Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel
)) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944), popularly known as the Desert Fox
)), was a famous German Field Marshal
of World War II
He was a highly decorated officer in World War I
, and was awarded the Pour le Mérite
for his exploits on the Italian front
. In World War II, he further distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division
during the 1940 invasion of France
. However, it was his leadership of German and Italian forces in the North African campaign
that established the legend of the Desert Fox. He is considered to have been one of the most skilled commanders of desert warfare
in the war.
He later commanded the German forces opposing the Allied
cross-channel invasion in Normandy
As one of the few generals who consistently fought the Western Allies (he was never assigned to the Eastern Front
), Rommel is regarded as having been a humane and professional officer. His Afrikakorps was never accused of war crimes. Soldiers captured during his Africa campaign were reported to have been treated humanely. Furthermore, he ignored orders to kill captured commandos, Jewish soldiers and civilians in all theaters of his command.
Late in the war, Rommel was linked to the conspiracy
to kill Adolf Hitler
. Due to his wide renown, Hitler chose to eliminate him quietly; in trade for the protection of his family, Rommel agreed to commit suicide.