Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/543

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525
THE SPIRIT OF CONQUEST.

costly to Russia or Prussia as to England, we will reduce this figure one fourth. We shall then have, between 1700 and 1815, an annual expenditure of 787,500,000 francs ($157,500,000).[1] Let us estimate the cost of the wars of the seventeenth century at a slightly lower sum, putting it at only 500,000,000 francs (or $100,000,000) a year for all Europe. That would make 41,000,000,000 francs ($8,200,000,000), or for the entire period from 1618 to 1815, 131,562,500,000 francs ($26,312,500,000).

We have more certain data for the nineteenth century. The Crimean, Italian, Schleswig-Holstein, and American Wars, and the war of 1866, cost 46,830,000,000 francs ($9,366,000,000).[2] The war of France cost 15,000,000,000 francs ($3,000,000,000) at the lowest; that of 1877 at least 4,000,000,000 francs ($800,000,000). Add for the war of Greek independence, the French and Austrian expeditions to Spain and Naples, the Polish war of 1830, the Turco-Russian war of 1828-'29, and the wars of 1848, 3,000,000,000 francs ($600,000,000) more—a very moderate estimate; we reach a total sum of 68,830,000,000 francs ($13,766,000,000). None of the extra European conflicts are comprised in this figure; neither the war between Russia and Persia in 1827, that of Mehemet Ali against the Turks, the struggle against the mountaineers of the Caucasus and against the Arabs in Algeria, or the English campaign in Afghanistan—concerning all of which we have no figures.

Counting only the figures we have been able to obtain, we have for the period from 1618 till our own days 200,392,000,000 francs ($50,078,500,000) as the bare direct losses by war, which have. had to be defrayed by the budgets of the different European states. How shall we calculate the indirect losses? Between 1618 and 1648 Germany lost 6,000,000 inhabitants. The destruction of property was prodigious, the ravages were frightful. How can we represent them in money? It is absolutely impossible. There are, too, some expenses arising from the spirit of conquest that almost wholly escape observation. We shall give only two examples of them.

The ctesohedonic fallacy (lust for possession) raged in the middle ages between the nearest neighbors. No city could offer any security unless it was surrounded by strong walls. Since these required great expenditures, they could not be rebuilt every few days. For this reason space was greatly economized in the cities, and their streets were very narrow. At a later period, when security had become


  1. See Seeley's Expansion of England, p. 21. This figure is very moderate. Between 1802 and 1813 France alone spent 498,000,000 francs ($99,600,000) a year. See Laroque, La Guerre et les Armées permanentes, Paris, 1870, p. 203.
  2. See P. Leroy-Beaulieu, Recherches économiques sur les Guerres contemporaines, Paris, p. 181.