why is Rommel admired by some people?

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aurelien wolff
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why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by aurelien wolff » 04 May 2019 20:37

Is it because of his post war reputation? Propaganda? Myth ?

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Mark in Cleveland, Tn.
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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by Mark in Cleveland, Tn. » 04 May 2019 23:29

All 3 you posted ..If you read about him from many sources since May 45, seems lots of myth, and wishful thinking has lots to do with how he is reme mbered

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by aurelien wolff » 05 May 2019 06:43

"3?" I don't know why but I see only this one (maybe I removed the two other yesterday).

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by Cult Icon » 05 May 2019 14:25

the early-midwar lopsided victories of the Afrika Korps and the operational/tactical leadership of Rommel and his command staff.

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by Nautilus » 06 May 2019 12:59

Cult Icon wrote:
05 May 2019 14:25
the early-midwar lopsided victories of the Afrika Korps and the operational/tactical leadership of Rommel and his command staff.
Actually for a more complex reason: because the tactical ability of Rommel and his command staff (filtered through the suffering of those on the receiving end of it... or filtered through the propaganda for those on his side) fit the traditional image of what people should expect from a military leader.

Ever since the "Northern Hemisphere popular culture" had been invented (in Europe, as early as the Homeric Age) warfare got portrayed in the media as some gigantic, dangerous, murderous form of sports-fighting. Or, to be more accurate, form of dueling. A confrontation of abilities: swordsmanship, riflemanship, piloting, mountaineering, seamanship, gunnery, architecture, tactics and so on. A hero subdued the enemy by being smarter, quicker, stronger, innovator. The enemy may be another man, another social group, country, kingdom, fortress, or the destructive force of Nature itself. You won because you were better, not worse. When Darwin said "survival of the fittest", people understood at once "of the strongest". What was war? Competition to the death! Some people who are more grounded respond: war is killing people and destroying their way of life... Say what? People die in competition as well! Boxers may die in the ring, hunters may die in the wilderness, sailors may drown, but the strongest and smartest don't, they win.

Just as expectable, the Cowboy General who led from his armored truck on the frontline, rifle in right hand, map in the left fits the image of what people should expect: a Homeric Age warrior-king, a Medieval paladin, a Colonial Age explorer. War in North Africa sounds in the ears of people as a battle of muscle and wits: outgun the enemy from your Tiger, outmanoeuver him on the map, outwit him in espionage and codebreaking.

Von Manstein gets similar admiration, people will say "for his exquisite leadership and military victories". This is a pretext. He is not admired because he fought the French or Soviets. But because he outwitted them. He proved himself against them, led the competition for some time.

Humans are wired to acknowledge the hero in this manner. The wealth and fame of top athletes prove it.

Reality Check: it only works when treating war as a cruel form of competition. Not survival of the species or your social group. When it comes to survival, it will not end as a boxing match ends, by wounding and subduing. It will grow messy, dirty, cheating, bloody, tyrannical, disgusting, gut churning, hellish.

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by FlyingStukas » 11 May 2019 15:34

It's also important noting that Rommel was, not necessarily directly, but surely in disagreement with the policies of National Socialism. He is admired for being one of the best War Generals of all time, an image he built since his soldierly days of the Great War. So in that sense, another important factor of people admiring him is that he was an exemplary leader, soldier and general, and not a vicious Nazi swayed by politics.
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Filip

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by doogal » 15 May 2019 18:25

While I cannot speak for other nationalities. In Britain as i grew up Rommel was always portrayed in a sympathetic light.... He was mostly seen through the lense of the battles in North Africa and used as a juxtapose against the true Nazi Generals on the continent...
Films such as the desert fox (James mason) portrayed him in a similar way as expounding a more "gentlemanly" way of war, most of the interviews with British soldiers who fought In NA echoed these sentiments...
Liddell Hart I'm sure In the post war era had a lot to do with this but it should be remembered that he was during WW2 highly respected by the British Army and that they fed this into wider British culture.......as I said I cannot comment to on how other nationalities perceived him

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by Nautilus » 26 May 2019 23:49

As of 1945, the British leadership was between hammer and anvil. The country had been devastated by war to a great extent (subject to rationing until 1955, longer than defeated Axis countries), and 5 years of continuous war brought practically no profit. The Empire was crumbling, Indian Subcontinent was slipping out of hand, the complex trade network in the Mediterranean, Near East and the Balkan Peninsula blown to pieces. And never recovered, as the Iron Curtain fell.

