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Peace And Love ft Masego & Rommel Donald
Contents:
  1. Rommel's Peace by Lawrence Wells
  2. Marshal Erwin Rommel, nicknamed the “Desert Fox,” died in the bomb attack against Hitler.
  3. Description

The two Italian armoured divisions, Ariete and Trieste , were still under Italian control. Kesselring was ordered to get control of the air and sea between Africa and Italy. Following his success in Battleaxe, Rommel returned his attention to the capture of Tobruk. He made preparations for a new offensive, to be launched between 15 and 20 November. Auchinleck had tanks and double the number of Axis aircraft. Auchinleck launched Operation Crusader , a major offensive to relieve Tobruk, on 18 November Noting that the British armour was separated into three groups incapable of mutual support, he concentrated his Panzers so as to gain local superiority.

The airfield at Sidi Rezegh was retaken by 21st Panzer on 22 November. In four days of fighting, the Eighth Army lost tanks and Rommel only Wanting to exploit the British halt and their apparent disorganisation, on 24 November Rommel counterattacked near the Egyptian border in an operation that became known as the "dash to the wire".

While Rommel drove into Egypt, the remaining Commonwealth forces east of Tobruk threatened the weak Axis lines there. On 27 November the British attack on Tobruk linked up with the defenders, and Rommel, having suffered losses that could not easily be replaced, had to concentrate on regrouping the divisions that had attacked into Egypt. By 7 December Rommel fell back to a defensive line at Gazala, just west of Tobruk, all the while under heavy attack from the Desert Air Force.

The Bardia garrison surrendered on 2 January and Halfaya on 17 January On 5 January the Afrika Korps received 55 tanks and new supplies and Rommel started planning a counterattack. On 21 January, Rommel launched the attack. The Axis forces retook Benghazi on 29 January and Timimi on 3 February, with the Allies pulling back to a defensive line just before the Tobruk area south of the coastal town of Gazala. Rommel placed a thin screen of mobile forces before them, and held the main force of the Panzerarmee well back near Antela and Mersa Brega. Following Kesselring's successes in creating local air superiority around the British naval and air bases at Malta in April , an increased flow of supplies reached the Axis forces in Africa.

He knew the British were planning offensive operations as well, and he hoped to pre-empt them. While out on reconnaissance on 6 April, he was severely bruised in the abdomen when his vehicle was the target of artillery fire. Unlike the British, the Axis forces had no armoured reserve; all operable equipment was put into immediate service. In addition, Italian tanks were in service, but these were also under-gunned and poorly armoured.

Early in the afternoon of 26 May , Rommel attacked first and the Battle of Gazala commenced. Italian infantry supplemented with small numbers of armoured forces assaulted the centre of the Gazala fortifications. To give the impression that this was the main assault, spare aircraft engines mounted on trucks were used to create huge clouds of dust.

Rommel's Peace by Lawrence Wells

Ritchie was not convinced by this display, and left the 4th and 22nd Armoured Brigades in position at the south end of the Commonwealth position. The Grant tanks proved to be impossible to knock out except at close range. Renewing the attack on the morning of 28 May, Rommel concentrated on encircling and destroying separate units of the British armour. Repeated British counterattacks threatened to cut off and destroy the Afrika Korps. Running low on fuel, Rommel assumed a defensive posture, forming "the Cauldron". He made use of the extensive British minefields to shield his western flank.

Meanwhile, Italian infantry cleared a path through the mines to provide supplies. On 30 May Rommel resumed the offensive, attacking westwards to link with elements of Italian X Corps, which had cleared a path through the Allied minefields to establish a supply line. On 15 June Axis forces reached the coast, cutting off the escape for the Commonwealth forces still occupying the Gazala positions.

Marshal Erwin Rommel, nicknamed the “Desert Fox,” died in the bomb attack against Hitler.

With this task completed, Rommel struck for Tobruk while the enemy was still confused and disorganised. The assault on Tobruk began at dawn on 20 June, and Klopper surrendered at dawn the following day. On 22 June, Hitler promoted Rommel to Generalfeldmarschall for this victory. Following his success at Gazala and Tobruk, Rommel wanted to seize the moment and not allow 8th Army a chance to regroup. However, Hitler viewed the North African campaign primarily as a way to assist his Italian allies, not as an objective in and of itself.

