Hitler’s Blunders in 1933-39 (3)

IMG_0379Adolf Hitler positioned himself (consciously or unconsciously) as a visionary leader (both military and civilian). Which was very true. Actually, he was more than that – he projected a personalized visionary charismatic leadership. Which was also very much authoritarian (as it was based on the omnipresent Führerprinzip).

By definition, a visionary leader can see beyond the beyond the ambiguity and challenges of today an empowering picture of tomorrow.

And then impregnate his team and the whole organization (or a country) with this vision, develop strategic objectives, strategies and strategic plans to achieve these objectives and lead his team and organization to making this vision a reality.

Unfortunately for the Third Reich and for him personally, his vision for the future had a fundamental and ultimately deficiency. In other words, had a glaring (and ultimately lethal) gap.

One of the key responsibilities of a military leader (and Adolf Hitler definitely was one) is being able to (1) correctly visualize – and thus predict – the future of warfare; and (2) facilitate development, mass production deployment and the most efficient utilization (via appropriate training) of military hardware and other technologies that would ensure the superiority of his armed forces on the battlefields of the future.

Failure to do so guarantees a devastating defeat. That’s exactly what happened to the Russian Imperial Army in the Crimean War of 1854-56 (the then Russian Tsar Nicholas I failed to grasp in time the critical importance of rifled barrels, steam ships and other military technologies).

Adolf Hitler (as well as the Japanese military leaders) failed to anticipate the enormous destructive power of strategic bombings (both of carper and precision variety).

And thus did not in time developed and deployed weapons (i.e. cheap mass-produced guided surface-to-air missiles and jet-powered interceptors) that could have stopped these bombings cold.

Although after blitzkrieg in Russia failed and the war of attrition began, Adolf Hitler correctly envisioned that war could be won (or at least acceptable peace could be achieved) by revolutionary weapons (Wunderwaffen), he failed to correctly identify these “weapons of victory”.

Had these weapons – a nuclear bomb and an intercontinental high-speed high-altitude jet bomber been identified five years before the war (which was a very real possibility), Nazi Germany could have developed and deployed these weapons by the beginning of 1944 – and won the war (or at least achieved an acceptable peace). For a very simple reason – nuclear destruction of even one major city (let alone London or New York) would have been totally unacceptable to the allies.

Especially given the fact that defeating Germany meant helping another murderous predator bent on world conquest and domination – Joseph Stalin.

To make these correct predictions happen, Hitler needed a think tank and a research center – a German equivalent of DARPA (agency of the U.S. department of Defense responsible for the development of emerging technologies for use by the military).

This agency (Organisation für Forschungsprojekte der Verteidigung – OFPV) should have been set up immediately after Hitler (and the Nazis) got absolute power in Germany in March 1933.

But it wasn’t. And although the Nazis developed and deployed whole array of revolutionary weapons (cruise and ballistic missiles, guided bombs, self-homing torpedoes, next-generation submarines, cruise and ballistic missiles, jet fighters and bombers, assault rifles, night-vision devices, etc.) none of these had a meaningful impact on the course of war. They all were “too little, too late”.

 

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