The book i’m currently reading is The Retreat, Hitler’s First Defeat By Michael Jones. If you need some help, the book is about Hitler’s decision to invade Russia in 1941 and the attempt to capture Moscow and the subsequent failure.
German forces pushed on to the Russian capital despite mounting losses, a horrible supply situation, and lack of cold weather equipment amidst the cold Russian winter.
The Germans fought their way to the doorstep of Moscow, only to be beaten back by the Russians having the opposite of the Germans circumstances.
However this post is not meant to be a book review(though it is an interesting read).
The situation for the German forces was chaotic. After expecting victory and not receiving it, Hitler took command of the situation and refused to face the reality that the Russians were indeed capable of beating the German army and that they would continue to do so.
Because the books perspective is of the soldiers on the ground, utilizing their journals and diaries to provide a picture of the situation, the reader gets to feel the frustration of the soldiers as they are told to dig in and defend as they retreat with scarce food, tools, and ammunition.
What’s more, they wonder how they are supposed to dig in when the ground is frozen solid several feet deep.
It was empathizing with the soldiers forced to follow such unrealistic, ill-informed, impulsive orders that I had the thought that America as a whole might be facing a similar situation presently.
It’s not that the people of the United States are given impossible to follow instructions/orders every day against impossible odds. It’s more simply that things in the United States as seen by too much of the political establishment as not as bad as they truly are.
That in the effort to try and paint as rosy a picture of the situation possible, they are blindly ignoring the realities that many Americans are simply suffocating under the weight of the recession and it’s resulting lack of prosperity or more simply, jobs.
As Hitler refused to acknowledge that the Red Army could not only match but exceed the performance of his own Wehrmacht troops he only dug the hole deeper for himself as he continued to push a bad operation into a disaster.
While the effort to conquer Moscow was sunk due to a lack of preparation and planning to prepare for the possibility of winter combat, it was only made worse by refusing to admit that things could go from bad to worse.
I see much of the same mentality today in the United States. As politicians locked themselves into a single ideology they refuse to accept that the problem is not caused by a simple single issue, but rather a whole host of circumstances that together contribute to the problems.
Coincidentally just before I started to write this I saw a new press release by the Citizens Against Government Waste(CAGW). I love the CAGW for there simplicity in breaking down the cost of government spending, they truly are bi-partisan and have one goal in mind, government spending.
This press release in particular states that the President’s recent speech touting his economic successes are nothing but hollow words as the country continues it’s rate of irresponsible spending. The press release is a quick read and can be read at the CAGW website.
As the Nazi war machine learned the hard way on the steppes of Russian amidst frozen corpses and broken or stuck equipment, a complicated problem does not require a complicated solution.
There is an excerpt from the book from the diary entries of radio operator Leopold Höglinger of the 137th Infantry division about the retreat. (From page 207).
“Burning torches light our route, as we stumble onwards, through a a jumble of of vehicles and men – eventually finding accommodation in the front room of a small hut. We will attempt to celebrate Christmas here. It is very cold, and I don’t think we will get much sleep.”
As I read last night and thought about the comparisons in the back of my head, that quote stuck out to me.
These soldiers continued on despite the hardship and struggles, marching through -30 degrees celcius weather to stay ahead of the advancing Red army.
I thought it fit quite neatly with the United States today. Americans continue on, struggling, fighting, trying to keep their heads above water both individually and as a nation.
They don’t know what will happen in the future, don’t know what there fate will be, but still they struggle onwards. It’s either that or give up, die.
They both continue on because despite what happens there is really no choice but to keep going.
The top of the nations leadership may be the ones that determine how things go, and ultimately who determine the circumstances for everyone else, but it is that everyone else that does the work when the time comes. The ones who determine what their own fate will be.
Posted on September 11, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged america, fate, future, germany, government, hitler, leadership, moscow, russia, struggle, the retreat, united states. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.