The 21st Century Blitzkrieg

“Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.”

That pearl of wisdom comes from Ewrin Rommel, the Desert Fox himself. Rommel was a German military officer in WWII best known for contributing to the formation of one of the first applied decentralised information networks: the Blitzkrieg.

The Blizkrieg is noted for being one of the most successful military strategems employed in the 20th century, the modern equivalent of the Roman legion. But where the Roman legion operated under a strict hierarchical command structure, the Blitzkrieg was totally decentralised. Troops on the field could override the commands of their officers if a more effective strategy presented itself in the moment. This allowed for constant strategic overhaul in the moment, keeping the Germans adaptable and allowing them to swiftly crush Europe.

Blitzkrieg, as a decentralised network, functions off of constant adaptation and revision. True to form Rommel himself never employed Blitzkrieg, by the time he faught his famous campaign in Africa he’d already adapted the strategy beyond what he himself had even envisioned for it.

It’s strange then to think that we owe a great deal of our digital pratice to Rommel, and yet we do. The same feedback loop that was used in Blitzkrieg is also the one that we use today in digital media, we call operatives in it liquid labour. Rommel claimed only to fight if you knew you could win, he would have liked modern media. Now that information is both the tools and the power liquid labour ‘fights’ with, every battle is a win, because every fight brings us more data that we can use for feedback and change.

The blitzkrieg is in many ways the beta version of liquid labour.

We are soldiers in the 21st century bliztkrieg.



3 thoughts on “The 21st Century Blitzkrieg

  1. ahodsden2 says:

    This is a fascinating idea. I would never have drawn the connection between adaptive military strategies and digital media, and yet you make it sound so obvious. I appreciate the way you talk about how in a digital sense, every battle is a win because it brings more data, because in the world of content production sometimes it’s worth trying something even if you only learn a little bit more information by doing so.


  2. Alexander Mastronardi says:

    I found this post from you tweeting it out, I think it’s great you were able to find something you had a keen interest in to blog about for this weeks topic. I feel the best posts are ones that stem from people’s interests/knowledge of niche topics and then link them to the lecture, so well done!

    This post was very well written, I liked the introduction to Blitzkrieg with the mention of Rommel, and then explaining Blitzkrieg in further detail. It was also great that you could link back to the subject by mentioning the fact that Blitzkrieg is a decentralized network that fed off adaption. I also agree with what you say about us being 21st century soldiers of the Blitzkrieg, constantly engaging with feedback loops as practitioners of digital media. The post was rounded off nicely with a great remediation, overall one of my favorite posts in BCM206 so far.

    The only recommendation I have would be to maybe include some hyperlinks to show further evidence of knowledge/research, I think its always good to be directed to additional sources, especially for any readers who might not be from BCM. For example, you could link to a source on Rommel or Blitzkrieg, and foreign terms such as decentralized network and liquid labour. Here’s one you could use: and liquid labour could be as simple as linking Teds Prezi:

    – Alex


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