By Alfred Thayer Mahan
The heritage of Sea strength is basically, although on no account completely, a story of contests among countries, of mutual rivalries, of violence often culminating in warfare. The profound impression of sea trade upon the wealth and energy of nations used to be in actual fact obvious lengthy earlier than the genuine rules which ruled its progress and prosperity have been detected. To safe to one's personal humans a disproportionate proportion of such advantages, each attempt was once made to exclude others, both through the peaceable legislative equipment of monopoly or prohibitory rules, or, whilst those failed, by means of direct violence. The conflict of pursuits, the indignant emotions roused through conflicting makes an attempt therefore to acceptable the bigger proportion, if now not the complete, of some great benefits of trade, and of far-off unsettled advertisement areas, ended in wars. however, wars coming up from different explanations were significantly changed of their behavior and factor through the keep an eye on of the ocean. accordingly the heritage of sea energy, whereas embracing in its extensive sweep all that has a tendency to make a humans nice upon the ocean or by means of the ocean, is essentially an army heritage; and it really is during this point that it'll be in general, although no longer solely, looked within the following pages.
A examine of the army background of the previous, akin to this, is enjoined by means of nice army leaders as necessary to right principles and to the skilful behavior of warfare sooner or later. Napoleon names one of the campaigns to be studied by means of the aspiring soldier, these of Alexander, Hannibal, and Caesar, to whom gunpowder used to be unknown; and there's a mammoth contract between specialist writers that, whereas a few of the stipulations of battle range from age to age with the growth of guns, there are particular teachings within the university of historical past which stay consistent, and being, as a result, of common software, will be increased to the rank of normal rules. for a similar cause the examine of the ocean heritage of the earlier should be came across instructive, by means of its representation of the final rules of maritime conflict, though the good adjustments which have been led to in naval guns by means of the clinical advances of the earlier part century, and through the creation of steam because the reason power.
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The study of such a work is simpler and easier when thus done by one man, sketched out by a kind of logical process, than when slowly wrought by conflicting interests in a more complex government. In the few years of Colbert's administration is seen the whole theory of sea power put into practice in the systematic, centralizing French way; while the illustration of the same theory in English and Dutch history is spread over generations. Such growth, however, was forced, and depended upon the endurance of the absolute power which watched over it; and as Colbert was not king, his control lasted only till he lost the king's favor.
Like France in the then recent German wars, like Napoleon later in the Spanish war, England, through undue self−confidence, was about to turn a friend into an enemy, and so expose the real basis of her power to a rude proof. The French government, on the other hand, avoided the snare into which it had so often fallen. Turning her back on the European continent, having the probability of neutrality there, and the certainty of alliance with Spain by her side, France advanced to the contest with a fine navy and a brilliant, though perhaps relatively inexperienced, body of officers.
He aided her to establish Austria, the hereditary enemy of France, in Naples and Sicily to the detriment of Spain, and in union with her destroyed the Spanish navy and dock−yards. Here again is found a personal ruler disregarding the sea interests of France, ruining a natural ally, and directly aiding, as Louis XIV. indirectly and unintentionally aided, the growth of a mistress of the seas. This transient phase of policy passed away with the death of the regent in CHAPTER 1. DISCUSSION OF THE ELEMENTS OF SEA POWER.