WHYBLITZKRIEG DID NOT PROVE TO BE A WAR-WINNING INNOVATION FOR THEGERMANS
The parties involved in a conflict tend to devise ways that enablethem to defeat their opponents. The strategies are based oncalculated moves that guarantee the group a win. Similarly, duringthe World War II, the Allies, and the Axis applied different tacticsthat they believed would grant them victory. One of the approachesthat the Axis used includes the Blitzkrieg method that wasimplemented by Germany. Blitzkrieg refers to a style of war that wasconsidered highly mobile.1It required the German army to act on surprise, conduct quick swiftcampaigns, and develop robust supply lines to achieve success.According to the soldiers, the initiative was initially successfulagainst the nation’s closest neighbors. However, it failed to bethe war-winning innovation for the Germans. Blitzkrieg tactics provedfutile because the German soldiers failed to surprise the opponentsconsistently, they were drawn into a prolonged campaign with Russiaand Britain, and failed to maintain robust supply lines.
One of the reasons why the Blitzkrieg strategy proved unsuccessfulwas the failure to keep the element of surprise. At the onset of theWorld War II, the Germans applied the Blitzkrieg as the new theory ofmobile warfare. They would study their opponents and conduct surpriseattacks that enabled the Germans to achieve success early in the war.Germany ensured that it did not declare war on any country untilafter they invaded it, thus bringing the element of surprise. Forinstance, in the mid and late 1930s, Hitler was implementing foreignpolicy initiatives that would limit the possibility of aFrench-Polish military alliance against the Germans before thecountry was prepared.2Britain and France bowed down to Germany’s demands as they were notprepared to fight against the Nazi. However, in 1939, theGerman-Soviet pact that required Poland to be divided among the twopowers provided Germany with an opportunity to attack Poland. Withinweeks of the invasion, the Polish army was defeated as they werecaught off guard by the massive encirclement attack. For the conceptof Blitzkrieg to be successful, it required the soldiers to move fastby air and land around the enemies’ strong points and attack theirrear lines. This tactic enabled the German forces to find mostEuropean countries by surprise particularly when they penetratedtheir lines and encircled them. Despite the early win, Blitzkrieg didnot prove to be a war-winning innovation for the Germans because theyfailed to maintain the element of surprise in their attacks duringthe entire period of war.
The Blitzkrieg approach can also not be considered as a war-winninginnovation for the Germans because it drew them into a prolongedcampaign with Russia and Britain. Initially, the plan of the Germanarmy that was being led by Adolf Hitler was to move to Russia wherethey would invade and attack the Russian army. However, thisinitiative ended up losing because Russia also implemented a similartactic on the German soldiers that they defended in depth resultingin the failure of Blitzkrieg. Another issue that contributed to theprolonged campaign is Operation Barbarossa that changed the World WarII considerably.3The Germans were invading the Soviet Union territory during theevent. Hitler had sent its finest army to a two-front war against acoalition. It is believed that the German army had underestimatedtheir opponents as they were determined to conquer the Soviet Unionterritory and enslave the people.4However, the Soviet army had better resources and the climaticconditions in Russia appeared favorable to them. The German soldiershad not been trained under the harsh weather conditions, and thusmany of the troops proved unsustainable during the war.5The fall of blitzkrieg was witnessed when the Generals advised Hitlerto continue with the attacks amidst the desperate conditions. Theyhad to slowly retreat from the Soviet attacks because they could notmatch the forces of their opponents making the Operation Barbarossaunsuccessful.
The Blitzkrieg concept had also led Hitler to launch a two-front waragainst the Great Britain and Russia. However, the approach did notprove to be a war-winning innovation for the Germans because theycould not access Great Britain as it was separated by the EnglishChannel. Going ahead with such an attack had more limitations for theGerman soldiers as it required the use of their air forces yet theplanes they had were designed for striking within short distances.They also lacked materials such as strategic heavy bombers that wouldhelp them win the war. For instance, when the Allies invadedNormandy, Germany had to split its supplies between two fronts andthe supplies lines were stretched out to thin.6Therefore, the failure to provide robust supply lines may havehindered the success of the Blitzkrieg tactic.
In conclusion, Blitzkrieg strategy was indeed successful at the onsetof the Second World War. However, in the end, it did not prove to bea war-winning innovation for the Germans. The approach requiresconsistency throughout the entire period. It can also be appliedduring short campaigns only, and the parties need to ensure that theydo not stretch beyond their sources of supply. Today’s leaders andplanners can learn from this event by making sure that the strategiesthey implement are sustainable in all phases of their operation.
Carruthers, Bob. Voices from the Luftwaffe. 2013.
Kay, Alex J. "Operation Barbarossa: Nazi Germany`s War in theEast, 1941–1945." Central European History (CambridgeUniversity Press / UK) 47, no. 2 (June 2014): 451-452.
Scherner, Jonas. "`Armament in-depth` or `armament in breadth`?German investment pattern and rearmament during the Nazi period."Economic History Review 66, no. 2 (May 2013): 497-517.
1 Carruthers, Bob. Voices from the Luftwaffe. (2013), 15.
2 Carruthers, 16
3 Kay, Alex J. "Operation Barbarossa: Nazi Germany`s War in the East, 1941–1945." Central European History (Cambridge University Press / UK) 47, no. 2 (June 2014): 451.
4 Scherner, Jonas. "`Armament in-depth` or `armament in breadth`? German investment pattern and rearmament during the Nazi period." Economic History Review 66, no. 2 (May 2013): 500
5 Carruthers, 17
6 Kay, 144