All of this second world war reading has provoked some clear thoughts on life strategy. As we wind down to the end of 2005 and to the beginning of 2006, there is a lot to reflect on.
What brought down the Third Reich were too many fronts open at the same time. While the Germans were approaching policy one issue at a time (revitalising the economy, rebuilding the military, taking over Sudentland and Bohemia, amalgamating Poland, conquering France and Western Europe), they were unbelievably successful.
But at that point in August 1940, the Germans began to lose focus. Instead of taking the Battle of Britain to its logical conclusion (the absolute elimination of the Royal Air Force – apparently they were 24 hours away from shattering the RAF when they withdrew from the Battle of Britain), the Germans became involved in bombing raids on cities in England, finally giving up the Battle of Britain and cancelling the invasion of England.
At the same time they still had to fully digest Poland and France. They were also fighting a losing maritime battle in the Atlantic (another reason to continue with the Battle of Britain single-mindedly). Colonial struggles were going on with the British.
But instead of focusing on eliminating the one extant threat (with Britain conquered, any question of American entry into the war would become moot and the Germans would have had full control of the European and African seas) – Hitler went and opened up a second front against the Soviet Union.
There was only one issue which mattered at that point. Absolute mastery of the European skies. With control of the skies in their pocket, Britain would have been doomed to conquer. Like Japan after the drop of nuclear weapons, the British would have had no choice but to sue for peace in the face of endless and relentless bombing.
With a single front and more patience, there is no reason that the German war machine could not have taken European Russia and the Ukraine (Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev). The Germans had the best infantry, the best armoured divisions, the best generals, the best air force.
But instead they squandered their assets by focusing on too many targets at once: the sea war in the Atlantic, two air wars, fending off invasion in the West, advancing in the East, managing new territories in Poland and Central Europes, the desert war.
Basically I am suffering from the same malaise which brought down the Third Reich. I have too many fronts open. In my favour, I have innovative camerawork, strong editing skills, excellent html and decent CSS skills, improving photography, a good sense of design and human interface and a growing understanding of web marketing. In addition I did have strong financial analysis and good organisation skills (not so certain about those two these days). I have fluent spoken Russian and excellent written French with modest conversational German.
Against me, my attentions are divided between a design and marketing business, dance writing, photography dance and otherwise, dance filmmaking, sport and a too keen interest in politics. I also owe some months to the formal study of German. There are too many targets here. And so I am losing the war, after a year of remarkable victories.
While many of these interests and skills are complementary, there is too much here. Winning individual battles will not take the war. And I am tired, very tired (see previous post on email). I must regroup my forces for a clearer strategy in the New Year.
Happily, unlike the Third Reich, I did not open a second Russian front this year. And after a reconnaisance mission to South America and taking a measure of the terrain there, I had the good sense to withdraw from invasion plans there. But the targets must be ever more restricted and victories more absolute.