Erwin Rommel

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Erwin Rommel, 1941

Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel (* 15. November 1891 in Heidenheim; † 14. October 1944 in Blue stone, with Ulm) was a German army officer (since 1942 general field marshal); during the Second World War it befehligte among other things the German troops in North Africa (Africa corps) as well as around the time of D-Day (landing of the allied ones in that Normandy) the army group B. On the one hand admired (particularly of the British opponents, who gave it the surname the ore Fox (desert fox)), on the other hand (particularly in the supreme command of the armed forces) envies and met with hostility, set allegedly into the assassination attempt of 20. July1944 entangled Rommel its life an end, after he had been placed on behalf Hitler before the choice before the people's court to be sentenced or kill themselves.

Erwin Rommel is the father of the former, of many years Stuttgart mayor Manfred Rommel.

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childhood, youth and entrance into the army

Erwin Rommel became to 15. November 1891 in Heidenheim to the Brenz as a second son of professor Erwin Rommel († 5. December 1913), rector of the pro High School in Aalen, and its Mrs. Helene von Luz born. Its brothers and sisters were Gerhard, Helene and Karl. According to own data its first years passed „particularly pleasantly “, since it could play generally speaking garden at the house daily. Actually it wanted to become airplane engineer, butits father placed it before the choice, either to teachers as he, to become or officer. Rommel decided for the latter. After the end of the material High School in Swabian Gmünd Rommel stepped as Fahnenjunker into the infantry regiment king William (6. Württembergi)No. 124 in wine garden (Württemberg) .

In March 1911 he became acquainted with the then seventeen-year old Lucia Maria Mollin (“Lucie” ) with a ball in the Danziger war school, whom he married 1916. Rommel fell in love however also with the twenty-year-old Walburga Stemmer,with which it had a daughter named Gertrud. This illegitimate child was kept secret. With its wife Rommel had born a common son, Manfred, 1928.

Rommel in the First World War

the second lieutenant at that time Erwin Rommel was at the 1. March 1914 to the 3. Company Württembergi field artillery regiment No. 49 shifted after Ulm, then it reached the 1. August of the same yearly (to the day, on which the German Reich explained the war as ally of Austria Hungary Russia) to itsold regiment back shifts, with which he came directly in the first days of the First World War to the front and at the fights in the area Longuyon, in which Maas participated and to the west of Verdun. In September 1914 it receivedthe iron cross of second class, in January 1915 followed the iron cross of first class and the transport to the first lieutenant.

After a Verwundung it became as a company leader of the 9. Company infantry regiment 124 into the Argonnen shifts. After an injury toLeg came he 1915 to the Württembergi mountain battalion. There he became company leader.1916 followed the transfer to the Romanian front and in October 1917 participated it as a first lieutenant at the offensive of the Isonzo - front, with that the Italian troops oneheavy defeat suffered.

Erwin Rommel with the Pour le Mérite

in this October 1917 he conquered the Monte Matajur in the Juli alps, which represented the high point of its employment in the First World War with his soldiers. Here was it shown alsofor the first time Rommels unusual kind of leading war. It was subordinate thereby to the supreme command of major Sproesser, the commander of the Württembergi mountain battalion. This offensive is considered as the first successful conversion blitzkrieg - of a concept. Rommel received for the conquest of theMountain the medal Pour le Mérite (it had to weight however, in order to receive this medals, there another unit first success for itself lodged a complaint). Its book concerning this attack under the title infantry attacks, had 20Years later large success; an attentive reader was Hitler.

In January 1918 Rommel was shifted to the general command 64 and thus into the staff duty, where he was promoted in October still to captain. It turned then to the infantry regiment No. 124 afterWine garden back.

between the world wars

in March 1919 Rommel was shifted as a captain to the safeguard company 32 to Friedrichshafen and came to 25. June 1919 into the provisional filling of vacancies of the Württembergi realm military brigade, 1. Württembergi infantry regiment 25, I. Battalion,where he did as a company commander service. In the spring 1920 it was inserted against Aufständige in the cathedral country and into Westphalia. Starting from 1921 Rommel was a boss of a contactor company in the infantry regiment 13 in Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg. On the service post it remained to30. September 1929.

