Rommel: Hitler’s Tool and Victim

On November 1, a television film about Rommel achieved top ratings in Germany. It – and much recent Rommel research – made him considerably less attractive than Wikipedia:

“…Late in the war, Rommel was linked to the conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler. Because Rommel was widely renowned, Hitler chose to eliminate him quietly. Rommel agreed to commit suicide by taking a cyanide pill, in return for assurances his family would be spared.”

The situation seems to have been slightly different. With the exception of Albert Speer, no major figure was as close to Hitler as Rommel during the early part of the war. He and Goebbels also got on very well. Rommel was a believing Nazi and shared with Hitler the view, a legacy of WW1, that war was the highest form of life. He had been in command of the Führer’s headquarters in occupied Poland in 1939–40 and must have known about the mass murder of Jews.

Much later, having decided that the war was lost, Rommel recommended to Hitler that he make a separate peace in the West, which infuriated Hitler and caused a final rupture. But in the late spring of 1944 it was his oath to Hitler that prevented him from joining the anti-Hitler conspiracy. On November 17, 1944, he was severely wounded during an air-raid in France, three days before the failed putsch. Hitler’s mistaken assumption that he had joined the conspiracy led to his suicide three months later.

His state of mind during these last months remains an enigma.

Source: Die Zeit, November 2

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2 responses to “Rommel: Hitler’s Tool and Victim

  1. Fascinating. I will never call him the Desert Fox again. Thanks Eric.

  2. Walter Pellikan

    Nobody seems to be prepared to accept the truth about W I and W W 2 as well as theHolocaused of the i945-50period. 9 mill Germans perished.