Erwin Eugen Rommel was one of the most well-known German generals who played a significant role during WW I and WW II. Rommel’s tactical skills, experience and resourcefulness were highly valued. In the course of his career, he served in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, the Reichswehr of the Weimar Republic and the army of Imperial Germany.
Today, we want to share with our readers 9 facts about the life and career of this person. Here they are…
Erwin Rommel: 9 interesting facts about one of the greatest generals of all times
1. Erwin Rommel had a big family
Erwin Rommel was born in November 1891. He was the third child in the family of Erwin Rommel Senior and Helene von Lutz. Rommel had one sister (who was also his biggest friend) and 3 brothers, an interesting fact about Erwin Rommel.
The family lived in Heidenheim, a small town in Baden-Württemberg.
2. Erwin Rommel wanted to build a career as a pilot
Rommel dreamt of becoming a pilot. However, those dreams never came true. His father believed that the job of a pilot was neither serious nor well paid. Therefore, he sent his son to study at the Officer Cadet School (Danzig).
3. Erwin Rommel had a happy family life
Erwin met his future wife Lucia Mollin while studying at Cadet School. Soon after their meeting, the couple got engaged. Erwin truly loved Lucia. Even though his love was big, he could not fight the temptation of the relationships with Walburga Stemmer.
The affair happened while he was serving as an officer in Weingarten. The relationships between the two had no future because Walburga belonged to the working class. The existing society standards made it impossible for her to become the wife of an officer. Besides, Erwin was firm in his desire to stay true to the commitment to Lucia.
Walburga gave birth to a baby girl named Gertruda. Lucia persuaded Erwin to support Walburga and his daughter financially. They became members of the family and lived together with Lucia, Erwin and their son Manfred, an interesting fact about Erwin Rommel.
4. Erwin Rommel’s book almost instantly became a bestseller
In 1935, Erwin decided to write a book so that to describe the events and his personal experience during WW 1. The book “Infantry Attacks” was published in 1937.
Having read it, Hitler liked the book so much that he expressed a desire to meet Rommel in person. After their meeting, Hitler assigned him as the War Ministry liaison officer. Rommel became responsible for training the officers in the Hitler Youth.
5. Erwin Rommel was highly respected by the officers who served under his command
The officers serving under Rommel’s command worshipped him. His knowledge in terms of tactics development was highly praised. Besides, Rommel always took part in all the operations along with his officers.
Rommel was respected even by war prisoners. He was impartial in his judgements and fair in his actions. Some of his officers believed that he was too kind to the war prisoners.
6. Erwin Rommel achieved great success during WW1
In the course of WW1, Rommel served in France. He also played one of the key roles in the Romanian and Italian campaigns.
He was a great tactician. He managed to catch the enemies unprepared and open fire on them. The success achieved by him in September 1914 and January 1915 didn’t go unnoticed. He was awarded the Iron Cross, Second Class. He was promoted to the first lieutenant and sent to command the Royal Wurttemberg Mountain Battalion.
7. Erwin Rommel was known under the nickname “Desert Fox”
A fun fact about Erwin Rommel is that the nickname “Desert Fox” was given to Rommel after one of his most successful and well-known campaigns in North Africa. The campaign started in February 1941 and ended in May 1943.
During this campaign, Rommel and his troops often lacked proper equipment. Despite this, Rommel kept on fighting. Various tricks and tactics allowed Rommel and his men to survive, keep going and win. One of the tricks that he used most often was the following trick: he fastened bushes to the tanks with the help of ropes. As a result, large clouds of dust and sand covered the path that the tanks went. The enemy thought that the area where the clouds were seen was the area where military actions took place. Most often, a decision to retreat was made.
8. Erwin Rommel was suspected of taking part in the resistance against Hitler
In summer 1944, Rommel was taken to hospital due to the severe head trauma. 3 days later, the resistance made an attempt to kill Hitler. The attempt was unsuccessful.
It was suspected that Rommel knew about the plans to assassinate Hitler perfectly well. Even though he didn’t take part in the assassination, he never told Hitler about the plans of the resistance to kill him.
Soon after, Rommel was put under home arrest. Many historians believe that if he had played any part in the process of planning the assassination, Hitler would have been killed.
9. Erwin Rommel committed a suicide
Rommel’s case was taken to the “Court of Military Honor”. The court was responsible for deciding the fate of the officers suspected of and involved in conspiracy.
In October 1944, two generals from Hitler’s headquarters paid a visit to Rommel. They informed him that he had 3 options. He could go to Berlin so that to try defending himself in front of Hitler himself. He could face the People’s Court (which would end in deaf sentence). The last option he had was to commit a suicide.
Rommel denied having taken part in the assassination plot. He spoke about his love for Hitler and desire to serve the “Fatherland”. His words made no difference. He realized that he would never make it alive to Berlin. To make matters worse, he could not contact his headquarters. The only option left was to commit suicide, an unfortunate fact about Erwin Rommel.
Erwin Rommel, a brilliant tactician and general, died from taking a cyanide pill on the 14th of October 1944.
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