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Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps: The History of Nazi Germany’s Most Famous Commander and Army during World War II

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*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents One of his biographers called him “a complex man: a born leader, a brilliant soldier, a devoted husband, a proud father; intelligent, instinctive, brave, compassionate, vain, egotistical, and arrogant.” As that description s *Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents One of his biographers called him “a complex man: a born leader, a brilliant soldier, a devoted husband, a proud father; intelligent, instinctive, brave, compassionate, vain, egotistical, and arrogant.” As that description suggests, every account of Erwin Rommel’s life must address what appears to be its inherent contradictions. Fittingly, and in the same vein, he remains one of the best remembered generals of World War II and history at large, despite the fact he was on the losing side, and he was defeated at the most famous battle of his career, the decisive Battle of El Alamein. With the Axis forces trying to push through Egypt towards the Suez Canal and the British Mandate of Palestine, American forces landed to their west in North Africa, which ultimately compelled Rommel to try to break through before the Allies could build up and overwhelm them with superior numbers. Given that the combined Allied forces under Bernard Montgomery already had an advantage in manpower, Montgomery also wanted to be aggressive, and the fighting would start in late October 1942 with an Allied attack. At Alamein, 195,000 troops in 11 divisions faced off against 50,000 Germans (four divisions) and 54,000 Italians (eight divisions), where they were able to use their superior numbers and weapons to defeat the Axis troops. Over the next few weeks, the Allies made steady progress and forced Rommel to conduct a fighting retreat to safety until his army linked up with another Axis army in Tunisia, but the fighting at the end of 1942 inevitably compelled all Axis forces to quit the theater, the first time since the beginning of the war that Africa was safe for the Allies. After leaving North Africa, Rommel spent much of the later part of the war strengthening German defenses across the Atlantic in anticipation of an amphibious Allied landing, which would come in June 1944. But the murky role he played in the notorious July 20 plot on Adolf Hitler’s life in 1944, the closest an assassination attempt got to killing the Nazi Fuhrer, would bring about the Desert Fox’s untimely demise in October 1944, even as the Soviets and Western Allies were tightening the vise on Germany. Compelled to take cyanide by authorities, the Desert Fox insisted he was innocent until his dying day, and his popularity forced the Nazi government to claim his death was brought about by a heart attack or a cerebral embolism. In fact, Rommel was given an official state funeral, and Winston Churchill would go on to praise him, “He also deserves our respect because, although a loyal German soldier, he came to hate Hitler and all his works, and took part in the conspiracy to rescue Germany by displacing the maniac and tyrant. For this, he paid the forfeit of his life. In the sombre wars of modern democracy, chivalry finds no place … Still, I do not regret or retract the tribute I paid to Rommel, unfashionable though it was judged.” While there is a great division when it comes to historical opinion with respect to Rommel’s merits as a general as well as the moral choices he made, both historians and the public continue to be intrigued by this man who has been dead for over 70 years. People at large continue to consider Rommel one of the greatest generals of the 20th century, an opinion shared by many of his contemporaries on both sides of World War II. For example, British General Harold Alexander hinted at both his strengths and weaknesses, commenting, “He was a tactician of the greatest ability, with a firm grasp of every detail of the employment of armour in action, and very quick to seize the fleeting opportunity and the critical turning point of a mobile battle.


