The ‘Lightning War’ and The Logic of Decentralisation

The first time I heard the word blitzkrieg‘ was in Modern History in high school. I was taught it meant ‘lightning war’ and that is was a military tactic that aided the German army during the Second World War. I was unaware of its implications for communications and the global media network.

Since the inception of the blitzkrieg there has been a paradigmatic shift from centralised information networks to a system of distributed information networks. Whereas former centralised networks resembled star-shaped topologies and utilised hierarchical mainframes, the contemporary distributed network configuration is anarchic, allows the free flow of information and transgresses borders and boundaries. This was an effort to address concerns of efficiency, organisation and control.

The following infographic explores the ‘logic of decentralisation’ and its German origins. It provides a brief overview of the paradigmatic shift in network societies.

Blitzkrieg and the Logic of Decentralisation-2


  • Mitew, T., 2014, ‘Liquid Labour: Global Media Industries and the Costs of Immaterial Production’, Lecture / YouTube Video, DIGC202, University of Wollongong, 18 August 2014, viewed August 19th 2015, via <;

20 thoughts on “The ‘Lightning War’ and The Logic of Decentralisation

  1. Hey Melissa, I love the infographic such a perfect way to break down the idea of decentralisation. Before DIGC202 I had never heard the term ‘node’ be used to describe the way our society makes use of the distributed information network. However, that’s just it we are the connectors of the dynamic shift from centralised information flows to distributed information flows. We add value to the communication network by our contribution.

    • Hi Remy,
      I also had no idea what a node was, but I couldn’t agree more. It is the perfect way to describe how we interact with the network system around us!
      Thanks for the comment and feedback!

  2. Everything here is fantastic! I love the history you provided it adds context and helps understand the whole process and the roots of it a bit better! Your infographic is fantastic (I still haven’t gotten a handle on them yet!) Its amazing how the first distributed nodes were as big as WW2 tanks and now they are as small as apple watches! the development of this paradigm has created such an immediate world, and that we expect everything as quick as fast food! I still think the efficiency of a centralised network needs to be implemented at some stage of a distributed organisational network purely because it is so efficient and there is structure and hierarchy (something the distributed lacks).
    Lovely post! simple and informative 🙂

    • Hi Chloe!
      Thank you! I used piktograph to make the infographic, it was much simpler than I thought it would be and was free!
      I agree, I think that there are some situations which require a centralised network rather than a distributed network in terms of organisation. Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Hey Melissa,
    Firstly, that infographic is fantastic. It’s crazy to consider something like the German WW2 war plan could be used to describe the shift to distributed networks, but it works really well. Definitely one of the interesting points to come out of the lecture, and you traced it through your blog in quite an engaging way. In the end the decentralised network created strengthened the way the German tanks operated, now doing the same for our digital networks – crazy!

    • Hi Jayden,
      Thanks! I actually was inspired to use the infographic after seeing your own in cyberpunk! I also think it is crazy to think that tanks are almost responsible for the network system we all live and breathe. Thank you for the comment!

  4. The little infographic you made is awesome, a super unique and interesting remediation to compare decentralized & centralized networks. Likening the Blitzkreig used In WW2 to the distributed information networks we use now was very cool.

    I agree the decentralized, distributed information networks that we utilise now definitely have its advantages like you stated in your infographic – where information disregards borders and is equally distributed – but I agree with Chloe that a centralised network allows for a much more controlled, organised and efficient network through a hierarchical structure not seen in anarchic decentralized information flows.

    • Hi Alan,
      I am glad you enjoyed the infographic! All through high school I was told about how significant the blitzkrieg was for the German war effort but never thought of it as a significant moment in communications. I also agree with Chloe, I think that is certain situations a centralised network system would be more effective. Thanks for the comment, I appreciate the feedback!

  5. Wow the graphic you’ve selected is so interesting and easily explains how Blitzkrieg is relevant to this weeks topic. I found it particularly interesting how it relates to information networks and how they have changed since it’s introduction. It’s great when someone finds something user friendly and uses simple language to explain tech savvy info because I generally have no idea what’s being said if we’re using industry jargon haha.

  6. In your post you really supplemented the lecture with background content that was extremely interesting and helpful in showing how blitzkrieg ties into the logic of decentralisation and the idea of extremely fast information channels. The use of a infographic was executed very well as is visualised the content into an easy to read, and graphic remediation of the content. I loved it!

  7. Hi,
    The first time I heard to word blitzkrieg was in Ted’s prezi. I did Modern History in high school and I don’t remember learning about it, and we did a lot of work on Germany, but it’s cool how Modern History has connected to DIGC202. You remediation has great detail and is visually appealing. Good job! 🙂

  8. Great inforgraphic, Melissa! The Blitzkrieg was one of the main aspects of the lecture I had very little knowledge of, in fact I’m surprised I spelled Blitzkrieg correctly even after reading it so many times. Your infographic was delivered in a very simple yet informative way and I can now clearly see the connection between the importance of distributed networks and the German war strategies. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  9. The infographic you made was awesome! Very easy to read and understand. It’s pretty interesting how modern history and DIGC, two seemingly completely different subjects, intersect. I really learnt from both and how distributed networks seemed to be pretty important in the German war.

  10. Pingback: “Everyday I’m Tumblr-ing”: Tumblr as a Gatewatcher | A Blog in the Life of Melissa

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