When Athens and Sparta were fighting Persia, during the war Sparta said that they had had enough fighting and broke out of the war leaving Athens to fight the Persians alone. After that Sparta and Athens started fighting and having small arguments that made them both dislike each other, causing big tension between them. In the year 459 BC, a war finally broke out between the two largest city-states. Megara and Corinth started the fighting, which led to Athens breaking their peace treaty with Megara which was a Spartan ally. Athens kept control of the Delian League, which was what they called all their allies, and opposed the allies of Sparta. The war between Sparta and Athens lasted 15 years and Athens contained control over some of Sparta’s allies for a short time. Finally Sparta got sick of Athens and they stormed into Attica which was Athens home land, and demanded Athens give up their conquered lands.
In the year 466 BC, the thirty year’s peace treaty was signed and Athens and Sparta agreed that each city-state would have its own ally system, and each was not allowed to interfere with a city-state that was not one of these allies. Athens broke the peace treaty when they imposed trade stations at Megara, who was not one of Sparta’s allies anymore, and also fought a side war with Corcya in which Athens had no stake. After this small war, Athens commanded that Corinth tear down their city walls.
Well, Sparta’s assembly agreed that Athens broke the peace treaty, this spawned another war in which Sparta was the aggressor. This war was longer than the first, lasting 17 years. The Athenians were led by Perciles, a naval general who promoted the policy of Athens’s strong navy to ravage Sparta’s coast. This worked for several years and Athens won a battle over Sparta in Naupactus. But in the year 430, a plague struck Athens and killed 30,000 men. This left Athens very weak. When this happened the Athenians could have been subdued but they gathered up their navy and headed back to war. This fleet was lead by Demosthenes and they won a victory in 425. Cleon, leader of Athens came from Athens and helped finish off any stranded Spartan navy forces. Right as Athens was feeling good, Sparta’s general marched right into Thrace an Athenian colony. This was bad because this was the source of Athens silver trade. Thucydides, Athens general, was exiled after being defeated and wrote history about the war. There was a small peace of 6 years when both Cleon and Brasidas, 2 of Athens generals died. But after the 6 years Athens got the allies of Sparta to go against Sparta in a battle. Sparta again won and gained leadership over all of its allies again. In the 17th year of war the battle ground was moved to Sicily. Athens went to defend its colonies who were being attacked by Sparta’s allies. Sparta came and helped fight against Athens. A little later Sparta won a major naval victory for the first time and this took control over Athens future.
The city of Athens was having many struggles, as one of their allies turned against them. And the only reason Athens wasn’t completely destroyed was because its foes lacked the initiative and sense of urgency to fight and win.
In the year 404 Athens finally surrendered after many more problems and wars.
Another war broke out and after years of wars and fighting, Persia finally broke in and said they would help Sparta unless Athens made peace. Athens made peace because they were way to weak to fight off Sparta and Persia. That ended the Peloponnesian wars.