
effectively turning it into a Limited War. An expeditionary force lands and applies the
Limited Form, forcing the enemy to attack defensive positions in order to recover the
strategic status quo. Then, once the opponent has been sufficiently
exhausted, the expeditionary force goes back on the operational offensive, routs that portion
of enemy strength, and repeats the whole process again. This, Corbett claims, was what happened in
the Peninsular War against Napoleon. Even at a suboptimal level, coastal descents
using the Limited Method represent a disruption that the enemy has to spend outsize resources
containing. In fact, the mere threat of such action may
be enough to force the enemy to divert scarce resources into passive garrison work. Napoleon implied as much when he grumbled
that 50,000 English in Kent could paralyze 300,000 of his army. Usage of the Limited Form not only weakens
the enemy, it also strengthens the inferior state’s hand against coalition allies. A state which furnishes an inferior contingent
to participate in decisive battles has little say over coalition strategy or at the negotiating
table. The Limited Form offers a way for said contingent
to make an independent and outsize contribution without the corresponding cost that other
allies pay. All in all, in the absence of a symbolic target,
the enemy will still have to be brought low through decisive battle. However, even when the aims demand the enemy’s
overthrow, the ‘British Way of War’ shows that inferior forces or states can still contribute
in a significant and cost-effective way towards victory. == Conclusion ==

Corbett’s ‘British Way of War’, encompassing the concepts of sea control, strategic isolation,
and the Limited Form, sees maritime states utilizing their geographic advantage to wage
Limited Wars in a cost-effective fashion. Doing so not only allows them to hold off
larger forces with smaller ones, it spares them the cost of raising and risking large
armies in the first place. Corbett’s focus was on explaining British
success, but his precepts also apply to other maritime states such as Japan and the United
States. Further theoretical developments on Corbettian
theory have continued as the dangers of unrestrained escalation and the emergence of compartmentalized
wars within broader superpower rivalry have spurred research into Limited War. Unfortunately for Corbett, his strategy came
too late for WWI. Influenced by the Continentalist outlook,
Britain raised a mass-conscript army that ground down the Germans after 4 years, but
at the cost of 800,000 lives and significant debt. Corbett bemoaned the adoption of such an inefficient
strategy instead of one where the French and Russians soaked up the bulk of the casualties
while the British eroded German strength by threatening the Baltic and picking off the
Central Powers. That is not to say that Corbett’s theory
is without criticism. His interpretation of Clausewitz assumes states
will dispassionately weigh costs and benefits in war rather than being swung to extremes
through chance and passion. It is unclear if strategic isolation of the
homeland is even possible nowadays with airpower and missiles, and of course, Corbett’s theories
are tailored towards conventional state-to-state, army-versus-army wars rather than the asymmetric
variants more commonly seen today. In the end, Corbett’s insights remain useful
as a guide for maritime states, represent a valuable development on Clausewitz’s theories
and also serve as a link between Clausewitzian-era Unlimited War and post-Clausewizian Limited
War. Thanks for watching the video! .

The Strategy of the Peloponnesian War – From 431 to 404BC, Athens, Sparta and their
respective allies fought a 27-year-long war spanning much of Classical Greece and its
This video will assess the strategies pursued
by both sides of the Second Peloponnesian War, and how they affected the course of the
conflict. == Athens and Sparta ==

Since the defeat of the 2nd Persian invasion in 479, Athens and Sparta were on a collision
course. Sparta had been the dominant Greek power,
but the foundations of its military might were built upon a shrinking population of
citizen-soldiers, increasingly conscious of their numerical inferiority compared with
their tributary subjects and helot slaves. Athens, on the hand, was fast rising. It was already the largest city in Greece,
one of the wealthiest, and certainly one of the more cultured. Under Athenian leadership, the Delian League,
once an anti-Persian defense pact, had become an informal empire with colonies and subjects
across the Aegean. The city was also active in democracy-promotion,
encouraging the poor in other cities to revolt against their masters in the name of freedom. Athens was thus hardly popular across Greece
outside of its empire, and many looked to Sparta for leadership against this threat. This led to one of Thucydides’ most famous
observations. == The Thucydides Trap ==

