I am not a historian and have always been curious as to really why wars break out. I find it unthinkable how people can decide to kill each other in big numbers and cannot just resolve all matters peacefully.
Recently I read something that seems to be a genial explanation:
This belief also underpins Geoffrey Blainey’s famous argument that war breaks out in good part because states cannot agree on the balance of power, but the subsequent fighting then establishes “an orderly ladder of power between victors and losers.” If the rival states had recognized the true balance beforehand, he argues, there would have been no war. Both sides would have foreseen the outcome and been motivated to negotiate a peaceful settlement based on existing power realities, rather than fight a bloody war to reach the same end.
I saw this in Mearsheimer's book entitled "The Tragedy of Great Power Politics."
Following this logic, I can make the following observation: if State X becomes militarily stronger than before and, solely for this reason, makes some territorial demands to State Y, and if the latter refuses to concede territory and then loses the war and the requested territory, which gets annexed by State X, then the guilty side is State Y, because the cause of the war was a miscalculation by State Y. It is because of that miscalculation that people had to die. This reasoning seems to well substantiate why it is fair and just that the loser has to pay reparations regardless of who actually started the war.
How common among historians is the view that war is a result of a miscalculation, and how acceptable is it in historical articles to blame the side that made that miscalculation?