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.
Heinz Wilhelm Guderian was one of the most respected commanders and theoreticians of World War II. An innovative tank commander, he was a pioneer of German Blitzkrieg tactics and therefore, a hugely influential figure in the way the war was fought. Guderian's profile was not always what might have been expected for a man of his abilities and influence warrant due to the shape of his career.
Albert Kesselring holds a strange place in the history of World War II. A commander in the Luftwaffe, he is remembered as much for the skill with which he oversaw the German armies as for his mastery of the air fleets. Called "Uncle Albert" by many of his men and "Smiling Albert" by the Allies, he was widely respected by men on both sides of the war and loved by many of his troops, yet he was responsible for massacres in occupied Italy for which he was condemned to death during the post-war trials. He was undoubtedly a gifted commander, but one who served at a time when the German military was tainted with the evils of Nazism.
©2017 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors