October 20, 2021
Johannes Erwin Eugen Rommel (Heidenheim, November 15, 1891 - Herrlingen, October 14, 1944) was a German general (field marshal) during the Second World War. Of Swabian origin, he demonstrated excellent command skills already in the First World War where he led an infantry platoon with the rank of lieutenant, received the highest decoration in the German Empire, the Pour le Mérite, for the results achieved with his mountain troop unit during the battle of Caporetto in 1917. During the Second World War Rommel distinguished himself at the helm of a Panzer-Division during the French campaign in 1940 and then, enjoying the full confidence of Adolf Hitler, took command of the German Afrikakorps in North Africa where for almost two years he showed great tactical skill, inflicting a series of defeats to the British troops thanks to its ability to conduct agile and reckless maneuvers with armored vehicles in the desert, but at the same time highlighting its great strategic and operational limitations that greatly compromised the conduct of the war of the Axis in North Africa. Promoted to the rank of field marshal, esteemed by his soldiers and feared by his enemies, he became an international figure and one of the darlings of German propaganda, which exponentially exalted his image and made him known with the nickname of "The desert fox. "(Wüstenfuchs). Returning from Africa in March 1943, after the armistice of the following September 8, he directed the occupation of northern Italy (Operation Achse); then in 1944 he was assigned command of the defenses of the Atlantic Wall, with the task of stopping the planned Allied offensive in the West. Despite his commitment and skills, he made the heavy mistake of going on leave during the crucial weeks in anticipation of the Allied landing - which in fact surprised him while he was home with his wife - while during the first part of the Battle of Normandy he failed. to prevent the advance of the Allies; seriously injured by enemy aircraft, he was recalled home for convalescence. Field Marshal Rommel had long been aware of Germany's inevitable defeat, and due to some sporadic contact with some of the July 22 conspirators, he fell out of favor with Hitler, despite not being involved in the attack at all and indeed, his writings reveal that he disapproved of any attempt to subvert the established order in Germany. In consideration of his popularity, the Gestapo proposed that if he committed suicide his family would be spared. He was officially pronounced dead of war wounds and given a state funeral.