In December 1928 his son Manfred Rommel was born. But the joy was reduced by death Walburga Stemmers, which had succumbed to a pneumonia two months before. Over Rommels illegitimate daughter Gertrude worried now Rommel andhis Mrs. Lucie. Rommel however always called Gertrude in the public its niece.

Still captain, became Rommel in the October of 1929 teachers at the infantry school in Dresden. In October 1933 it to the Goslarer hunters was shifted andthe command III. took over. Battalion of the infantry regiment 17, now in the rank of a major. According to verbal excessive quantities Rommel in Goslar protected the retired general Ernst von Oven against SA - men, by stationing a machine gun post in Ovens stairway.Oven was threatened by the SA-Männern, because he had bought despite boycott in Jewish business.

In September 1935 Rommel in the rank lieutenant colonel the director/conductor of the new infantry school in potsdam was appointed. Here 1937 the book infantry developed attacks, whatever was time sold one half million and the attention Adolf Hitler excited. Further stations of its career were in October 1938 the transport to the Colonel, its brief appointment as the commander of the leading inheritance sliding battalion and the assumption of the war schoolin Viennese new city in November 1938 as a commander.

Rommels role in the Second World War

with beginning of the Second World War was appointed Rommel the commander of the leader headquarters, which was accommodated during the Poland campaign in a railway train. Retroactively to 1. August 1939 was promoted Rommel to major general. The course followed the course of the front and Rommel often accompanied Hitler with exits with the car from the course to the operations staffs of the troop units. It had thus direct contact with Hitler.

After the Poland campaignHitler Rommels desire followed to lead an armored division. Rommel became from Hitler in February 1940 the commander of the 7. Armored division appointed. It had to date no practical experience in the guidance of a tank unit, proved however that it over thosenecessary knowledge in the blitzkrieg tactics ordered, which it had used already intuitively during its operations in the First World War in the infantry. During the west campaign its division operated so fast that even the own supreme command did not know always, where it itselfstraight stopped. Therefore it received ghost division to the surnames. Here it is to be marked that the division was drawn strongly into the length, why even Rommels staff did not know occasionally, where its commander was.

Differently than most other commanders of division thatArmed forces always were Rommel in the proximity of the front. “Where Rommel is, is in front”. This proverb already remembered its soldiers from the first combat day on. As command tank during the entire France campaign a tank combat car III “command car” served it,with that in this time 36 of the hostile tank cars shot. Rommel did not shrink from also to lead under hostile fire maximumpersonally an attack as with the bridge of Chenterfontaine, where he itself under French MG bombardment with a handful of infantrymen tobefore-fought to other bank side.

Rommels unit forced the Maas, broke through the magic emergency line and advanced to the La-Bassée-channel . There he got to 27. May the knight cross lent and was promoted to lieutenant general.

Rommels employment in North Africa

colonel generalErwin Rommel with the 15. Armored division between Tobruk and Sidi Omar in North Africa 1941

in February 1941 got Rommel the instruction with the Africa corps its ally Italy with its defense to support. Rommels units ran over those almost during the Africa campaignentire Cyrenaika, displaced the British from Benghasi and encircled in the April of the same yearly the fortress Tobruk in against the arrangement with the OKH and without the Italian commander general Gariboldi to inform. Its advance ended only, asit for lack of supply standing to remain had. To 20. March 1941 was distinguished Rommel for its earnings/services in Libya with oak leaves to the knight cross.

