Rommel: The Soldier, The Son and Hitler

1939 | War in Europe

THE FILM: Narrated by Greg Kinnear.

Germany’s most famous commander of World War II, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, had one fatal flaw: He always spoke his mind to Adolf Hitler. Rommel would pay for voicing the truth to his Fuhrer with his life.

An earlier hero of World War I, Erwin Rommel was many things. A career soldier, a loyal German, one of the most successful generals of World War II on either side of the conflict and above all, a caring father to his son Manfred and loving husband to wife, Lucie.

Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was also a realist. Highly decorated and one of Hitler’s favorite commanders in the early years of World War II, the “Desert Fox” as his British adversaries labeled him, was somewhat of an enigma. Never a member of the Nazi party, Rommel detested the blending of politics and war.

He would discover quickly both were always in play in Hitler’s Germany.

Rommel was somewhat naïve to the ways of Hitler until the latter days of the Afrika Korps defeat in North Africa in 1943. By then, Rommel started to surmise that Germany’s fate was sealed.

Put in charge of the famed and flawed Atlantic Wall in western Europe in late 1943, Rommel tried his best to prepare France for the coming Allied invasion. In the end, it would not be enough. D-Day’s success only reinforced Rommel’s belief that Adolf Hitler should sue for peace in the west. Something Hitler found treasonous.

Was Rommel in on the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944? If not, why did Germany’s Fuhrer force his top general to commit suicide?

In a rare interview with the World War II Foundation, Erwin Rommel’s late son Manfred lends his personal thoughts to his father’s military story, revealing
what happens when an honest career soldier confronts a Dictator named Adolf Hitler.

Manfred was there and saw it all play out.


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We encourage you to choose one of the PDFs below that is the best match for your students. It’s up to each educator if you would like to offer either the exam or the one-question essay. An answer sheet corresponds with each quiz.  Our goal is not to overwhelm students with dates, treaties, and strategies. Instead, we would rather focus their attention on the individual stories of the subjects of our documentaries. We find these visual stories to be inspiring, impactful, and educational.

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