He would not consider sending Rommel the reinforcements and supplies he needed to take and hold Egypt, as this would have required diverting men and supplies from his primary focus: the Eastern Front. Rommel's success at Tobruk worked against him, as Hitler no longer felt it was necessary to proceed with Operation Herkules , the proposed attack on Malta. He pressed an attack on the heavily fortified town of Mersa Matruh , which Auchinleck had designated as the fall-back position, surrounding it on 28 June.

The four divisions of X Corps were caught in the encirclement, and were ordered by Auchinleck to attempt a breakout. The 29th Indian Infantry Brigade was nearly destroyed, losing 6, troops and 40 tanks. In addition to stockpiles of fuel and other supplies, the British abandoned hundreds of tanks and trucks.

Those that were functional were put into service by the Panzerarmee. Rommel continued his pursuit of the Eighth Army, which had fallen back to heavily prepared defensive positions at El Alamein. This region is a natural choke point, where the Qattara Depression creates a relatively short line to defend that could not be outflanked to the south because of the steep escarpment. Rommel had around available tanks. The Allies were able to achieve local air superiority, with heavy bombers attacking the 15th and 21st Panzers, who had also been delayed by a sandstorm.

The 90th Light Division veered off course and were pinned down by South African artillery fire. Rommel continued to attempt to advance for two more days, but repeated sorties by the Desert Air Force meant he could make no progress. The ridge was captured by the 26th Australian Brigade on 16 July. Rommel realised that the tide was turning. Bernard Montgomery was made the new commander of Eighth Army that same day.

The Eighth Army had initially been assigned to General William Gott , but he was killed when his plane was shot down on 7 August. The Battle of Alam el Halfa was launched on 30 August. The terrain left Rommel with no choice but to follow a similar tactic as he had at previous battles: the bulk of the forces attempted to sweep around from the south while secondary attacks were launched on the remainder of the front.

It took much longer than anticipated to get through the minefields in the southern sector, and the tanks got bogged down in unexpected patches of quicksand Montgomery had arranged for Rommel to acquire a falsified map of the terrain. By 2 September, Rommel realized the battle was unwinnable, and decided to withdraw. Montgomery had made preparations to cut the Germans off in their retreat, but in the afternoon of 2 September he visited Corps commander Brian Horrocks and gave orders to allow the Germans to retire.

This was to preserve his own strength intact for the main battle which was to come. Montgomery called off further action to preserve his strength and allow for further desert training for his forces. The British losses, except tank losses of 68, were much less, further adding to the numerical inferiority of Panzer Army Afrika. The Desert Air Force inflicted the highest proportions of damage on Rommel's forces.

He now realized the war in Africa could not be won. Improved decoding by British intelligence see Ultra meant that the Allies had advance knowledge of virtually every Mediterranean convoy, and only 30 percent of shipments were getting through. Stumme, in command in Rommel's absence, died of an apparent heart attack while examining the front on 24 October, and Rommel was ordered to return from his medical leave, arriving on the 25th. By the end of 25 October, the 15th Panzer, the defenders in this sector, had only 31 serviceable tanks remaining of their initial force of On 28 October, Montgomery shifted his focus to the coast, ordering his 1st and 10th Armoured Divisions to attempt to swing around and cut off Rommel's line of retreat.

Meanwhile, Rommel concentrated his attack on the Allied salient at Kidney Ridge, inflicting heavy losses. However, Rommel had only operational tanks remaining, and Montgomery had , many of them Shermans. Montgomery, seeing his armoured brigades losing tanks at an alarming rate, stopped major attacks until the early hours of 2 November, when he opened Operation Supercharge, with a massive artillery barrage.

Rommel, who believed that the lives of his soldiers should never be squandered needlessly, was stunned. He later said the decision to delay was what he most regretted from his time in Africa. As Rommel attempted to withdraw his forces before the British could cut off his retreat, he fought a series of delaying actions. Heavy rains slowed movements and grounded the Desert Air Force, which aided the withdrawal. Those parts of Panzerarmee Africa that were motorized slipped away from El Alamein, but were under pressure from the pursuing Eighth Army.