Thucydides offers ‘surface motives’ and ‘real reasons’ for explaining why Sparta
declared war on Athens in 431. On the surface, Sparta was responding to Athenian
provocations against other city states: the latter’s embargo against Megara, its siege
of its ex-ally Potidaea, and its war on Corinth on behalf of Corcyra. These victims of Athenian aggression appealed
to Sparta for help, and the city-state readily obliged. However, Thucydides posits that the ‘real
reason’ for the war was that Sparta ‘feared the growth of the power of the Athenians’:
with each passing year, Athens would gain more resources to influence allies, stir up
democrats, and extend its cultural and political reach. The Athenian-Corcyran alliance linked the
Greek world’s first and second-largest navies together, and Corinth was already threatening
to defect towards Athens if Sparta did not act. Sparta, therefore, decided on pre-emptive
action before its hegemony over Greece passed over to Athens – and thus fell into what
scholars have dubbed the ‘Thucydides Trap’. The irony is that since the 440s, Athenian
power was on the decline: it had lost influence over Central Greece after defeat in the First
Peloponnesian War, its attempts to invade the Persian Empire had failed, and it suppressed
the revolts of its subjects only with difficulty. In any case, in 432, Sparta issued demands
to Athens, demanding a halt to the city’s aggression as well as the dismantling of the
Delian League. These were rejected, and along with Thebes’
attack on the Athenian ally of Plataea in 431, most of Classical Greece descended into
war. == Archidamian Phase I ==

The Peloponnesian War pitted two radically different types of state against each other:
Athens directed a coalition of maritime, commercial and democratic states, while Sparta’s Peloponnesian
League consisted of continental, agricultural and oligarchic cities. Even the way the two camps were structured
was different: Athens paradoxically exercised dictatorial control over the Delian League,
while Sparta pursued a more consensual approach with its allies. A key similarity, however, was that both cities
had evolved past the tradition of the farmer-soldier, campaigning for only a few weeks before returning
to his crops. Sparta, through its helots, and Athens, through
grain shipments, were freed from this burden; their armies were thus, theoretically, able
to campaign anywhere and anytime. Initially, both sides tried to win through
their own strengths. King Archidamus of Sparta understood that
Athens’ maritime empire was only vulnerable if Sparta took to the seas: he therefore proposed
a strategy where Sparta, over time, would find allies to fund the construction of a
500-ship fleet able to challenge Athenian maritime dominance. But such a strategy would take time, and in
the meantime Sparta risked losing prestige through inaction. There was, therefore, little else for Archidamus
to do but lead annual invasions of Athens from 431-425 and hope that the Athenians would
suicidally fight the feared Spartan phalanx before the latter exhausted local supplies
and had to retreat. Unfortunately for the Spartans, Athens refused
to cooperate, having other ideas of how to win the war. For Athens’ leader Pericles, stalemate was
the same thing as victory: time was on the city’s side, and as long as Sparta didn’t
win in the short-run, the dynamism of Athenian society would bury its enemies in the long-run. Athens would therefore refuse any sort of
battle or risky land operations, focusing instead on coastal raids launched by its unchallenged
navy. Unlike Archidamus, Pericles’ strategy did
not propose a method, even in the abstract, on how to beat Sparta on land. The city might have fallen into a reverse
‘Thucydides Trap’, being so confident of its long-term success that it entirely
surrendered the initiative to Sparta. As it turned out, Athens was not as secure
as Pericles might have thought: while it had a reserve of 6,000 talents, this was only
enough to fund the 300-ship Athenian navy for around 2 years, and by the third year
Athens had to demand special tribute from its subjects. Pericles’ strategy also required evacuating
rural refugees into Athens in the face of Spartan invasion, which led to overcrowding
and poor hygiene. Plague broke out from 430-427, causing the
death of a third of Athens’ population, including Pericles himself. Athens, however, remained capable of fighting
and raiding around enemy territory. In such a way, the opening moves of the Peloponnesian
War resulted in stalemate. Sparta could not challenge Athens at sea,
while Athens would not fight Sparta on land. Raiding, invasions, and plague were not enough
to decide the outcome of the war. The next few years would see both sides try
out new approaches under new leaders, in an attempt to break the deadlock. == Archidamian Phase II ==

