I was in the same boat, only with War in the Pacific. I can offer my insights as I also own WITE (and have pre-ordered WITE2), and I am planning to actively work with both...
The first thing I had to come to grips with was what I was looking for in a game, along with the time I had available to invest in them. My wife and I are now "empty-nesters" so I've had more time come available to me, and I'm ready to get into these in all their glory (so to speak).
These are MASSIVELY deep games. For War in the East, you actually have some options that are on a smaller scale than WiTP, but to really get your money's worth, you will want to do all in. There is a reason that Strategy Gaming Dojo's tutorial is 11 hours (he also has one for WiTP that is similar in length).
When I initially bought these, I didn't have the time, so I had to focus in other areas (I got into the John Tiller games, and still enjoy those).
What has gotten me playing with WiTP (and the same approach I will take with WiTE), was following Dojo's Let's Play series. That "clicked" with me a lot quicker than the tutorials. I figure if I want to go more in depth on a subject, I can refer back to the tutorial that is applicable.
Anyway, that is what is worked with me. Your mileage may vary...