A series of short delaying actions was fought over the coastal highway, but no line could be held for any length of time, as Rommel lacked the armour and fuel to defend his open southern flank. Rommel defended his decision, pointing out that if he tried to assume a defensive position the Allies would destroy his forces and take the airfields anyway; the retreat saved the lives of his remaining men and shortened his supply lines. By now, Rommel's remaining forces fought in reduced strength combat groups, whereas the Allied forces had great numerical superiority and control of the air.

Upon his arrival in Tunisia , Rommel noted with some bitterness the reinforcements, including the 10th Panzer Division, arriving in Tunisia following the Allied invasion of Morocco. Having reached Tunisia, Rommel launched an attack against the U. II Corps which was threatening to cut his lines of supply north to Tunis. Rommel inflicted a sharp defeat on the American forces at the Kasserine Pass in February, his last battlefield victory of the war, and his first engagement against the United States Army.

Rommel immediately turned back against the British forces, occupying the Mareth Line old French defences on the Libyan border. Though Messe replaced Rommel, he diplomatically deferred to him, and the two coexisted in what was theoretically the same command. On 23 February Armeegruppe Afrika was created with Rommel in command. Alerted by Ultra intercepts, Montgomery deployed large numbers of anti-tank guns in the path of the offensive. After losing 52 tanks, Rommel called off the assault. Rommel never returned to Africa. He arrived in Greece on 25 July, but was recalled to Berlin the same day due to the overthrow of Mussolini.

Rommel was to be posted to Italy as commander of the newly formed Army Group B. When Italy announced its armistice with the Allies on 8 September, his forces took part in Operation Achse , disarming the Italian forces. Hitler met with Rommel and Kesselring to discuss future operations in Italy on 30 September Rommel insisted on a defensive line north of Rome, while Kesselring was more optimistic and advocated holding a line south of Rome. Hitler preferred Kesselring's recommendation, and therefore revoked his previous decision for the subordination of Kesselring's forces to Rommel's army group.

On 19 October Hitler decided that Kesselring would be the overall commander of the forces in Italy, sidelining Rommel. Rommel had wrongly predicted that the collapse of the German line in Italy would be fast. On 21 November Hitler gave Kesselring overall command of the Italian theater, moving Rommel and Army Group B to Normandy in France with responsibility for defending the French coast against the long anticipated Allied invasion. He was given a staff that befitted an army group commander, and the powers to travel, examine and make suggestions on how to improve the defences, but not a single soldier.

Hitler, who was having a disagreement with him over military matters, intended to use Rommel as a psychological trump card. There was broad disagreement in the German High Command as to how best to meet the expected allied invasion of Northern France. The Commander-in-Chief West, Gerd von Rundstedt, believed there was no way to stop the invasion near the beaches due to the firepower possessed by the Allied navies, as had been experienced at Salerno.

The allies could be allowed to extend themselves deep into France where a battle for control would be fought, allowing the Germans to envelop the allied forces in a pincer movement, cutting off their avenue of retreat. He feared the piecemeal commitment of their armoured forces would cause them to become caught in a battle of attrition which they could not hope to win. The notion of holding the armour inland to use as a mobile reserve force from which they could mount a powerful counterattack applied the classic use of armoured formations as seen in France These tactics were still effective on the Eastern Front, where control of the air was important but did not dominate the action.

Rommel's own experiences at the end of the North African campaign revealed to him that the Germans would not be allowed to preserve their armour from air attack for this type of massed assault.

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Though there had been some defensive positions established and gun emplacements made, the Atlantic Wall was a token defensive line. Rundstedt had confided to Rommel that it was for propaganda purposes only. Upon arriving in Northern France Rommel was dismayed by the lack of completed works. According to Ruge , Rommel was in a staff position and could not issue orders, but he took every effort to explain his plan to commanders down to the platoon level, who took up his words eagerly, but "more or less open" opposition from the above slowed down the process. He set out to improve the fortifications along the Atlantic Wall with great energy and engineering skill.

