Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel, 15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944, popularly known as the Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs), was a German Field Marshal of World War II. He won the respect of both his own troops and the enemies he fought. He was a highly decorated officer in World War I, and was awarded the Pour le Mérite for his exploits on the Italian front. In World War II, he further distinguished himself as the commander of the 7th Panzer Division during the 1940 invasion of France. However, it was his leadership of German and Italian forces in the North African campaign that established the legend of the Desert Fox. He is considered to have been one of the most skilled commanders of desert warfare in the conflict.He later commanded the German forces opposing the Allied cross-channel invasion in Normandy. As one of the few generals who consistently fought the Western Allies (he was never assigned to the Eastern Front), Rommel is regarded as having been a humane and professional officer. His Afrikakorps was never accused of war crimes. Soldiers captured during his Africa campaign were reported to have been treated humanely. Furthermore, he ignored orders to kill captured commandos, Jewish soldiers and civilians in all theaters of his command. Late in the war, Rommel was linked to the conspiracy to kill Adolf Hitler. Because Rommel was widely renowned, Hitler chose to eliminate him quietly; in trade for assurances his family would be spared, Rommel agreed to commit suicide.
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