Sparta understood that the Athenian empire was the key to Athens’ capability for war:
without the tribute, ships and soldiers that the Delian League provided, the city would
ultimately fall before the Peloponnesian coalition. Many Athenian subjects also wished to be freed
of the imperial yoke, but while Athenian maritime dominance existed there was little that Sparta
could do to help them, as demonstrated by Lesbos’ failed revolt in 428. Still, Sparta stirred up trouble whenever
it could. A major success occurred in 427 when the Peloponnesians
successfully incited Corcyra’s wealthy aristocrats to revolt against the democracy, causing a
destructive civil war that lasted until 425 and effectively knocked the island out of
the war. Sparta also moved against the parts of the
Athenian empire it could reach. In 424, Brasidas struck out against Athens’
northern subjects in Thrace. Presenting himself as a liberator for those
oppressed by Athens, Brasidas successfully incited most of these cities to revolt. While he was eventually killed outside the
city of Amphipolis in 422, the region was effectively detached from Athenian control. For Athens, Pericles’ death allowed new
thinking in the democracy that he once presided over. Men such as Demosthenes now proposed a more
permanent occupation of enemy territory instead of mere raiding. While still not a strategy to defeat Sparta,
the subsequent capture of ports coerced a few minor settlements to peace out against
Athens. Most important, however, were the successes
that resulted from the fortification of the Athenian base at Pylos on the tip of the Peloponnese. Perhaps attempting to overthrow the entire
foundation of Spartan power, Athenian generals turned the base into a sanctuary for escaped
helots, something which troubled Sparta far beyond its actual physical impact. Their attempts to recapture Pylos resulted
in the further trapping and surrender of 300 Spartans on the island of Sphacteria in 425,
which given Sparta’s demographic weakness was a huge blow to that city. While Athens refused Sparta’s offers for
status quo peace, with demagogues such as Cleon arguing for gains in Central Greece,
their threats to execute the captives were enough to halt the hitherto-annual Spartan
invasions of Athens. New thinking not always so effective, however. Athens attempted to score another knockout
blow against another powerful enemy through an attack against Thebes. This time, however, the Athenian army was
destroyed at Delium in 424, causing a sudden downturn in Athenian fortunes compounded by
Brasidas’ aforementioned strike against the city’s Thracian subjects. Shaken by their respective defeats, Athens
and Sparta agreed to the Peace of Nicias in 421. Both sides would return captured prisoners
and cities, and enter into an alliance with each other than would hopefully secure the
peace for generations to come. == The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition ==