This was a compromise: Rommel now commanded the 7th and 15th armies; he also had authority over a kilometer-wide strip of coastal land between Zuiderzee and the mouth of the Loire. The chain of command was convoluted: the airforce and navy had their own chiefs, as did the South and Southwest France and the Panzer group; Rommel also needed Hitler's permissions to use the tank divisions. The quality of some of the troops manning them was poor and many bunkers lacked sufficient stocks of ammunition. Rundstedt expected the Allies to invade in the Pas-de-Calais because it was the shortest crossing point from Britain, its port facilities were essential to supplying a large invasion force, and the distance from Calais to Germany was relatively short.

Hitler vacillated between the two strategies. Rommel moved those armoured formations under his command as far forward as possible, ordering General Erich Marcks , commanding the 84th Corps defending the Normandy section, to move his reserves into the frontline. Although Rommel was the dominating personality in Normandy with Rundstedt willing to delegate most of the responsibilities to him the central reserve was Rundstedt's idea but he did not oppose to some form of coastal defense, and gradually came under the influence of Rommel's thinking , Rommel's strategy of an armor-supported coastal defense line was opposed by some officers, most notably Leo Geyr von Schweppenburg , who was supported by Guderian.

The Allies staged elaborate deceptions for D-Day see Operation Fortitude , giving the impression that the landings would be at Calais. Although Hitler himself expected a Normandy invasion for a while, Rommel and most Army commanders in France believed there would be two invasions, with the main invasion coming at the Pas-de-Calais.

Rommel drove defensive preparations all along the coast of Northern France, particularly concentrating fortification building in the River Somme estuary. By D-Day on 6 June nearly all the German staff officers, including Hitler's staff, believed that Pas-de-Calais was going to be the main invasion site, and continued to believe so even after the landings in Normandy had occurred.

The 5 June storm in the channel seemed to make a landing very unlikely, and a number of the senior officers were away from their units for training exercises and various other efforts. On 4 June the chief meteorologist of the 3 Air Fleet reported that weather in the channel was so poor there could be no landing attempted for two weeks.

On 5 June Rommel left France and on 6 June he was at home celebrating his wife's birthday. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, Rundstedt had requested the reserves be transferred to his command. Later in the day, Rundstedt received authorisation to move additional units in preparation for a counterattack, which Rundstedt decided to launch on 7 June.

Upon arrival, Rommel concurred with the plan. By nightfall, Rundstedt, Rommel and Speidel continued to believe that the Normandy landing might have been a diversionary attack, as the Allied deception measures still pointed towards Calais. The 7 June counterattack did not take place as the 12th SS did not arrive on time due to the Allied air bombardments. Facing relatively small-scale German counterattacks, the Allies secured five beachheads by nightfall of 6 June, landing , troops. Rommel believed that if his armies pulled out of range of Allied naval fire, it would give them a chance to regroup and re-engage them later with a better chance of success.

While he managed to convince Rundstedt, they still needed to win over Hitler. At a meeting with Hitler in Margival on 17 June, Rommel warned Hitler about the inevitable collapse in the German defences, but was rebuffed and told to focus on military operations. By mid-July the German position was crumbling.

Rommel was thrown from the car, suffering injuries to the left side of his face from glass shards and three fractures to his skull. The role that Rommel played in the military's resistance against Hitler or the 20 July plot is difficult to ascertain, as most of the leaders who were directly involved did not survive and limited documentation on the conspirators' plans and preparations exists.

According to Hartmann, by the end of May, in another meeting at Hartmann's quarters in Mareil-Marly, Rommel showed "decisive determination" and clear approval of the inner circle's plan. The conspirators felt they needed the support of a field marshal on active duty. Erwin von Witzleben , who would have become commander-in-chief of the Wehrmacht had the plot succeeded, was a field marshal, but had been inactive since The conspirators gave instructions to Speidel to bring Rommel into their circle.