In July the transport finally took place to the general of the armor branch. In the following months its broughtTroops several British offensive ones for succumbing. The daily target at supply for the Italian and German troops amounted to approximately 5,000 tons - a quantity, which was reached at no time. But Italian command posts, those in most cases ensuredthe exact paper-eject time of the supply ships to the Englishmen told. This became very soon the commander of the Africa corps admits. Already with the first meetings with high Italian officers experienced Rommel a surprise: The Italian guidance judged the situation very unbekümmert and held backitself inconsiderately opposite the own troops. A betrayal by the Italians is not considered however under any circumstances as proven; it is also possible that the Englishmen by the decoding of the Enigma - codes to their information came. Fact is that mainly the German leadership,in particular Hitler, which regarded African theater as Nebenkriegsschauplatz. Had already turned Hitler's interest to the east, where since center of the yearly 1941 the enterprise Barbarossa ran. Thus also the supply supplies, which Rommel demanded, became never also only approximately offulfills to the German places, even if one partly strove. Rommel had however from the beginning a quite split relationship to the ally Italy, which finally culminated in quite often the betrayal suspicion expressed by him. Other sources see these reproacheshowever somewhat differently. Thus for example Albert Kesselring, who was nevertheless in this time Rommels of direct superiors, in its book mentions itself „soldier up to the last day “also that the suspicion of the betrayal lay in air, these howeverto never confirm could (see.Bletchley park).

The British large offensive Crusader to 19. Rommel forced November 1941 for the first time to the retreat. Thereupon it shortened the supply lines, caused reinforcement and bluffed the Englishmen. He let tank mockups install onto Volkswagen,constantly in the circle drove. The dust clouds whirled up thereby should indicate an approaching of a large armored unit, whereupon the British broke off their fight and withdrew themselves. Thus it stood in January 1942 again in the area, of out its Africa campaignAt the beginning of of 1941 had begun.

Starting from January 1942 Rommel worked at the same time on the development of its Africa corps to a tank army. Into consequence its he could change the 1 again successfully to the counter attack and finally. British armored division encircle. Because of this strategic achievement receivedit, to 20. January 1942, the swords to the knight cross with oak leaves and two weeks later the transport to the colonel general.

Erwin Rommel

in the following months of the yearly 1942 conquered Rommel by its offensive the entire, before lost gone areaback and hisste to 21. June 1942 the German flag over the fortress Tobruk. But Rommel was carried to the general field marshal and was with 51 years the youngest of this rank in the armed forces. In Marsa Matruk it closed four British divisions, whereupon the British fleet as a precaution already began with the evacuation of the port of Alexandria. Rommels troops advanced finally to El Alamein in Egypt. The result were hopelessly overstretched supplying ways, a lack to material and the physical fatigue thatSoldier. The German supply routes besides from Malta against the British were fought. Rommel had only 70 tanks. The landing of the Americans in Africa and the slowly recovering British army turned the sheet. Successes against thoseSupply lines were based to a large extent on decoded radio messages of the German coding machine Enigma by Bletchley park, partly arose here also suspicious factors. In October 1942 the allied ones under general Berne pool of broadcasting corporations Montgomery began their Gegenoffensive, the British possessed approximately 150.000Man, 1,000 tanks and airplanes. Rommel had to begin the retreat. At the 3. November possessed the German Africa corps of still 24 tanks. Half of the crews and the artillery was lost. The Grossmufti of Jerusalem offered Rommel, all „to Mohammedaner “in North Africato mobilize against the Anglo Americans and to lead a guerilla warfare against it. But it wanted the warranty of Hitler and Mussolinis to entkolonialisieren after the war North Africa. This offer was in Rommels strategy a factor - however Hitler leaned outConsideration for Mussolini off.

At the 11. Rommel for its successes with the Africa corps the brilliants were lent to March 1943 to the knight cross with oak leaves and swords. It became one month later on instruction of Hitler from the boiler, in thatthe German Africa corps now found, gone on a trip, in order to save it a defeat. To 12. May capitulated the German Africa corps (approximately 120,000 men) before the British and US-American troops in Tunis.

war without hate

until today appliesamong most specialists the opinion, the fight of the Africa corps against the British 8.Armee was a “knightly fight” and on both sides without hate. This is denied and by time witnesses of both sides also is hardly confirmed. Thus one agreed upon regularly combat tracing,in order to supply the wounded ones. Also the wounded ones of the opponent were supplied, depending on where they lay. Something similar was reported also by the battle around Monte Cassino. Into the combat tracing it came to almost comradely handling of the opponents (cigarette exchangeetc.). This is unparalleled, not only for the 2.Weltkrieg. It may have been probably because of it that Germans and Englishmen did not have a “correct” enemy picture against each other, completely contrary to Germany/Russia.

