On November 15, 1891, one of the most recognized and important military men in all of History was born in Heidenheim (Germany): Erwin rommel. His life was always dedicated to the army and the servitude of his country. Participated in both World Wars but he ended up committing suicide due to his disagreements with Adolf hitler.
Since he was little he was a very outgoing and kind child. He was passionate about sports and a remarkable student. On July 19, 1910, he joined the 124th Infantry Regiment of the German Army as a Cadet. After promoting first to Corporal and later to Sergeant, Rommel entered the Kriegsschule (Military Academy) in Danzig. After passing through the academy, he served as a Lieutenant with the mission of instructing the new troops. In this first stage, he began to stand out for his enthusiasm, his teaching ability and his serenity when making decisions.
The outbreak of World War I transferred him to the French front between 1914 and 1915 as a member of one of the battalions in charge of executing the Schlieffen plan. Following the success of the mission, he was promoted to first lieutenant and given company leadership. Here he began to demonstrate his skills as a strategist: his section was the one that had the fewest deaths and injuries.
The course of the war took him from one place to another, where he always demonstrated his quality as a military man and, above all, as a person. One of the traits that characterized him throughout his life was his nobility in the face of his adversaries. He treated his enemies with chivalry and worried about their health. His successes ended up giving him the medal of military merit and the promotion to Captain. But, as of 1917, he was transferred to the General Staff and spent the rest of the war performing administrative functions.
With the German defeat and demilitarization, Rommel did not join the Freikorps, but was one of those chosen (for his military merits) to remain in the army of the Weimar Republic. On January 31, 1933, he was promoted to Major and put in command of the 3rd Battalion of the 17th Infantry Regiment, at which point he met Hitler.
During the rest of the 1930s, he was in command of training units. He was in charge of training the new soldiers, especially after the approval of rearmament authorized by Adolf Hitler. In addition, in this period he rose to the rank of Colonel. It was a progression in which Rommel was very independent from the Nazi command, coming to criticize the military teachings that were carried out with the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth).
But, even with everything, on August 23, 1939 he climbed even more in his military career, receiving the rank of General. Hitler saw Rommel as a great strategist, for which he was assigned as head of security at the Führer's Headquarters.
The WWII made Rommel able to fulfill one of his dreams: to lead the Panzer Division. This happened in France in 1940. He acted quickly and efficiently, taking the Blitzkrieg (Blitzkrieg) to the extreme. He always stayed with the soldiers in the front line to see more closely how he could guide the situation to victory.
Starting in 1941, after instructing the Italian army, he began his campaign in North Africa. An offensive began in Libya that the allies would be unable to stop. The speed with which he advanced and, above all, the effectiveness with which he did so, led him to acquire the nickname: “The Desert Fox”. The allies were rotating generals to see if someone could stop Rommel, but his progress was flawless.
It seemed that nothing could stop the German army until the figure of Bernard Montgomery appeared, the new commander of the British Army. Rommel aimed to conquer Egypt. And he was about to do it. But Montgomery stopped him at El Alamein twice in 1942. Montgomery's own lack of supplies and skill were decisive. It was then that he received the Kommandobefehl (Command Order) by Hitler. In that letter, it was urged to execute all the allied commandos that were captured. As seen during the First World WarRommel was an outstanding military man but, above all, a remarkable person, so he rejected the Führer's order and threatened anyone who wanted to carry it out within his battalion.
Here began to emerge Rommel's doubts about Hitler's leadership leading Germany. These were confirmed by seeing the scant support he received for his plan to stop the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944, after it was transferred to France to prevent an Allied invasion. Although he came very close to defeating the Americans, Rommel was seriously wounded and withdrew from the battle.
From this moment, Rommel already knew of Hitler's inability to lead the country. He ran in favor of the “conspirators”, Who tried attack the Führer (Operation Valkyrie). At first, his idea was to make his regiment surrender and that the Allies could access Berlin and end the war. But he thought it would be easier if he supported the Operation Valkyrie movement.
Many theories have been written about the Erwin Rommel's involvement or abstention in Operation Valkyrie but, in any case, it was repudiated by the German High Command, especially by Hitler. The most widespread version claims that the Führer threatened to kill his family if he did not commit suicide. On October 14, 1944, he was found dead in Ulm. Officially, the death was attributed to a stroke.
That was the end of probably the most respected military by all sides during World War II. Erwin Rommel was a person who saw war as an art, he was against involving the civilian population and always respected his adversaries. He fought side by side with his soldiers in the front line and distanced himself from the Prussian aristocratic officers who abounded in the German High Command.
Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was little he loved History and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.