On 16 May, they informed Allen Dulles , through whom they hoped to negotiate with the Western Allies, that Rommel could not be counted on for support. At least initially, Rommel opposed assassinating Hitler. After the war, his widow—among others—maintained that Rommel believed an assassination attempt would spark civil war in Germany and Austria, and Hitler would have become a martyr for a lasting cause.

Description

The arrest plan would have been highly improbable, as Hitler's security was extremely tight. Rommel would have known this, having commanded Hitler's army protection detail in On 15 July, Rommel wrote a letter to Hitler giving him a "last chance" to end the hostilities with the Western Allies, urging Hitler to "draw the proper conclusions without delay.

Hart, reliable details of the conversations are now lost, although they certainly met. On 17 July, Rommel was incapacitated by an Allied air attack, which many authors describe as a fateful event that drastically altered the outcome of the bomb plot. After the failed bomb attack of 20 July, many conspirators were arrested and the dragnet expanded to thousands. Historian Peter Lieb considers the memorandum, as well as Eberbach's conversation and the testimonies of surviving resistant members including Hartmann to be the three key sources that indicate Rommel's support of the assassination plan.

He further notes that while Speidel had an interest in promoting his own post-war career, his testimonies should not be dismissed, considering his bravery as an early resistance figure. He began to contemplate this plan some months after El Alamein and carried it out with a lonely decision and conviction, and in the end, had managed to bring military leaders in the West to his side.

Rommel's case was turned over to the "Court of Military Honour"—a drumhead court-martial convened to decide the fate of officers involved in the conspiracy. Keitel and Guderian then made the decision that favoured Speidel's case and at the same time shifted the blame to Rommel. However, Hitler knew that having Rommel branded and executed as a traitor would severely damage morale on the home front.

Burgdorf informed him of the charges and offered him three options: he could choose to defend himself personally to Hitler in Berlin, [N 10] or if he refused to do so which would be taken as an admission of guilt , he would either face the People's Court—which would have been tantamount to a death sentence—or choose a quiet suicide.

In the former case, his family would have suffered even before the all-but-certain conviction and execution, and his staff would have been arrested and executed as well. In the latter case, the government would claim that he died a hero and bury him with full military honours, and his family would receive full pension payments. Burgdorf had brought a cyanide capsule. Rommel denied involvement in the plot, declared his love for Hitler and that he would gladly serve his "Fatherland" again. Before the two officers came, Rommel had told his family and friends that he would not reach Berlin alive, considering the fact that he appeared before a court "would be the end of Hitler", too.

After stopping, Doose and Maisel walked away from the car, leaving Rommel with Burgdorf. Five minutes later Burgdorf gestured to the two men to return to the car, and Doose noticed that Rommel was slumped over, having taken the cyanide. He died before being taken to the Wagner-Schule field hospital. Ten minutes later, the group telephoned Rommel's wife to inform her of his death. The official story of Rommel's death, as reported to the public, stated that Rommel had died of either a heart attack or a cerebral embolism —a complication of the skull fractures he had suffered in the earlier strafing of his staff car.

As previously promised, Rommel was given a state funeral. The fact that his state funeral was held in Ulm instead of Berlin had, according to his son, been stipulated by Rommel.


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Rommel's grave is located in Herrlingen, a short distance west of Ulm. For decades after the war on the anniversary of his death, veterans of the Africa campaign, including former opponents, would gather at his tomb in Herrlingen. Rommel's experiences on the Italian front in the First World War which gained successes against opponents shaped Rommel's subsequent style as a military commander.

Rommel was a successful tactician in a rapidly developing mobile battle. He learned that taking initiative and not allowing the enemy forces to regroup led to victory. Some authors, like Porch, comment that Rommel's enemies were often less organized, second-rate, or depleted, and his tactics were less effective against adequately led, trained and supplied opponents, and proved insufficient in the latter years of the war.

Rommel is praised by numerous authors as a great leader of men. Rommel received both praise and criticism for his leadership during the French campaign. Many, such as General Georg Stumme , who had previously commanded 7th Panzer Division, were impressed with the speed and success of Rommel's drive. Some pointed out that Rommel's division took the highest casualties in the campaign.

