Would Rommel be a War Criminal?

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Beppo Schmidt
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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 02 Jun 2005 02:03

None of this makes him a war criminal.

Molobo
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Post by Molobo » 02 Jun 2005 09:22

None of this makes him a war criminal.
We will never know, as he wasn't put to trial.

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minastirith
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Post by minastirith » 09 Jun 2005 15:49

I'd love to know what makes Rommel a war criminal. This topic has intrigued me, but there is little point- Rommel did not cause or order any war crimes. As far as I'm aware, he was just a man doing his job and was very good at it... this does not make him a war criminal. If so, go and find many of the Allied commanders on the Western Front. :x

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Post by Erich Hartmann » 09 Jun 2005 16:12

Molobo wrote:
None of this makes him a war criminal.
We will never know, as he wasn't put to trial.
Believe me Molobo, would Rommel have done criminal things in his military career we would know by now!
I think his history is one of the most researched of WWII.... 8)

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Post by Molobo » 09 Jun 2005 21:19

I think his history is one of the most researched of WWII....
I disagree.History of WWII is very blurred by memoirs of German officers themselfs, and focuses on Western Front.Many details about the war in the East are unknown to western public or even the historians.Witness the truth about atrocities commited by Wehrmacht starting in Poland 1939.Even today many in the West find it hard to believe.

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Beppo Schmidt
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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 09 Jun 2005 21:52

Many details about the war in the East are unknown to western public or even the historians.Witness the truth about atrocities commited by Wehrmacht starting in Poland 1939.
Rommel was never in field command in Poland, so this has nothing to do with the thread.

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Post by Erich Hartmann » 10 Jun 2005 04:08

Molobo wrote:
I think his history is one of the most researched of WWII....
I disagree.History of WWII is very blurred by memoirs of German officers themselfs, and focuses on Western Front.Many details about the war in the East are unknown to western public or even the historians.Witness the truth about atrocities commited by Wehrmacht starting in Poland 1939.Even today many in the West find it hard to believe.
That is news to me that war crimes were a matter of memoirs! 8O
War crimes from german soldiers/officers in the east are soundly researched and documented. Especially in the East!
I've even heard of some which were put to the germans where they didn't belong...*cough*Katyn*cough*

So it's allowed to say IF Rommel had took part in war crimes we would know! :P

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Post by Skufr » 20 Sep 2006 12:02

What about the accusations made that German troops killed nomads and muslim POWs and/or shipped them to concentration camps during the North African campaign? Are there any thruth to this?

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Post by PeterOT » 20 Sep 2006 13:18

This is a fascinating thread, not least to see how keen people are to defend a man who enthusiastically served one of the most evil regimes in human history. Far too few posters seem disturbed by this.

As far as I am aware Rommel was not responsible for anything that would have seen him tried by the Allies. So what? I still consider him the moral inferior of virtually every General on the allied side. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler until the war was virtually lost. He helped Hitler expand the power of his murderous regime. He was complicit in the use of slave labour, from the building of the Atlantic Wall to the building of the weapons he used. Where is the honour in that?

Some milhistory types like to delude themselves that the German military (especially the Army) was just a 'professional' body 'doing a job'. What bollocks. The German military was an integral part of Hitler's regime. Without their support he could not have attained power nor continued to exercise it. The 'Night of Long Knives' was the Army's pact of blood with Hitler. The German military turned its back on Democracy to back a man they knew was a murderous racist thug because his ambitions matched theirs.

The German military was aware of Hitler's mounting list of crimes before WW2 & did little. There were some who plotted & schemed (as much because of Hitler's interference as any moral reason), but the majority just wanted more men & toys. So what if a few Jews got killed or a few handicapped people exterminated?

During the war the German military became a tool of extermination. In some cases they did it themselves, but mostly they left that to others. They had a good idea what was happening, however. How many German Generals tried to stop the holocaust? how many even resigned? Then there are the anti-partisan campaigns in which many participated. Unlike the Red Army, where even a hint of disobedience (or ambition) might get a General shot, German generals had choices. They chose to hide behind the uniform.

Some folk like to see the 1944 bomb plot as some sort of saving grace for the Wehrmacht. I guess it was better than nothing, but it was 10 years & tens of milions of lives too late.

I don't care how talented Hitler's generals were, personally I would have let each of them die in jail unless they could show that they had resisted or resigned. The Wehrmacht was a political organisation as well as a military one. To attempt to pretend otherwise is delusion. Rommel was very much a part of this. Never forget that.

Sorry if this sounds like a bit of a rant, but after decades of seeing people fawn over the WW2 German military I've just had enough.

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WalterS
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Post by WalterS » 20 Sep 2006 16:00

Well said, Peter. I can't disagree with a single point you made. :D

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Post by tonyh » 20 Sep 2006 17:43

Peter, Like Walter, needs to inform himself a little better on the topic they are so inflamed by. That "rant" was appallingly simplistic.

Tony

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Post by dabbydo » 20 Sep 2006 19:36

Rommel is not a war criminal. Nor was he always an enthusiastic supporter of the nazi regime.
I would like to refer you to The Rommel Papers, by B.H. Liddell-Hart.
Erwin Rommel strongly refused his son's request to join the Waffen S.S., his reason being he did not want his son to be under the command of Himmler. (A man who, according to Rommels information), was carrying out mass killings Manfred Rommel said that his father usually gave him "a great deal of freedom in matters of this kind....but this time he cut me short".

Read the Rommel Papers for yourself. What it tells me is that Rommel knew there were things going on, that were criminal, and he did not want his son to be a part of it.
His son did take part in the war as a Luftwaffe auxilliary, but not in the S.S. Erwin Rommel had morals, otherwise would he have not encouraged his son to join the elite S.S.? No, he strongly forbade his son to take part in such an organization. It doesn't sound like a fanatical supporter of an evil regime to me.

Erwin Rommel was a career soldier, not a criminal. He was and is respected by soldiers all over the world. People were killed under his command. Civilians and children probably too. Such is the nature of war. He was a great commander, don't mistake admiration and respect for him to be adoration of a nazi.

Instead of rants about how he was a war criminal, do me a favor. Bring some proof to the party, will ya?

David :)

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Beppo Schmidt
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Post by Beppo Schmidt » 20 Sep 2006 19:47

Erwin Rommel was no political fanatic, he was a career military man who served his country in a time of war. That he perhaps had a "my country, right or wrong" attitude is about the worst that can be said about him, and that's no different an attitude than virtually any other General you can name. Rommel was a professional lifelong soldier who happened to serve an immoral government. The same could more or less be said about Stonewall Jackson or Robert E. Lee.

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Post by David Thompson » 21 Sep 2006 04:13

Let's get back on topic -- whether Rommel did anything that would make him a war criminal.

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Peter H
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Post by Peter H » 21 Sep 2006 05:06

Rommel's final home at Herrlingen was a confiscated Jewish property.Whether he knew this or how he got the rights to the residence I don't know.

Whether this individual case could be seen as the plundering of Jewish private property(a crime against humanity) is open to debate.Rommel enjoyed the fruits of the "Aryanization" of this estate but the ground work for it achieving this status was most likely done by others.

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