So, Churchill and the military leadership were exasperated enough to plan Operation Unthinkable - a giant, continent-wide backstab towards the Soviets.

The operation was barely possible even if 100% secrecy was maintained, and doomed once Moscow got wind of it (which they did. Just as the pen fell on paper in London, Moscow knew. Long story short).

But it proved how nasty the attitude was in the British leadership. From where it trickled down to the press and public. Enough for large chunks of the elite and public to gain sympathy for the defeated. No longer than 3 years after the last V 2 fell, the public was outraged that Generals like von Manstein, von Rundstedt or Kesselring were brought to trial. What the heck, they were just military men doing their duty, not some Bolsheviks or Einsatzgruppen... and this was told by Lord de L'Isle. Wounded in combat against Kesselring's men. Or by Victor Gollancz, a Socialist Jew. If Jews, Socialists and decorated war heroes support them, they are above suspicion. If the population who endured the Blitz doesn't ask for their punishment, few else are entitled to do it.

So the Desert Fox was the hero who led from the front like in the Homeric Age. Who died by his own hand when dishonored by his (faint) opposition to Hitler. Ajax fell on his own sword.

But, in practice, the Desert Fox, like Smiling Albert, was popular in Britain only because he displayed bravery, wit, ability and honor against British troops. He never soiled his hands by service in the horror of the Eastern Front.

Britons suffered under the Blitz, but never, not even if the Germans achieved victory, expected total destruction as it should have happened to European Russia.

Britons churned their guts and threw up when they liberated Bergen-Belsen, but none of them could have seen at that point an Aktion Reinhard camp, already dismantled 2 years before.

From the point of view of the British Isles, war in North Africa or First World European countries was a "classical European" battle of guns and wits. Even the nasty Italian Campaign of 1944-1945, disgusting enough to be described as "the last Medieval war". European Medieval. Not on par with the cruelty of the lands behind the Eastern Front line.

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by Sheldrake » 27 May 2019 12:13

aurelien wolff wrote:
04 May 2019 20:37
Is it because of his post war reputation? Propaganda? Myth ?
I think we British respected the way he kicked our backsides in North Africa. It was easier to tell ourselves that Rommel was a tactical genius than reflect on our own incompetence...

Many British contrasted Rommel's leadership from the front and charismatic style with their own more stuffy colonel Blimps. They admired the panache of his bold manoeuvres and the tactical shown by the Germans. One of the stories circulated by Alan Morehead was of Rommel visiting an overrun British field hospital in the middle of a battle and telling the staff to carry on. There admired the humanity in an inhumane world.

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by andlug » 08 Jun 2019 19:09

I think Rommel was flawed, but had some seriously good points.

1. He was humane-as another post pointed out he respected the enemy. Another well-documented story tells that he disobeyed Hitler's orders to kill commandos, interviewed a captured British officer who was reconnoitring the Normandy beaches and sent him off as a POW.
2. His WW1 exploits in Italy were truly exceptional.
3. He forecast exactly what would happen in Normandy 1944. His advice , if followed, MIGHT have repelled the Allied landings.
4. His advice in Italy 1943 was not so good ( to abandon the south).
5. His actions in North Africa were showy, ( aggressive but impermanent) but he obviously did not appreciate the importance of supply.
6. By July 1944 he had realised tahgt he war was hopeless, and needed to stop.

We do not know what he would have done if he had been in Russia. Would he have objected to the Holocaust/Einsatzgruppen?

So, by no means perfect, but definitely an honourable, courageous and imaginative soldier and capable of strategic insights. And lucky that he was not faced with the dilemma of the Holocaust.

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by aurelien wolff » 09 Jun 2019 12:05

than what's the source regarding the "disobeyed hitler order" for that documentary? and what about that? https://np.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/c ... nd_to_his/
https://np.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/c ... ommit_any/
I've forget to put the "saint rommel picture" here:
Image

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Re: why is Rommel admired by some people?

Post by doogal » 11 Jun 2019 18:06

We should always keep in mind that Herr Rommel served a regime which caused the Holocaust, and while having never commanded on the Eastern Front still bears the same moral responsibility as his peers and contemporaries in the heer.

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