A resounding Alles Gute zum Geburtstag to Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, a brilliant soldier and honorable man who would be celebrating his 123rd birthday today. Rommel, renowned for his leadership of the Afrika Korps and the respect he garnered even among his enemies, knew of the plot against Hitler but was not directly involved. Nevertheless, he was implicated after the failure of the assassination attempt, and forced to commit suicide.
His devotion to the profession of arms was in the best tradition of the gentleman. 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. 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.
- Martin Blumenson
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Erwin Rommel on the ‘Via Balbia’, the road to Egypt.
Built under the rule of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in colonial Italian Libya in the 1930s, it was named Via Balbia’ (or Litoranea Balbo) in honor of governor-general Italo Balbo, but renamed to “Libyan Coastal Highway” after independence and enlarged.