Help support TMP

"University Apologizes for Quoting Rommel" Topic

46 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.

Back to the WWII Discussion Message Board

Areas of Interest

World War Two on the Land

977 hits since 21 Jun 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian22 Jun 2018 10:17 a.m. PST

Careers services at the University of Exeter quoted Erwin Rommel, a World War II Nazi general known as "Desert Fox," in an email blast to staff and students with a scenic sunset background, Sky News reported…


randy51 Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 10:30 a.m. PST

Shocking, simply shocking.

28mm Fanatik22 Jun 2018 10:31 a.m. PST

It probably wouldn't have made any difference even if whoever quoted Rommel quoted Stauffenberg instead. Both were "card-carrying Nazis" and served the state with distinction notwithstanding their own personal feelings and reservations.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member22 Jun 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

I thought Rommel was not a NAZI. Obviously, he did sleep in their bed but I thought he did not join the NAZI party.

Of course, everyone and everything now-a-days is a NAZI. My neighbor has a tree stump in his backyard that is accused of being a NAZI.

28mm Fanatik22 Jun 2018 10:37 a.m. PST

We live in a world where even UFO's can be "Nazi."

raylev322 Jun 2018 10:51 a.m. PST

Ignorance at a university is a crying shame. Rommel was never a Nazi.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member22 Jun 2018 10:53 a.m. PST

"Ignorance at a university is a crying shame."

But unfortunately a more and more prevalent reality.

Pan Marek Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 10:56 a.m. PST

Yep. The most important thing about the story is that Rommel was called a Nazi, when he was merely a willing tool of the Nazis instead. Not that an English University used a quote of his in an action of incredible insensitivity and tone deafness.

Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 11:14 a.m. PST

Insensitivity and tone deafness? Dude lighten up…..

28mm Fanatik22 Jun 2018 11:16 a.m. PST

The most important thing about the story is that Rommseel was called a Nazi, when he was merely a willing tool of the Nazis instead.

This distinction is lost on most people due to their willingness to attribute guilt by association. To these people, if your actions furthered the aims of the German state (i.e. Nazis), then you're de facto a "Nazi."

It doesn't matter that you're motivated by duty and honor rather than ideology.

Old Glory Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 11:17 a.m. PST

Could they quote "uncle Joe" or Mao and not get in trouble?

Russ Dunaway

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP22 Jun 2018 11:19 a.m. PST

They could probably easily raise enough money to commission a statue of each of the above.

Blutarski22 Jun 2018 11:26 a.m. PST

28mm Fanatik wrote -
"It doesn't matter that you're motivated by duty and honor rather than ideology."

Stop complicating the issue with intelligent insights.

Propaganda is much preferable:
> It's simple.
> It's easy to understand.
> You don't have to think.
> You don't get into trouble if you repeat it.


Vigilant22 Jun 2018 11:31 a.m. PST

If you actually read the article it is Fox News and its offspring Sky that calls him a Nazi, not the university. But then again, no surprise there.

Andy ONeill22 Jun 2018 11:34 a.m. PST

What complete utter tosh.

Jeremy Corbyn is allegedly anti semitic.
This is also inspiring fear in jewish potential students.
Someone… claimed.

I wonder what else is putting these students off and how exactly the national students union has worked out who is put off by what.
It must be totally bewildering for them.
All this anti Semitism flying around from so many directions putting off so many…

Mobius22 Jun 2018 11:37 a.m. PST

Today it's Rommel. Tomorrow it's George Washington.

Dynaman878922 Jun 2018 11:39 a.m. PST

Oh wow! Something else for us to get up in arms about over someone else getting up in arms about.

Thomas Thomas22 Jun 2018 11:45 a.m. PST

There is no honor in supporting a murderous regime and duty can only carry you so far. Rommel's relationship with the Nazi Party is complex – he got along OK with it when things were going well but as they turned bad his conscious seemed to grow.

There is no doubt he served as a moderating influence on Nazi demands wherever he held command – more than most German generals can say. But he basked in Nazi propaganda and helped cement the regimes sway on its people.