Particularly important however the refusal to obey orders was Rommels opposite Hitler,to liquidate that German and Austrian prisoner, who had struck itself before on the side of the Englishmen. For this “knightly” and also for its brilliant war guidance, Rommel was also from the allied ones respected and even likes. Vienna clay/tone Churchill “greeted” itin a public speech.

Rommel in Italy

Rommel was of 20. May up to 12. July of 1943 directors/conductors after it designated of the work staff and with the preparations for the German counter measures with the expected war withdrawal of Italy concerns.When in July the allied ones in the operation Husky landed on Sicilies, Erwin Rommel the command was handed over over the army group B. After the fall Mussolinis in August occupied Rommel with its troops Italy, over with an allied invasion thoseTo strike back opponent. Starting from September Rommel transferred the supreme command over the units to north Italy. At the 3. Septembers 1943 landed allied troops on Italian mainland. Four days later, thus to 8. September, followed the Italian armistice.

Starting from autumn 1943 the armed forces ledin Italy a “dirty” war: To 23. September 1943 gave the instruction to Rommel, which faced the former Italian allied one extremely critically:

„Any sentimental inhibitions of the German soldier in relation to badogliohörigen gangs in the uniform of the former weapon comrade are completely inappropriate. Whofrom these against the German soldier, each claim to indulgence fights lost and is with the hardness to be treated, to the Gesindel been entitled, which suddenly turns its weapons against its friend. This view must accelerates common property/knowledge of all German troopsbecome. “

An example of the close Verquickung of the partisan fight with crimes opposite the civilian population is the massacre of Boves of 19. September 1943, at which mainly handicapped person, old persons and patient were murdered. General field marshal Rommel was not directly involved in it,however indirectly responsibility carried as a commander in chief of the army group B in the context of its obligation to the supervision of service. From war crimes due to direct instruction or with express Billung Rommels is not well-known.

In addition approximately 1.070.000 disarmed Italian soldiers became in the work input for thoseWartime economy obligation-obligates. Rommels instruction of the 1. October 1943 for this:

„This war is a total war. As far as the men of Italy do not have no more the opportunity to fight with the weapon for the liberty and honour of their native country they have the obligation,to begin their full worker in this fight. “

To 19. October 1943 was shifted Rommel, since one accused pessimism to it.

(from left to right:) Johannes Blaskowitz, Erwin Rommel, Gerd of Rundstedt

employment at the Atlantic barrier - invasion inin November

1943 Rommel received the command to normandy as a commander in chief of the army group B also over the Atlantic barrier at the French Atlantic coast. Rommel assumed the “enemy”, in case of an invasion in normandy, directly at the beach alsoTanks to be struck back would have. But because of diversities of opinion of Rundstedt over the place of the allied landing, this tactics was also not converted. For the 6. June 1944 was forecast by the German weather service a tempest, what let an allied invasion appear impossible.Besides Rommels had Mrs. Lucie at this 6. June their 50. Birthday. Rommel decided to drive to its wife. Therefore Rommel was on the day of the invasion, the D-Day, with its wife in Germany. In addition were thatCommander of the 7. Army, colonel general Friedrich Dollmann, with a planning game in Rennes and the commander I. SS-Panzerkorps, Colonel group leaders Sepp Dietrich, in Brussels. Briefly after the invasion, to 17. July, became Rommel with an AmericanLow flier attack heavily wounds. It had to thus lay down the supreme command over the army group. After the assassination attempt of 20. July 1944 it was accused of of the armed forces guidance the accomplice shank by members, particularly of lieutenant colonel Dr. Cäsar of yard field, the this underTorture stated.

that did not rank Rommel and

the resistance against Hitler Rommel the assassination attempt on Hitler to 20 among the resistance. July 1944 planned and implemented. Illuminating in the connection a statement of Rommels is widow, inSeptember 1945 among other things says:“I would like to again state that my man not at the preparations and the execution 20. 7. 1944 were involved, since he rejected it as a soldier to take this path. “Rommel Porträtist Ralf George Reuth (seeLitaraturliste) judges:“Did not correspond itself the oath to break and against the man conspire, who had raised it to the field marshal, to his understanding of loyalty.”