Taking his opponents by surprise and creating uncertainty in their minds were key elements in Rommel's approach to offensive warfare: he took advantage of sand storms and the dark of night to conceal the movement of his forces. When the British mounted a commando raid deep behind German lines in an effort to kill Rommel and his staff on the eve of their Crusader offensive, Rommel was indignant that the British expected to find his headquarters miles behind his front.

Mellenthin lists Rommel's counterattack during Operation Crusader as one such instance. Rommel spoke German with a pronounced southern German or Swabian accent. He was not a part of the Prussian aristocracy that dominated the German high command, and as such was looked upon somewhat suspiciously by the Wehrmacht 's traditional power structure. Rommel was direct, unbending, tough in his manners, to superiors and subordinates alike, disobedient even to Hitler whenever he saw fit, although he was gentle and diplomatic to the lower ranks German and Italian alike and POWs.

Although he was nominally subordinate to the Italians, he enjoyed a certain degree of autonomy from them; since he was directing their troops in battle as well as his own, this was bound to cause hostility among Italian commanders. Conversely, as the Italian command had control over the supplies of the forces in Africa, they resupplied Italian units preferentially, which was a source of resentment for Rommel and his staff. While certainly much less proficient than Rommel in their leadership, aggressiveness, tactical outlook and mobile warfare skills, [] Italian commanders were competent in logistics, strategy and artillery doctrine: their troops were ill-equipped but well-trained.

As such, the Italian commanders were repeatedly at odds with Rommel over concerns with issues of supply. This effort resulted only in partial success, with Kesselring's own relationship with the Italians being unsteady and Kesselring claiming Rommel ignored him as easily as he ignored the Italians. Very different, however, was the perception of Rommel by Italian common soldiers and NCOs, who, like the German field troops, had the deepest trust and respect for him.

Incidentally, Palestine Jews associated Rommel with Romulus as well, based on Ohr Hachaim 's year-old commentary on the account of Jacob wrestling with the angel []. Rommel himself held a much more generous view about the Italian soldier [] than about their leadership, towards whom his disdain, deeply rooted in militarism, was not atypical, although unlike Kesselring, he was incapable of concealing it. Some authors like Sadkovich blame Rommel for abandoning his Italian units, refusing cooperation, rarely acknowledging their achievements and other erroneous behaviours towards his Italian allies.

In general, Rommel was a target of criticism and scapegoat for defeat rather than a glorified figure, with certain generals also trying to replace him as the heroic leader or hijack the Rommel myth for their own benefit. Nevertheless, he never became a hated figure, although, the "abandonment myth", despite being repudiated by officers of the X Corps themselves, was long-lived. Many found Rommel's chaotic leadership and emotional character hard to work with, yet the Italians held him in higher regards than other German senior commanders, militarily and personally.

Many authors describe Rommel as having a reputation of being a chivalrous, humane, and professional officer, and that he earned the respect of both his own troops and his enemies. Remy opines that an order in which Rommel who was actually protesting against Hitler's directives called for no "sentimental scruples" against "Badoglio-dependent bandits in uniforms of the once brothers-in-arms" should not be taken out of context.

The same had most likely been done in North Africa, [] however this is disputed by historian Szymon Datner who wrote that Rommel might have been simply trying to conceal atrocities of Nazi Germany from the Allies. Historian Richard J. Evans has stated that German soldiers in Tunisia raped Jewish women, and the success of Rommel's forces in capturing or securing Allied, Italian and Vichy French territory in North Africa led to many Jews in these areas being killed by other German institutions as part of the Holocaust.

However, in view of the Axis' deteriorating situation in Africa, they returned to Germany in September.

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The Haaretz also remarks that Rommel's influence probably softened the Nazi authorities' attitude to the Jews and the civilian population in North Africa. Rommel had described the conduct of the desert war as "War without Hate" in his papers. Historian Martin Kitchen states that the reputation of the Afrika Korps was preserved due to circumstances: the sparsely populated desert areas did not lend themselves to ethnic cleansing; the German forces never reached Egypt and Palestine that had large Jewish populations; and in the urban areas of Tunisia and Tripolitania, the Italian government constrained the German efforts to discriminate against or eliminate Jews who were Italian citizens.

