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Published by: আরিফ রহমান on Jun 18, 2012
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Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel
) (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944), popularly known as the
Desert Fox
), was a famousGerman Field Marshalof World War II. He was a highly decorated officer inWorld War I,awarded thePour le Méritefor his exploits on theItalian front. In World War II, he further distinguished himself as thecommander of the Ghost Divisionduring the1940 invasion of France. However, it was his leadership of German and Italian forces in the North African campaignthat established thelegend of the Desert Fox. He is considered to have been one of the most skilledcommanders of desert warfarein the war .
He later commanded the German forcesopposing the Alliedcross-channelinvasion in Normandy. Rommel is regarded as a chivalrous and humane officer because his 
was never accused of any war crimes. Soldiers captured during his Africa campaign were reported tohave been treated humanely; furthermore, he ignored orders to kill capturedcommandos,Jewishsoldiers and civilians in all theaters of his command.
Late in the war, Rommel was convicted of joining the conspiracyagainst Adolf Hitler . Because of his great prestige, Hitler allowed him tocommit suiciderather than be tried andexecuted. He was buried with full military honors; the reason for Rommel's death onlyemerged at the Nuremberg Trials.
[edit] Early life and career
Rommel was born inHeidenheim, 45 kilometres (28 mi) from Ulm, in the Kingdom of  Württemberg(then part of the German Empire). He was baptised on 17 November 1891.He was the second child of theProtestantheadmaster of the secondary school at Aalen, Professor Erwin Rommel Senior (1860–1913), and Helene von Luz, who had two other sons and a daughter. Rommel wrote that "my early years passed quite happily."At age 14, Rommel and a friend built a full-scale glider that was able to fly short distances.Rommel even considered becoming anengineer  and throughout his life displayed extraordinary technical aptitude. Acceding to his father's wishes, Rommel instead joinedthe local 124th Württemberg Infantry Regiment as an officer cadet in 1910 and was sent tothe Officer Cadet School in Danzig.He graduated on 15 November 1911 and was commissioned as alieutenantin January 1912.While at Cadet School, Rommel met his future wife, 17-year-old Lucia Maria Mollin(commonly called
). They married on 27 November 1916 in Danzig and on 24December 1928 had a son,Manfred Rommel, who later became the Mayor of Stuttgart. Some historians believe Rommel also had an affair withWalburga Stemmer in 1913, whichallegedly produced a daughter, Gertrud.
[edit] World War I
DuringWorld War I, Rommel fought in Franceas well as inRomania(
) andItaly(
), first in the 6th Württemberg InfantryRegiment, but through most of the war in the Württemberg Mountain Battalion of the elite
. He gained a reputation for great courage, making quick tactical decisions andtaking advantage of enemy confusion. He was wounded three times and awarded theIronCross; First and Second Class. Rommel also received Prussia's highest award, the order of  Pour le Mérite, after fighting in the mountains of westSlovenia —the Battles of the Isonzo  on the Soča front. The award was for theBattle of Longaroneand the capture of Mount Matajur  and its defenders, totaling 150 Italian officers, 9,000 men, and 81 artillery pieces.Rommel for a time served in the same infantry regiment asFriedrich Paulus.While fighting at Isonzo, Rommel was behind Italian lines and escaped capture though almost all of his staff was taken prisoner by the Italians. Later, when the German and Italian armieswere allies during the Second World War, Rommel tempered his initial disdain of Italiansoldiers, when he realized that their lack of success was principally due to poor leadershipand equipment, which when overcome made them equal to the German forces.
[edit] Career between the world wars
Rommel turned down a post in the Truppenamt(the camouflagedGeneral Staff ), whose existence was forbidden by the Treaty of Versailles —the normal path for advancing to high rank in the German army. Instead, he preferred to remain a frontline officer.Rommel held battalion commands and was an instructor at the DresdenInfantry School from 1929 to 1933. In 1934, his book for infantry training, “
Gefechts-Aufgaben für Zug und Kompanie : Ein Handbuch fuer den Offizierunterricht 
“ (Combat tasks for platoon andcompany: A manual for the officer instruction), appeared. This book was printed until 1945in five editions, with revisions and changes of title. From 1935 to 1938, Rommel heldcommands at the Potsdam War Academy. Rommel's war diaries,
 Infanterie greift an
), published in 1937, became a highly regarded military textbook andattracted the attention of  Adolf Hitler , who placed Rommel in charge of the War Ministry liaison with the 
s (Hitler Youth), Headquarters of Military Sports, the branchinvolved with paramilitary activities, primarily terrain exercises and marksmanship.Rommel applied himself energetically to the task. The army provided instructors to theHitler Jugend Rifle School inThuringia, which in turn supplied qualified instructors to theHJ's regional branches.In 1937, Rommel conducted a tour of Hitler Jugend meetings and encampments anddelivered lectures on German soldiering while inspecting facilities and exercises.Simultaneously, he was pressuringBaldur von Schirach, the
 Hitler Jugend 
leader, to acceptan agreement expanding the army's involvement in Hitler Jugend training. Schirachinterpreted this as a bid to turn the
 Hitler Jugend 
into an army auxiliary, a "junior army" inhis words. He refused and denied Rommel (whom he had come to dislike personally,apparently out of envy for his "real soldier's" appeal) access to the
 Hitler Jugend.

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