Its common today to refer to the German armed forces during WWII as Nazis instead of just Nazi abbetters. But the distinction is often pretty theoretical.

Even Churchill praised Rommel during the height of WWII and his late but real anti-Hitler motivations do provide a justification to distinguish him from his more subservient peers. So the university should perhaps allow some nuance in its condemnation.


Blutarski22 Jun 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

Just an aside inspired by a moment of cosmic insight. If the First Law of the Universe is the "Law of Unintended Consequences", I see the Second Law of the Universe as the "Double Standard".

Explains a lot.


zoneofcontrol Inactive Member22 Jun 2018 11:53 a.m. PST

"This distinction is lost on most people due to their willingness to attribute guilt by association."

Which is a key ingredient in things like racism, sexism, homophobia…

Group think, usually isn't.

Blutarski22 Jun 2018 12:59 p.m. PST

TomT Agree that Rommel's relationship with the Nazi Party was complicated, but I'd venture that a considerable part of it stemmed from Goebbel's desire to cash in on Rommel's public celebrity not only as a WW1 Pour le Merite holder but also as a notable participant in the post-war suppression of the socialist/communist uprisings in Germany.

One telling aspect of Rommel's WW2 career, I think, was his refusal to accept any SS detachments in his North African command (although some SS elements did reach Tunisia in the latter part of 1942, I do not believe that they were actually under Rommel's command).


Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2018 4:07 a.m. PST

It helps to look from the other angle to get a clearer picture.

The debacle of WWI was to some the sole mistake of Kaiser Wilhelm, others believed that it had been his advisors or that he had lost track of the real goals of the war.

Others looked for scapegoats and while the nazi propaganda has become the default vision of the "stab in the back" it's far more complex. Many sought to put the blame on the Christian Democrats and the Socialists, rather than the Communists and jews, because of their strong presence in German politics (cf "The Establishment"). Many saw the Weimar Republic as a Trojan Horse that had sabotaged the war so it could get the Kaiser out of the way and the Communists who didn't hold any real political power were just a smokescreen.

It appears that Rommel was one of those who was sorely disappointed by the Weimar Republic. He had been somewhat sidelined in the aftermath of the troubles around his Pour Le Merite and the military restrictions of Versailles only made things worse.

Now another major factor is how people perceive things like political parties. Unless you thoroughly research any given news item and try to figure out what's really been happening, most people tend to let things slide when it comes to adhering to one view or another. Problems tend to glossed over, rosy glasses etc …

Rommel was both highly ambitious and while he certain had his own views, he become convinced that Hitler might be the right man, not necessarily for Germany, but for Rommel.

That's why Rommel had no problem with the SS being Hitler's own bodyguard and being given command of his personal guard, he did share the opinion of many army regulars that the SS was a rival private army, made up of unskilled thugs. I think he opposed them more because they were less effective than that he opposed nazi internal politics, like most he agreed with some, and disagreed with others. As far as I can tell he was not a rabid anti-semite, but he may not have felt great love for them either. Like many better off Germans he had no love for communists either.

Rommel's own ambition and his belief that he had a special connection with Hitler as well as the massive propaganda boon he generated while in North Africa, where he could star far more than the Generals pulling a much bigger load and achieving much more than Rommel ever did.

Rommel became increasingly dissatisfied with Hitler, North Africa had been a mistake and while his reputation was mostly intact, he was aware that losing North Africa would be held against him sooner or later. He was determined to win the battle for Normandy or at least do better than anyone else. His preparations, while impressive on paper relied ultimately on second rate, poorly equipped static divisions to buy the time to get the Panzers rolling and launch a counter-attack.

Around the same time the plot against Hitler takes shape and Rommel is carefully requested to state his intentions in case of a putsch. Rommel would not openly embrace the plan, but should it succeed he would not stand in their way either, once again Rommel banked on his reputation and his his ambition. Should the putsch succeed he would be in a position to get a higher position and ride out things till the war blows over. And he may have underestimated the fallout in case it failed.