Rommel asked to be allowed to punish the division. Although they got basic wages, the workers complained because it was too little and there was no heavy equipment. Rick Atkinson criticizes Rommel for gaining a looted stamp collection a bribe from Sepp Dietrich and a villa taken from the Jews. Curiously, a recent research by Norman Ohler claims that Rommel's behaviours were heavily influenced by Pervitin which he reportedly took in heavy doses, to such an extent that Ohler referred to him as "the Crystal Fox" "Kristallfuchs" [] [] playing off the nickname "the Desert Fox" a nickname famously given to him by the British, as reported by other sources.

At the beginning, although Hitler and Goebbels took particular notice of Rommel, the Nazi elites had no intent to create one major war symbol partly out of fear that he would offset Hitler [] [] , generating huge propaganda campaigns for not only Rommel but also Gerd von Rundstedt , Walther von Brauchitsch , Eduard Dietl , Sepp Dietrich the latter two were party members and also strongly supported by Hitler , etc. Rommel's victories in France were featured in the German press and in the February film Victory in the West, in which Rommel personally helped direct a segment reenacting the crossing of the Somme River.

In North Africa, Rommel received help in cultivating his image from Alfred Ingemar Berndt , a senior official at the Reich Propaganda Ministry who had volunteered for military service. He directed Rommel's photo shoots and filed radio dispatches describing the battles. In the spring of , Rommel's name began to appear in the British media. Toward the end of the year, the Reich propaganda machine also used Rommel's successes in Africa as a diversion from the Wehrmacht's challenging situation in the Soviet Union with the stall of Operation Barbarossa.

The attention of the Western and especially the British press thrilled Goebbels, who wrote in his diary in early "Rommel continues to be the recognized darling of even the enemies' news agencies. The Field Marshal was the German commander most frequently covered in the German media, and the only one to be given a press conference, which took place in October Rommel declared: "Today we He became a symbol that was used to reinforce the German public's faith in an ultimate Axis victory.

In the wake of the successful British offensive in November and other military reverses, the Propaganda Ministry directed the media to emphasize Rommel's invincibility. The charade was maintained until the spring of , even as the German situation in Africa became increasingly precarious. To ensure that the inevitable defeat in Africa would not be associated with Rommel's name, Goebbels had the Supreme High Command announce in May that Rommel was on a two-month leave for health reasons.

After the radio program ran in May , Rommel sent Berndt a case of cigars as a sign of his gratitude. Although Rommel then entered a period without a significant command, he remained a household name in Germany, synonymous with the aura of invincibility. Goebbels supported the decision, noting in his diary that Rommel was "undoubtedly the suitable man" for the task. The propaganda minister expected the move to reassure the German public and at the same time to have a negative impact on the Allied forces' morale. In France, a Wehrmacht propaganda company frequently accompanied Rommel on his inspection trips to document his work for both domestic and foreign audiences.

When Rommel was seriously wounded on 17 July , the Propaganda Ministry undertook efforts to conceal the injury so as not to undermine domestic morale. Despite those, the news leaked to the British press. To counteract the rumors of a serious injury and even death, Rommel was required to appear at the 1 August press conference. On 3 August, the German press published an official report that Rommel had been injured in a car accident. Rommel noted in his diary his dismay at this twisting of the truth, belatedly realising how much the Reich propaganda was using him for its own ends.

Rommel was interested in propaganda beyond the promotion of his own image. In , after visiting Rommel in France and reading his proposals on counteracting Allied propaganda, Alfred-Ingemar Berndt remarked: "He is also interested in this propaganda business and wants to develop it by all means. He has even thought and brought out practical suggestions for each program and subject. Rommel saw the propaganda and education values in his and his nation's deeds He also did value justice itself: According to Admiral Ruge's diary, Rommel told Ruge: "Justice is the indispensable foundation of a nation.

Unfortunately, the higher-ups are not clean. The slaughterings are grave sins. What they want is what might be termed a physical contact with him. In moments of panic, fatigue, or disorganization, or when something out of the ordinary has to be demanded from them, the personal example of the commander works wonders, especially if he has had the wit to create some sort of legend around himself.

