Therefore, we seem forced to the conclusion that the world will move in the future in the same direction as in the past; that nations will become larger and larger and fewer and fewer, the immediate instrument of international changes being war; and that certain nations will become very powerful and nearly dominate the earth in turn, as Persia, Greece, Rome, Spain, France, and Great Britain have done—and as some other country soon may do.
Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, a certain law of decadence seems to have prevailed, because of which every nation, after acquiring great power, has in turn succumbed to the enervating effects which seem inseparable from it, and become the victim of some newer nation that has made strenuous preparations for long years, in secret, and finally pounced upon her as a lion on its prey.
Were it not for this tendency to decadence, we should expect that the nations of the earth would ultimately be divided into two great nations, and that these would contend for the mastery in a world-wide struggle.
But if the present rate of invention and development continues, improvements in the mechanic arts will probably cause such increase in the power of weapons of destruction, and in the swiftness and sureness of transportation and communication, that some monster of efficiency will have time to acquire world mastery before her period of decadence sets in.
In this event, wars will be of a magnitude besides which the present struggle will seem pygmy; and will rage over the surface of the earth, for the gaining and retaining of the mastery of the world.
NAVAL A, B, C
In order to realize what principles govern the use of navies, let us first consider what navies have to do and get history’s data as to what navies in the past have done. It would obviously be impossible to recount here all the doings of navies. But neither is it necessary; for the reason that, throughout the long periods of time in which history records them, their activities have nearly always been the same.