On today in 1944, German Gen. Erwin Rommel, nicknamed “the Desert Fox,” is given the choice of facing a public trial for treason, as a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, or taking cyanide. He chooses the latter.
Rommel was created in 1891 in Wurttenberg, Germany, the son of a tuned teacher. Although not descended from military men, the newly unified German empire managed to get fashionable to select a military career, which young Rommel did, becoming an officer cadet. During World War I, he showed himself to become a natural leader with unnatural courage, fighting in France, Romania, and Italy. Following the war, he pursued a teaching career in German military academies, writing a textbook, Infantry Attacks, that has been reputable.
At the outbreak of World War II, Rommel was presented with command of the troops that guarded Hitler’s headquarters, a disappointment for a guy used to fighting on leading lines with the infantry. But in early 1940, he was presented with his possiblity to put to utilize his gifts, when he was presented with command of the 7th Panzer Division. Although a newcomer so far as mechanized forces were concerned, he soon mastered advantages and proved his leadership abilities again in the German offensive contrary to the French channel coast in May.
In early 1941, Rommel was presented with control of the troops delivered to North Africa to assist Germany’s ailing ally, Italy, in maintaining its position in Libya. It is here now, in the deserts of North Africa, that Rommel earned his vaunted reputation, along with his nickname (he became known for his “fox-like” sneak attacks). Winning significant victories contrary to the British, whom he admired begrudgingly, Rommel nevertheless became weary of the theater of operations; he wished to get back to Europe. It wasn’t until another battle to take el-Alamein in Egypt went against him that the “invincible” general was finally called home back again to Europe.
Hitler put Rommel back northern France, to protect against an Allied invasion. Rommel’s ideas for the precautions essential to repel an enemy invasion weren’t heeded, and he begun to lose confidence in Hitler and Germany’s capability to win the war. When Rommel was approached by friends to consent to head the German government in case of Hitler’s overthrow, he agreed-although there is no explicit talk of assassination, which he found abhorrent.
D-Day premiered, and Rommel’s prediction of disaster for Germany’s position played itself out. Still, Hitler wouldn’t normally consider negotiations with the Allies. Rommel finished up in a healthcare facility after his car was attacked by British bombers and he was forced off the street. Meanwhile, information on the failed assassination plot had arrived at Hitler’s attention, including Rommel’s connection with the conspirators. As Rommel was convalescing in his home at Herrlingen, two generals visited and offered him his suicide or choice-trial. Rommel told his wife and son what had transpired, and he had chosen to take the cyanide capsules the generals had provided.
The German government gave Rommel circumstances funeral. His death was related to war wounds.