THE battle of Borodino, with the occupation of Moscow that followed it and the flight of the French without further conflicts, is one of the most instructive phenomena in history.
All historians agree that the external activity of states and nations in their conflicts with one another is expressed in wars and that as a direct result of greater or less success in war the political strength of states and nations increases or decreases.
Strange as may be the historical account of how some king or emperor, having quarrelled with another, collects an army, fights his enemy's army, gains a victory by killing three, five, or ten thousand men, and subjugates a kingdom and an entire nation of several millions, all the facts of history (as far as we know it) confirm the truth of the statement that the greater or lesser success of one army against another is the cause, or at least an essential indication, of an increase or decrease in the strength of the nation, even though it is unintelligible why the defeat of an army -- a hundredth part of a nation -- should oblige that whole nation to submit. An army gains a victory, and at once the rights of the conquering nation have increased to the detriment of the defeated. An army has suffered defeat, and at once a people loses its rights in proportion to the severity of the reverse, and if its army suffers a complete defeat the nation is quite subjugated.
So according to history it has been from the most ancient times, and so it is to our own day. All Napoleon's wars serve to confirm this rifle. In proportion to the defeat of the Austrian army Austria loses its rights, and the rights and the strength of France increase. The victories of the French at Jena and Auerstädt destroy the independent existence of Prussia.
But then, in 1812, the French gain a victory near Moscow. Moscow is taken and* after that, with no further battles, it is not Russia that ceases to exist, but the French army of six hundred thousand, and then Napoleonic France itself. To strain the facts to fit the rules of history: to say that the field of battle at Borodino remained in the hands of the Russians, or that after Moscow there