Erwin Johannes Eugen Rommel (15 November 1891 – 14 October 1944), popularly known as the Desert Fox (Wüstenfuchs), was a famous German Field Marshal of World War II.
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 war. 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 Afrika Korps 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. Due to his wide renown, Hitler chose to eliminate him quietly; in trade for the protection of his family, Rommel agreed to commit suicide.
It was Burgdorf who offered him the option of suicide.
Rommel was the author of the books: "Attacks" and "Infantry Attacks". He also planned to write a book called "The Tank in Attack" but never finished it. In an infamous scene where the American general, George S. Patton declared he had "read [Rommel's] book" (as quoted above), a fictional copy of said book can however be found in the 1970 film Patton, which features Rommel as Patton's adversary.
In the parodies
Because he died before the events portrayed in the film, Rommel does not appear in Downfall. However, there are other films in which he is depicted. James Mason portrayed Rommel in the 1951 movie The Desert Fox: The Story of Rommel, which focused on his life after the African campaign. Mason later reprised the role in the 1953 film The Desert Rats, which focused on the actual campaign. Karl Michael Vogler also portrayed Rommel in Patton. 2012 saw a film aptly-named Rommel finally made natively in Germany, focusing on his involvement in the Atlantic Wall defence up to his final moment.
As he does not appear in Downfall, Rommel is not a regular character in the parodies. However, a few Untergangers have mentioned him in their parodies, and in a few cases, he has actually appeared. Many viewers and fans of Hitler Rants Parodies said that Hitler should send Rommel and his Afrika Korps to defeat Muammar al-Gaddafi. Helmuth Weidling portrayed the Desert Fox in Hitler vs. Team Rocket, a series by GarlicPudding.
One of HitchcockJohn's first parodies titled Hitler Reviews The Desert Fox had Hitler commenting on the 1951 The Desert Fox, which focused on the end of Rommel's career. In the parody, Hitler insisted that, despite Otto Günsche and Heinrich Himmler claiming otherwise, The Desert Fox was a bad film because it tried to portray "that idiot" Rommel as a sympathetic character. He also remarked that people should start making Rommel parodies rather than Hitler parodies. Obviously, Hitler didn't realize that there is little chance for that to happen, since most films starring Rommel has him speaking in English and he is never seen ranting, not even once.
PiretBCN relies on using real-life foxes to portray Rommel, as well as Burgdorf, in her parodies.
Windows7Guy100 has created Rommel Parodies using footage from the 2012 German TV film Rommel. Mfaizsyahmi has also created a Rommel Parody from the same film.