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*Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents One of his biographers called him “a complex man: a born leader, a brilliant soldier, a devoted husband, a proud father; intelligent, instinctive, brave, compassionate, vain, egotistical, and arrogant.” As that description s *Includes pictures *Includes accounts of the fighting *Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading *Includes a table of contents One of his biographers called him “a complex man: a born leader, a brilliant soldier, a devoted husband, a proud father; intelligent, instinctive, brave, compassionate, vain, egotistical, and arrogant.” As that description suggests, every account of Erwin Rommel’s life must address what appears to be its inherent contradictions. Fittingly, and in the same vein, he remains one of the best remembered generals of World War II and history at large, despite the fact he was on the losing side, and he was defeated at the most famous battle of his career, the decisive Battle of El Alamein. With the Axis forces trying to push through Egypt towards the Suez Canal and the British Mandate of Palestine, American forces landed to their west in North Africa, which ultimately compelled Rommel to try to break through before the Allies could build up and overwhelm them with superior numbers. Given that the combined Allied forces under Bernard Montgomery already had an advantage in manpower, Montgomery also wanted to be aggressive, and the fighting would start in late October 1942 with an Allied attack. At Alamein, 195,000 troops in 11 divisions faced off against 50,000 Germans (four divisions) and 54,000 Italians (eight divisions), where they were able to use their superior numbers and weapons to defeat the Axis troops. Over the next few weeks, the Allies made steady progress and forced Rommel to conduct a fighting retreat to safety until his army linked up with another Axis army in Tunisia, but the fighting at the end of 1942 inevitably compelled all Axis forces to quit the theater, the first time since the beginning of the war that Africa was safe for the Allies. After leaving North Africa, Rommel spent much of the later part of the war strengthening German defenses across the Atlantic in anticipation of an amphibious Allied landing, which would come in June 1944. But the murky role he played in the notorious July 20 plot on Adolf Hitler’s life in 1944, the closest an assassination attempt got to killing the Nazi Fuhrer, would bring about the Desert Fox’s untimely demise in October 1944, even as the Soviets and Western Allies were tightening the vise on Germany. Compelled to take cyanide by authorities, the Desert Fox insisted he was innocent until his dying day, and his popularity forced the Nazi government to claim his death was brought about by a heart attack or a cerebral embolism. In fact, Rommel was given an official state funeral, and Winston Churchill would go on to praise him, “He also deserves our respect because, although a loyal German soldier, he came to hate Hitler and all his works, and took part in the conspiracy to rescue Germany by displacing the maniac and tyrant. For this, he paid the forfeit of his life. In the sombre wars of modern democracy, chivalry finds no place … Still, I do not regret or retract the tribute I paid to Rommel, unfashionable though it was judged.” While there is a great division when it comes to historical opinion with respect to Rommel’s merits as a general as well as the moral choices he made, both historians and the public continue to be intrigued by this man who has been dead for over 70 years. People at large continue to consider Rommel one of the greatest generals of the 20th century, an opinion shared by many of his contemporaries on both sides of World War II. For example, British General Harold Alexander hinted at both his strengths and weaknesses, commenting, “He was a tactician of the greatest ability, with a firm grasp of every detail of the employment of armour in action, and very quick to seize the fleeting opportunity and the critical turning point of a mobile battle.

30 review for Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps: The History of Nazi Germany’s Most Famous Commander and Army during World War II

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mike Briley

    Very dry and very academic. There was much too much details of dates, regiments, causalities etc. It read more as an official military account of the combat rather than a biography. Personally I did not get a "feel" for Rommel from this book. It did inform me of the war in North Africa from a non-British viewpoint but again in a a far to technical manner. Very dry and very academic. There was much too much details of dates, regiments, causalities etc. It read more as an official military account of the combat rather than a biography. Personally I did not get a "feel" for Rommel from this book. It did inform me of the war in North Africa from a non-British viewpoint but again in a a far to technical manner.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Leonard

  3. 5 out of 5

    Marvin Bright

  4. 5 out of 5

    mike schilb

  5. 4 out of 5

    pages

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tina Brossow

  7. 4 out of 5

    Michael Martin

  8. 4 out of 5

    Molly

  9. 4 out of 5

    Yazir Paredes

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  11. 4 out of 5

    richard asmus

  12. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Wilson

  13. 5 out of 5

    bruce yates

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pieper

  15. 4 out of 5

    Varun Rao

  16. 5 out of 5

    James Horasz

  17. 4 out of 5

    James Cobb

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lowell Sutherland

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gary L. Grandy

  20. 4 out of 5

    William J McCoy

  21. 4 out of 5

    kiran

  22. 5 out of 5

    Valerie Habic

  23. 5 out of 5

    Thomas wilson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Richard Bennett

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert Nightingale

  26. 5 out of 5

    ute marks

  27. 4 out of 5

    Harold Cheetham

  28. 4 out of 5

    Wonu ヽ(ಥ益ಥ;)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Abilio Lemos

  30. 4 out of 5

    Krzysiek (Chris)

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