He protested the use of propaganda at the cost of explicit military benefits though. The political scientist and historian Randall Hansen suggests that Rommel chose his whole command style for the purpose of spreading meritocracy and egalitarianism, as well as Nazi ideals he shared with Hitler due to their common non-aristocratic background.

Hitler replied, "Dear Rommel, you understand nothing about my thinking at all. Rommel was not a member of the Nazi Party. Rommel, as other Wehrmacht officers, welcomed the Nazi rise to power. Kesselring described Rommel's own power over Hitler as "hypnotic". He had entrusted himself to me and would never forget me for my excellent advice. The close relationship between Rommel and Hitler continued following the Western campaign; after Rommel sent to him a specially prepared diary on the 7th Division, he received a letter of thanks from the dictator [] [N 25] According to Speer, normally, he would send extremely unclear reports which annoyed Hitler greatly [].

Amid growing doubts and differences, he would remain eager to hear from Rommel's calls they had almost daily, hour-long, highly animated conversations, with the preferred topic being technical innovations [] , once almost grabbed the telephone out of Linge's hand. Although, according to Linge, seeing his disobedience, Hitler also realized the mistake in building up Rommel, whom not only the Afrika Korps but also the German people in general now considered the German God.

Rommel was an ambitious man who took advantage of his proximity to Hitler and willingly accepted the propaganda campaigns designed for him by Goebbels. On the other hand, being elevated by the traditional system that gave preferential treatment to aristocratic officers would be betrayal of his aspiration "to remain a man of the troops". Messenger argues that Rommel's attitude towards Hitler changed only after the Allied invasion of Normandy, when Rommel came to realise that the war could not be won, [] while Maurice Remy suggests that Rommel never truly broke away from the relationship with Hitler, but praises him for "always [having] the courage to oppose him whenever his conscience required so.

Rommel's political inclinations were a controversial matter even among the contemporary Nazi elites. Rommel himself, while showing support to some facets of the Nazi ideology [] and enjoying the propaganda the Nazi machine built around him, was enraged by the Nazi media's effort to portray him as an early party member and son of a mason, forcing them to correct this misinformation. Hitler and Goebbels, his main supporters, tended to defend him. When Rommel was being considered for appointment as Commander-in-Chief of the Army in the summer of , Goebbels wrote in his diary that Rommel "is ideologically sound, is not just sympathetic to the National Socialists.

He is a National Socialist; he is a troop leader with a gift for improvisation, personally courageous and extraordinarily inventive. These are the kinds of soldiers we need. When Rommel lost faith in the final victory and Hitler's leadership, Hitler and Goebbels tried to find an alternative in Manstein to remedy the fighting will and "political direction" of other generals but did not succeed.

Meanwhile, officials who did not like Rommel like Bormann and Schirach whispered to each other that he was not a Nazi at all. Himmler, who played a decisive role in Rommel's death, tried to blame Keitel and Jodl for the deed, which indeed was initiated by Keitel and Jodl, who deeply resented Rommel's meteoric rise and had long feared that he would become the Commander-in-Chief. Owen Connelly comments that he could afford easy discipline because of his charisma. Depending on the case, Hitler manipulated or exacerbated the situation in order to benefit himself, [] [] [N 30] although he originally had no intent of pushing Rommel to the point of destruction [] even after having been informed of Rommel's involvement in the plot, hurt and vengeful, [7] at first he wanted to retire Rommel, [] and eventually offered him a last-minute chance to explain himself and refute the claims, which Rommel apparently did not take advantage of [] [] , until Rommel's enemies worked together to bring him down.

Maurice Remy concludes that, unwillingly and probably without ever realising, Rommel was part of a murderous regime, although he never actually grasped the core of National Socialism. According to some revisionist authors, an assessment of Rommel's role in history has been hampered by views of Rommel that were formed, at least in part, due to political reasons, creating what these historians have called the " Rommel myth ". The interpretation considered by some historians to be a myth is the depiction of the Field Marshal as an apolitical, brilliant commander and a victim of the Third Reich who participated in the 20 July plot against Adolf Hitler.

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