The Peace of Nicias solved none of the issues underlying the Peloponnesian War, and from
the start its provisions were immediately violated. Athens refused to return Pylos while Sparta
did the same with Athens’ former northern subjects. The allies of Sparta were not consulted and
quickly soured on their former leader. Despite the peace, Athens remained interested
in the defeat of Sparta. An Athenian strategy to defeat Sparta finally
appeared when Alcibiades constructed a new alliance between Sparta’s former allies
– Argos, Elis and Mantinea – which he hoped would result in a large enough army
that could overwhelm Sparta once and for all. Such a coalition had potential and presaged
what Thebes was to do against Sparta in the 360s, but Athens was slow to exploit this
and the coalition dissolved after Sparta defeated it at 1st Mantinea in 418. A similar motive to secure for itself a powerful
ally might have been the driving force behind Athens’ infamous Sicilian Expedition of
415-413. Alcibiades argued that Syracuse might be inclined
to help fellow Peloponnesians should it be given a free hand in Sicily; conversely, adding
Sicilian resources to Athens would have enhanced the city’s power immeasurably. In any case, the benefits hardly justified
the risks – the city would have been better-off following Nicias’ suggestion to secure Athens’
former subjects in Thrace first, rather than sending 200 ships and 20 thousand soldiers
to conquer a city 800 km away, a tall order even in the best of times. And it was not the best of times. Of the three commanders, Lamachus was killed,
Alcibiades defected to Sparta upon hearing of his recall to Athens, and Nicias moved
too slowly to ensure Syracuse’s fall. In response to Syracusan calls for aid, Sparta
re-declared war in 414 and trapped the Athenians on Sicily. Both the Athenian navy and the expeditionary
force – representing more than half of Athens’ strength – were eventually annihilated,
dealing a devastating blow to Athenian prestige, shattering its naval dominance and providing
a golden opportunity for its enemies to strike. == The Ionian Phase ==

Various actors quickly took advantage of Athenian weakness after the Sicilian disaster. Sparta reinvaded Athens in 413, but this time,
imitating Athenian attempts at Pylos, they set up a permanent fort at Decelea and turned
it into a haven for runaway slaves. Over time over 20 thousand Athenian slaves
escaped to Decelea, representing a constant drain on Athenian resources. Furthermore, Archidamus’ strategy for Sparta
could finally be put into action in 412, when Persia agreed to fund the creation of a strong
Spartan fleet. Amassing more than 100 ships, Sparta then
sailed around the Aegean, inciting Athenian subjects to revolt, including key allies such
as Chios, Lesbos and Euboea. Sparta was helped by the civil turmoil within
Athens that broke out in response to Sicily, with oligarchs and democrats struggling for
power and enlisting Spartan help to do so. By 407 barely anything of the former Athenian
Empire was left but the island of Samos. These subject revolts greatly impacted the
ability of Athens to fight, with Athenian fleets starved of funds and regularly needing
to break off campaigning in order to plunder and obtain tribute. In order to complete its victory, however,
Sparta needed to control the Hellespont, which would sever Athens’ grain lifelines and
force the city to starve or surrender. An initial attempt at doing that ended in
disaster as Alcibiades, who had defected back to the Athenians, destroyed the Spartan fleet
at Cyzicus in 411. It was Sparta, however, that possessed the
superior financial resources now, and its response was simply to build another fleet
while Athens tried to recover its lost territories. This fleet was again annihilated by Athens
at Arginusae in 406, prompting the Spartans to temporarily sue for peace, but a third
Spartan fleet under Lysander finally destroyed the Athenians at Aegospotami at 405. Without a fleet, Athens had only an unwinnable
siege to wait for, and it surrendered in 404, agreeing to dismantle its empire, demolish
its walls, limit its fleet and establish and oligarchy. Thus Sparta had, after 27 years of on-and-off-warfare,
achieved victory in the Peloponnesian War. == Conclusion ==

Sparta clearly had the better war effort in the Peloponnesian War, possessing a clear
understanding of how to beat Athens and achieve victory, something that the other side never
really had. Executing Archidamus’ strategy, however,
was much more difficult, and only with Athens’ self-inflicted Sicilian disaster and the arrival
of Persian gold did Sparta really possess the resources and confidence to challenge
Athens at sea. The confidence of the Athenians in the financial
and cultural superiority of their state caused them to be lethargic in prosecuting the war,
with the result that they conceded the initiative to the Spartans. Arguably, however, the ultimate winner from
the war was Thebes, who saw the defeat of its strongest rival without expending any
of the blood and treasure Sparta had to in order to achieve victory. Within a few decades of the war’s end Thebes
would fight Sparta for dominance, causing even more disruption in Greece until its tentative
union under Macedon. Thanks for watching the video! .