Why Carthage? Why Antony? Why the Spanish Armada? Why France in the Trafalgar campaign? Why Russia in her naval conflict with Japan? In these and a hundred other wars we can definitely say that there was no blind chance in the matter. Reading the history of any of these wars we can find many a reason why, but every possible strategical or tactical reason that we can think of applies to some and not to others. To be wise after the event is easy: but could we, given the conditions known to either side, have forecasted accurately any result where the combatants were fairly equal on paper by means of any eternal principle of strategy or tactics?
If we collect all the facts of all the wars and spend years in tabulating them the utmost we are likely to produce will be a paradox. We shall find the startling underlying fact that in the majority of cases when there has been the nearest apparent approach to equality the results have usually been far more decisive, far more annihilating to the vanquished than when a considerable obvious disparity has existed!
Russia and Japan, by all calculations that could be made beforehand on paper, were comparatively equal,—considerably more so than America and Spain a few years before or England and France in the Great War. Yet Russia was hopelessly beaten at sea. Why?The relatively equal Peloponnesians and Athenians produced a far more annihilating result than did the