There were however (however very different) interests to bring Rommel with the resistance in connection.Thus prominent Widerständler would gladly have used the “factor Rommel”, although they saw the Hitler Protegé in him. On the most popular German soldier and world-wide beside Hitler secondarymost well-known German of two officers was set, who should win it for the resistance:

  • itsmore again, in April 1944 to it transferred chief of staff lieutenant general Hans Speidel as well as of general Karl Heinrich of inverting nail from that Paris the conspirator center commander in chief west particularly for sounding out to Rommels staff lieutenant colonel
  • sent von Hofacker, who arrived with Rommel, thanthe date of the intended assassination attempt was already certain.

Inverting nail and yard field became after the failed assassination attempt victims of the brutal revenge of Hitler. The tortured and later executed yard field had loaded however Rommel. Speidel (from 1957 to 1963 commanders in chief of the allied ground forces inCentral Europe and considerably involved in the smooth “installation” of the German Federal Armed Forces into NATO) saved its skin, by indicating for the Verhören and (honour court) procedures following on the assassination attempt, Rommel about the plans to have informed and on it set with thisMessage at its military superior its obligation to have done.

Speidel has after the war by the way always abgestritten Rommel to have loaded and gave on the question, why he survive could and Rommel not: At the timealready to death and “by traces of physical corporal punishment drawn” yard field those took back condemned, already bound it, Speidel, loading statements with a confrontation. (Completely at the edge: Also Rommels successor as commanders of the army group B, Hans of intelligent ones, became from Speidelworked on, particularly nothing wanted to have to do thereby, turned out into additional difficulties opposite Hitler after the failure of the assassination attempt, because he could not fulfill militarily, which was desired and died -, after he had taken cyanide potash.)

there Rommel underother one also on the list of the prominent Widerständlers and earlier Leipziger mayor Carl Friedrich Goerdeler as possible successors of Hitler as realm chancellors, had Rommels enemies (and envious people) in the supreme command of the armed forces was led sufficient against it in the hand.

HadRommel still few weeks before the assassination attempt one of it necessarily and rather as completely unsoldatisch judged, renewed loyalty oath of the field marshals per Hitler did not sign as at all; yes, he had at the 1. October 1944, two weeks before its forced Suizid,a letter at Hitler, in whom it used - nothing-suspecting - for its military Untergebenen Speidel, again with an absolute loyalty confession finally (conclusion:“Only one thought always controls me to fight and triumph for our new Germany.Welfare, my leader ").

Nevertheless: Rommel was pulled into the vortex of the events. It was nevertheless one of the few generals, who recognized the hopelessness of the situation after the invasion 1944, and: did not shrink from themselves to also clearly say this. Asit was certain that the allied ones had settled and no more to be driven out were, it wrote a report to Hitler, in which it requested it to draw political conclusions from the situation offering no prospects. There are signs that he was decided, if necessary evento capitulate independently. Its Verwundung briefly before that 20. July 1944 robbed it of its freedom of action. Because he refused with reference to his state of health, as him ordered, to 10. Octobers to Berlin to come, took those, from an alleged, The refusal as the further indication and confession of its debt had experienced participation Rommels in the resistance.

Rommels death and its production

the grave Rommels in the cemetery of Herrlingen (blue stone)

to 14. Octobers 1944 met the generals castle villageand Maisel of the OKW with it in Herrlingen . They placed it before the choice to answer for themselves before the people's court or to terminate and to its family the kinship adhesion save by Suizid its life. Thereupon Rommel killed itself by means ofa poison cap. Its aide Hermann Aldinger gives information over these procedures on a web page.

Rommels death was put of propaganda as consequence of the low flier attack. To 18. October 1944 it became after an act of state in Ulm (aufgebahrt in the UlmerCity hall) in Herrlingen, municipality blue stone, in the cemetery of the pc. Andreas church buried. Today the grave, where also Rommels wife was later buried, under a group of trees is below the church. Rommels grave is decorated by a wooden tomb, on whichthe name is in-carved. On the tomb thront an illustration of the iron cross, which dominates the whole environment.

