"And When are You Coming Back to Germany?"
During the 1920s and 1930s, American journalist Edgar Ansel Mowrer (1892-1977) covered Italy and Germany for the Chicago Daily News. His reporting on the rise of the Nazis in Germany earned him the Pulitzer Prize for 1933. Shortly afterwards, Mowrer was invited to leave Germany because of his “hostile” reporting.
So on September 1, 1933, Mowrer met the train that was to take him out of Germany. As Mowrer boarded the train, the Nazi official assigned to see him off snidely asked, “And when are you coming back to Germany, Herr Mowrer?”
A small group of expatriate Americans and a few German friends who were present to bid Mowrer farewell caught his reply: “Why, when I can come back with about two million of my countrymen.”
Which is exactly what happened less than a dozen years later.
"Pericles Told Me . . . ."
Like all adult Athenian men, the great playwright Sophocles (fl., c. 497-406 BC), though no mighty warrior, had done his bit in the ranks. But in 441 BC a curious thing occurred. The smashing success of his play Antigone caused the Athenians to elect him to the board of Strategoi, the ten generals who more or less directed foreign and military policy, and led the army and navy in time of war.
Now the following year the island of Samos, an Athenian ally, began attacking Miletos, another ally. The Athenians dispatched a small fleet which, with the help of local democrats, ousted the oligarchic clique that ruled Samos and restored peace. But with Persian help, the oligarchs soon returned. So the Athenians dispatched a fleet of 44 triremes under the command of Pericles and several other generals, including Sophocles.
Pericles recognized that some Athenian allies in the Aegean islands might need a little hand holding to secure their help in the campaign against Samos. So he dispatched Sophocles on a diplomatic mission, since his enormous prestige would carry great weight. Sophocles traveled to Lesbos and Chios, impressing the locals with the importance of the Greeks standing with Athens against the Persians, while Pericles defeated the Samian oligarchs in a naval battle.
While at Chios, Sophocles chanced to meet Ion, also a dramatist of note (though almost nothing of his work survives). Ion asked Sophocles why he had been sent on a diplomatic mission, to which the great playwright replied
"Pericles told me that I may have mastered poetry, but I knew nothing of generalship."