His name went around the higher circles in Berlin and the nazi party had never been one to shy away from turning onto a fallen idol like a pack of rabid wolves. His reputation didn't save him, it spared him the infamy of ending at the end of a piece of wire, his face swollen by "interrogation techniques"

Ultimately Rommel does win the final bit, his dislike for the SS, his clash with the nazis and his nominal involvement on trying to bomb Hitler make him the perfect Cold War German Hero, a man who obeyed his own honour, served a thuggish and perfidiously evil regime, but had a clear record through sheer dumb luck. In their eagerness to promote that Germans had not been so bad after all Rommel became the poster-boy, that he used the nazis to satisfy his own ambition, became a sense of duty, that he saw Hitler as a possible leader that would put Germany back on track became a relationship where he thought his own influence would temper Hitler. And even though he only nominally was involved in the putsch he became the man who did rise against Hitler, disappointed by his evil and incompetence.

Rommel got lucky in that he got one of the cushiest job in the German army, he did get close to the leadership to promote himself, he did ignore the negatives and didn't take a real stand. He was not an intrinsically bad person, but conveniently ignored certain things and his association with an evil regime cost him his life, but politics conspired to turn him into a post-mortem hero.

Mobius24 Jun 2018 5:31 a.m. PST

His statements are already recorded in history so banning them isn't going to change anything. Unless the university thinks hearing them by some is going to convert students to Nazism or give aid and comfort to Nazis. If so would the university have to guts to ban quotes from al-Baghdadi?

Legion 424 Jun 2018 7:59 a.m. PST

Agreed Mobius … history is history whether we like the who, where, what, how, etc. of what occurred, etc. And today in the "current environment", to just mention anything about WWII Germans/Nazis, etc. in any light "upsets" some. And in some situations this is probably understandable …

But e.g. the IJFs, USSR, etc., etc., were just a brutal in many cases as the Nazis. Maybe sadly the Nazis were just a little better "organized", etc. … Another unfortunate thing among many unfortunate things that occurred in WWII …

raylev324 Jun 2018 10:24 a.m. PST

Could they quote "uncle Joe" or Mao and not get in trouble?

That's because Communism gets a pass on the tens of millions that they killed. They are the same as Nazis, just different propaganda.

Blutarski24 Jun 2018 12:20 p.m. PST

While I absolutely agree with Napoleon that history is a mutually agreed set of lies, it is also evident that the lies are often updated and refreshed to suit the passion of the moment.


Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP24 Jun 2018 1:09 p.m. PST

Communism is not the same as nazim.
While the end results ended up more or less the same. Intent matters.
Communism was made in the hope of improving the plight of the poor and down trodden. It failed spectacularly every time it was tried. But the intent was well meaning.

Nazism at it's core is a racist genocidal ideology.
It has no redeeming qualities at all. Rotten at the core.

So yes there is a clear distinction.

Blutarski24 Jun 2018 1:22 p.m. PST

With all due respect, Gunfreak, Nazism and Communism were a great deal more similar than one might think. Both advanced policies that favored the interests of the working classes. On the "minus side", both engaged in industrial level genocidal slaughter: the Nazis targeting racial and ethnic groups deemed to be "enemies of the state"; the Soviets targeting social class "enemies of the state".



Fred Cartwright24 Jun 2018 1:59 p.m. PST

On the "minus side", both engaged in industrial level genocidal slaughter: the Nazis targeting racial and ethnic groups deemed to be "enemies of the state"; the Soviets targeting social class "enemies of the state".

Stalin was not adverse to targeting racial and ethnic groups as well, as his treatment of various Cossacks, Kazaks etc shows. IIRC on one occasion even dragging off the women and children to camps while the men were away fighting in the Red Army.

raylev325 Jun 2018 12:12 p.m. PST

Not to mention the Soviet Union's ethnic cleansing of entire regions of eastern Europe at the end of the war….Poles, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, and, of course, ethnic Germans.

