Erwin Rommel - HISTORY
For a time, Erwin Rommel was Hitler's favorite general. Gaining prominence in as a commander of a panzer division that smashed the French defenses. Germany's memorial to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel is perched on a hillside overlooking the middle-class town of Heidenheim an der Brenz. Rommel and Hitler had a close and genuine, if complicated, personal relationship. Rommel, as other.
Running low on tanks, ammunition and fuel, Rommel prepared to retreat. He also disregarded an order directing German generals to execute Allied commandos caught behind enemy lines. In the end, Rommel fled all the way to Tunisia, winning a tank battle there against the Americans—and losing one against the British—before returning to Europe in March Two months later, the Allies kicked the Germans out of North Africa altogether, setting the stage for their invasion of Italy.
Rommel ramped up coastal defenses prior to D-Day.
Erwin Rommel: A Man of Many Contradictions
Despite Nazi propaganda to the contrary, he found the area highly vulnerable. Under his supervision, the Nazis built fortifications, flooded coastal lowlands to make them impassable and placed massive amounts of barbed wire, mines and steel girders on beaches and offshore waters.
Rommel also wanted tanks at the ready to prevent the Allies from establishing a bridgehead, but his superiors overruled him, preferring to keep most of them inland. He probably never knew of the plot to kill Hitler. Rommel was friends with some of the conspirators and certainly conversed with them about a post-Hitler future. Throughout the s, Rommel develops a close working relationship with Hitlerwhom he initially comes to admire for progressively thwarting the Versailles Treaty and restoring Germany's strength.
He is seen more and more by Hitler side.
But Rommel is anything but a Nazi. In fact, early on he starts to harbor "serious reservations" about the Nazi regime. The speed with which Rommel's force speaheads the German invasion of France causes it to be nicknamed the Ghost Division and himself as the knight of the Apocalypse. At one point, Rommel's army covers miles in one day setting a world record. During the six week campaign, Rommel's force alone captures nearlyFrench prisoners and enemy tanks losing in the process less than 42 tanks.
He returns to Germany acclaimed by Hitler and the population and promoted to lieutenant general. In North Africa, Rommel's "brilliant quick-thinking, opportunism, and leadership" on the battlefield outwits the "slow, ponderous, and remote" British chain of command despite logistical inferiority. In JuneRommel defeats the British 8th Army at Tobruk destroying more than tanks and bagging 30, prisoners of war.
At 49, he attains the rank of Field Marshal - the youngest in the Wehrmacht. But as Germany's fortunes wane, Rommel repeatedly pleads Hitler for permission to evacuate his Afrika Korps from North Africa while there is still time and to use this force to beef up fortress Europe. In the face of Hitler's constant refusals, Rommel confides increasingly to his wife about his loss of faith in Hitler's sanity.
Prevented from evacuating the Afrika Korps, Rommel leads his army on a masterful 1, mile retreat while his arch-nemesis in the field, General Montgomery, is unable to pin him down. In his first encounter with U.
But as the combined Anglo-American enemy grows ever more powerful in numbers and logistics while the supplies of the Afrika Korps dwindle, Rommel sees disaster fast approaching. Locked in a no-retreat posture, Hitler continues to ignore Rommel's pleas to save the ,man Afrika Korps from annihilation.
Following the inevitable disaster, Hitler sends Rommel to France to inspect the coastal defenses against the long-anticipated Anglo-American landing on the continent. Throughout the first half ofRommel devotes himself full-time to improving the coastal defenses and reviving the morale of the Normandy garrisons.
Following D-Day, both he and Field Marshal Gerd von Runstedt repeatedly try to impress upon Hitler that the battle for France will be lost unless the Wehrmacht withdraws to a stabler and shorter front line.
In the face of Hitler's angry refusals to accept this strategic reality, Rommel is now convinced that Hitler harbors a death wish intends to drag Germany down with him. In late June both von Rundstedt and Rommel go to see Hitler only to be rebuffed yet again and return empty handed. In a total war fought savagely and brutally, he inspired admiration for his treatment of prisoners. He was not tainted by Nazism With his troops he enjoyed a deep rapport.
The Forced Suicide of Field Marshall Rommel,
He cared for them, and although he demanded their best and more, he never squandered them. Without pretension, modest, he tackled all his tasks with clarity, energy, and common sense. But so far the top brass of the Wehrmacht — BrauchitschHalder, von Runstedt, Manstein, Guderian, Kluge — have either refused to lend their support or revealed a fence-sitting attitude.
Rommel however has long harbored an increasingly rebellious attitude towards Hitler.