With his order of the day Hitler promoted the hero cult:

„With it one of our best army leaders went by. Its name is in the present fate fightthe German people the epitome for outstanding bravery and unerschrockenes Draufgängertum. The army lowers the realm war flag before this large soldier in proud mourning. Its name was received into the history of the German people. “

In its mourning speech general field marshal von Rundstedt spokethese markigen and zynischen words:

„The untiring fighter was fulfilled by National Socialist spirit, which formed the source of strength and basis of its acting. Its heart belonged to the leader. The German people however loved the general field marshal Rommel in an almost unique kindand celebrated. Its life for Germany experienced its coronation/culmination by the appointment to the large army. (...) My dear Rommel, your heroism points everything again to us the slogan: Fight up to the victory! “


is particularly praised Rommelfor his tactical boldness, its strong guidance personality and its surprising military courses. In addition among other things the famous-notorious devil gardens count. It concerned almost impenetrable mine belts, those the enemy from fast attacking and advancing to prevent itself should and thoseparticularly in the Africa campaign were used. Also its popularity with the soldiers, since he constantly endured at the front with them, and its tactical successes - like the sudden rolling up of hostile lines by German tanks, belong to. It is considered as a masterthe ambush, the deception and the surprise. Also its structure of the Atlantic barrier in the years 1943/44 is considered as extraordinary achievement, even if this finally little use had (see D-Day).

Particularly to be emphasized today two refusals to obey orders in North Africa. Tothe Verweigerung of the “liquidating instruction” at prisoner (German, Austrian), on the other hand the Verweigerung of the “retaining instruction” before El Alamein.

Are criticized occasionally its impetuousness, its stubbornness with estimates of the situation, which the life cost many soldiers, and its military aspect exaggerated sometimes, forwardsall things its uncontrollableness, which it proved several times in Africa and France. This overtaxed, particularly in Africa, frequently the supply routes. Contemporaries described it sometimes as a “only soldier” that never ready were about private things to be spoken.

Its spectacular successesand its earnings/services as a supervisor must be regarded therefore in relation to its deficits, since it made many decisions without arrangement and this insufficiently justified - it caused many logistic problems, which are solved only heavily and under largest effortscould (troop and Materialversorgung). Its operations seemed sometimes few planned, badly coordinated and dilettante prepared. So for example with the first attack on the fortress Tobruk, where it lost men over 1.200. , Little sense for collective planning is accused to himincluding all factors (supply, situation messages, allied etc.) to have had. Often it passed the debt on for its failure to its Untergebenen, it is reproached that it wanted to satisfy only its personal ambition.

It played a doubtful rolealso on the Italian theater (e.g. Disarmament of Italian partisans, (massacres of Boves, see above). It was doubted by Hitler and his advisors several times whether Erwin Rommel actually stands loyal for government or whether it not nevertheless inHidden revolution plans with others „enemies “schmiede. Particularly this - unauthorized - was supported thesis of high-ranking armed forces officers, partly from envy, partly for career reasons, partly from justified criticism.

Due to these risks LV propaganda celebrated the experienced general field marshal as „a people hero “, the LV regimebut constantly spied on it and remained distrustful. This led also to its forced Suizid in October 1944.

For difficult situations, as „fire extinguisher “, Rommel was one of the best men of the armed forces - however as a leader of a large federation in conventional situationsit was quite often overtaxed.

The German Federal Armed Forces honoured Erwin Rommel 1961 with the designation the general field marshal Rommel Barracks in August village and the Rommel barracks in thorn city with Ulm after it. Also the Federal Navy baptized one in the meantime out of service destroyer placed the Lütjens class on the name Rommel. Furthermore roads are designated, e.g. in numerous German cities after Erwin Rommel. in attaining.

Until today meet at its grave annually veterans of both sides, in order to honour it.



  • if one thereby nothing to win can, then one should not fight for it.
  • Only by bright superiorityin all military interests one won still for a long time no war.
  • Does not pour sweat, blood!


  • Erwin Rommel: War without hate publishing house Heidenheimer newspaper, 1950
  • Erwin Rommel: Infantry attacks, 1937



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