Oh, and the Soviets get a pass on their complicity with the Germans to invade the Baltic states AND Poland in coordination with the Nazis.

Gunfreak Supporting Member of TMP25 Jun 2018 2:09 p.m. PST

What communist leaders did is not the same as what communism started out as.
Nazism started out with genocide at it's core. The racial hate is nazim.
What Stalin did or Mao did is their thing, it's extra not part of the original package.

I wouldn't want to live in Cuba or Vietnam under communism. But compared to Nazi Germany they were paradise.

Legion 425 Jun 2018 2:47 p.m. PST

IIRC deaths attributed to Mao out numbered Stalin's and Hitler came in 3d.

Really does not matter what an "evil" dogma is called, works, operates, it's beliefs, etc., IMO.

Look at why AQ, the Taliban, ISIS, AS, BH, etc., do the evil they do …

Andy ONeill25 Jun 2018 11:03 p.m. PST

Every time I see new analysis of the amount of his own people Stalin killed, the number goes up.
Not seen anything about Mao but Stalin's "score" was way higher than Hitler.

"You've not killed enough people in district …..".
The people unlucky enough to live in a targeted area might be visiting paradise pretty soon.

Mobius26 Jun 2018 6:22 a.m. PST

@Andy all counts under all three have been revised higher. If you go and find old encyclopedias you will find the numbers in each case lower.

ScottS26 Jun 2018 6:26 a.m. PST

We live in a world where even UFO's can be "Nazi."

Well, what else are you going to call it?

Legion 426 Jun 2018 7:06 a.m. PST

OH NOOOoooo !!!!! huh? TMP link

Blutarski26 Jun 2018 2:26 p.m. PST

Early Dalek …..


wmyers28 Jun 2018 9:47 a.m. PST

I think the responses of a few individuals on this site, devoted to history, shows the level of political correct indoctrination that society has undergone…

Legion 428 Jun 2018 12:57 p.m. PST

Sad … but true … I know I have to watch what & how I say things here, etc. …

Part of the "new normal", I guess … frown

Blutarski28 Jun 2018 2:19 p.m. PST

IMO, we do not owe any sort of special tip-toe deference to misinformed or mal-educated individuals.


Legion 429 Jun 2018 1:13 p.m. PST

No we don't … but if you do or did challenge their statements at times you could get Dh'd or worse … frown

Blutarski29 Jun 2018 7:50 p.m. PST

I don't by any means suggest taking an insulting attitude or "going off the rails" language-wise. But I do not recognize the authority of anyone who views himself as the intellectual "Brain Police"

(*) See Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention album" "Freak Out", 1966. A strange guy to be sure, but one possessed (sadly in this case) of unusual prescience.


Bill N30 Jun 2018 4:02 a.m. PST

Know your audience. I believe that is still a rule that is taught in college Communications classes.

Rommel was not a Nazi. He and Germans like him did willingly work with the Nazis to advance their common goals. In doing so he and people like him made it more possible for the Nazis to carry out their more repugnant agenda. Even informed historians debate the extent to which Nazi's fellow travelers should share in the blame for what the Nazis did. Expecting the typical college student with limited interest in history to draw a clear distinction between Rommel and Naziism is naive.

Legion 401 Jul 2018 5:17 a.m. PST

Again, to some to mention/say the word "Nazi" is a "dog whistle" phenomena. Yes, the entire Nazi dogma, actions, etc. was horrendous, heinous, etc. But again, the IJFs and even the USSR were very, very far from "choir boys" as well. And lets not forget Mao …

IMO those entities deserve as much upset, outrage, etc. as the Nazis … if not more …

Fred Cartwright01 Jul 2018 6:54 a.m. PST

Expecting the typical college student with limited interest in history to draw a clear distinction between Rommel and Naziism is naive.

So just pander to their ignorance instead?!

Bill N01 Jul 2018 10:50 a.m. PST

No Fred. What I am saying is that the appropriateness of the email does not turn on historical analysis. It turns on rules of communication.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.