Was this guy even real?
So not ONLY was this guy a tactical genius who published a book on military strategy, but he was just an amazing stand-up guy, too.
The man built a working glider at 14.
He wasn’t an aristocrat like most of the German military higher-ups and managed to rise up through the ranks despite his more humble origins and turning down offers of promotions that would take him away from the front lines.
A newspaper once identified Rommel as a member of the Nazi party, and he got PISSED. At a time when that identification might have benefitted him and ingratiated him to the powers that were, he refused to be linked with the Nazi party and insisted on a printed retraction.
This man’s Africa Corps has never even been accused of war crimes. He ordered that “enemy” laborers be paid for their work, refusing to be associated with slave labor. He abjectly refused to carry out Hitler’s orders to execute Jewish civilians, POWs, and commandos. NOT ONLY did he refuse, but he confronted Hitler on the issue. When OTHER divisions killed “enemy” civilians, Rommel asked Hitler to be allowed to punish them for it.
He had a civil tea with several captured commandos, expressing his regret that they could not have been allies in the war.
The man had the respect of his enemies, Patton, Churchill and Montgomery, and praised them highly in return.
He loved his wife fiercely and wrote her at least one letter EVERY SINGLE DAY he was in the field.
He wanted to get rid of Hitler. Not just gone, he wanted him to stand trial and face justice for his actions so he couldn’t be seen as a martyr, but knew that was not an option at the time. As a result, he joined the failed conspiracy to assassinate Hitler, and his involvement in the plot was discovered. Despite this, Hitler was too afraid to have Rommel face a court! The man was so great that even Hitler was afraid of the repercussions of putting him on trial.
Instead, Hitler hit Rommel in his weak spot - his compassion and loyalty. If Rommel faced trial, his staff would be executed and his family would suffer. If he took his own life, his staff would go unharmed and his family would receive his full pension.
Rommel called his family for the last time, stipulated that NO political paraphernalia was to be exhibited at his funeral (though the bastards later broke their promise and placed swastikas on his coffin), and took a cyanide capsule.
A good, intelligent, humane, loyal man who looks like a god and did the best he could in his difficult circumstances. Be still, my heart!