Many people say that "Aikido is based on the sword" or "Aikido is based on the movements of the sword" or something like that, as though this is literally true, that all of our techniques were at one time techniques of some sword school. Well we have established that Ueshiba had broad sword knowledge but the depth of that knowledge is questionable. I think the deal is that Aikido is based on the spirit of the sword. It is not pugilism, it is not wrestling. In a sword fight, you don't allow yourself to get cut so you can get into a more advantageous position, and you don't plan a long string of feints and blocks angling towards a "checkmate" win. I don't think that's what O Sensei wanted us to be doing.
Thinking of it in these terms also puts the whole "non-resistance" thing in a totally different light. No one "resists" a live blade. And if you have a live blade in your hands, the idea that you can respond to strength and pushing by going somewhere else becomes a lot easier to understand.
The Japanese sword is a very elegant weapon. I think O Sensei wanted to bring that feeling to his art as well.