Not a tragedy, but it is a bit of a struggle


I dislike any casual comparison to the tragedy that was the First World War (1914-1918), but today I couldn’t help but register some parallels with my own story in recent years of trying to make money from home.

1. In World War One, everyone had hoped for a quick war at the start, in August 1914. The reality was a war of attrition that lasted for more than four years.

2. Most people thought at the outset, “The boys will be home for Christmas.”

3. Hope for a quick outcome did not fade after the first year or two, or even after the third year of war.

4. Optimism and in hindsight naïve faith were placed on any strategy that could end the war quickly. In the end, the war was long and bitter, and few of the strategies justified the initial optimism.

5. After three years of stalemate, Germany started taking bigger chances, hoping for a reversal of a grave situation. Initial results looked promising to the German military leaders, but the greater risks they had taken eventually sealed and accelerate their end (amongst other things the indiscriminate attacks on commercial shipping led to the entry of the US into the war).

6. The longer the war lasted, the more difficult it became to compromise on the result. That too much had been sacrificed already was a sentiment widely held.

7. The war broke out with more enthusiasm than planning; too much passion and not enough practical consideration. Vague, ambitious answers were given to the question of ultimate goal.

8. The war eventually passed, but the peace was wasted. Nothing should ever be taken for granted.

FRIDAY, 12 JUNE 2009

Stalemate, attrition, waste of resources, missed opportunities, muddled command, ego and personality getting in the way of getting things done, ego and personality being primary causes of misfortune.


Written about one of the German military leaders during the First World War: “[…] prudent, clear-minded […] did not propose to embark on some gigantic […] gamble aimed at winning the war outright.” (The Great War, p.67)