‘The legend of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel ― the Desert Fox ― is threefold: he was a simple soldier who did his duty and knew nothing of Nazisim; he was a commander of superlative talent who ran rings around the British in North Africa in 1941-2; he was a leader in resistance to Hitler and gave his life to the cause after the failure of the July 1944 plot. In this lucid, exemplary volume, Reuth shows that all three of these assumptions are false … and reveals the truth in a brilliant book.’
Repeatedly decorated for valour during the First World War, Erwin Rommel went on to lead German Panzer divisions in North Africa, becoming known as the ‘Desert Fox.’
Stripping away layers of wartime German and Allied propaganda, Reuth’s dramatic reassessment of Rommel’s life finds him at odds with his popular legacy. His purported involvement with the 20 July plotters was a myth. In fact, he remained mindlessly loyal to his Führer until forced to commit suicide in 1944.
Colluding with the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels to bolster his fame, Rommel was also a useful figure for the Allies ― in exaggerating his battlefield prowess they succeeded in making the incompetence of their own campaign in North Africa.
This revelatory biography shows Rommel was no master strategist caught between duty and resistance, but the embodiment of the tragic German choice to follow Hitler unquestionably into the abyss.
RALF GEORG REUTH is a German journalist and historian. He has written several books on German history, including major biographies of Hitler, Goebbels, and Rommel, and was the editor of the Goebbels’ diaries.
© Haus Publishing Ltd. 2022