AHC: Chancellor Erwin Rommel

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Sextus Munatius Piso, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Sextus Munatius Piso The Last Among Equals

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    Assuming that he survived WWII, make Erwin Rommel Chancellor of (West) Germany during the Cold War. You can also elaborate on the possible butterflies.
     
  2. David Floyd Well-Known Member

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    This assumes he wouldn't face charges at Nuremburg focused around his use of slave labor. This might be ASB.
     
  3. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    Rommel ends up in a coma after his car accident. The SS assuming he won't make it passes him over. The British find out about his involvement in the July Plot and planning an armistice from the wiretapped conversations of Heinrich Eberach in the West same time as OTL in September of 1944.

    Stalin is more aggressive after the war and there is even more brinkmanship in Europe, Greece falls to Communism, it looks even more like WW3 or more a question of when not if. Then its not hard to see the British and Americans 'drafting' him for the job.

    The interesting thing is he would have the political ability to be harder on the SS and certain other persons that committed genocide in the East then Adenauer could get away with. Would he focus heavily on putting Germany on a footing to prepare for war? Yes. Though I think he would have a greater focus on developing the scientific and engineering aspects of the German economy then one might think given he had a great interest in engineering, math and the sciences.
     
  4. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    The WAllies used German soldiers as forced laborers after the war for quite some time... a very long time in the case of Russia. Rommel at least ordered that French laborers be paid for their work and be treated humanely and would go around the Atlantic Wall and try to improve their conditions where he could.

    The chance of Rommel being tried at Nuremburg is approximately zero. Even Manstein wasn't tried at Nuremburg, it was mainly politicians, bureaucrats and hated desk generals who just issued genocidal orders that did. Field commanders like Manstein whose actions were 'too much' even by the standards of the time were given a slap on the wrist (he ended up spending 4 years in jail) and he wasn't tried at Nuremburg.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  5. Kaiser K Literally Scoop Jackson

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    He was also practically the only German with a positive international opinion during the war at all. No one from the West is going to put Rommel on trial.
     
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  6. MattII Well-Known Member

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    And since he never served a day in the East the Soviets won't have much luck in trying to get him.
     
  7. Admiral Halsey Best damn Admiral in US history Banned

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    Hell IIRC even Patton respected him.
     
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  8. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    Rommel respected Patton as well, not just for his fighting tactics, but also because he let it be known how he felt about Stalin. Rommel told his son to ask Patton to allow him to join his army, but the French poached Rommel's son first as a recruiting tool for their Indochina jungle adventure.

    Churchill paid him his best tribute at his death, Montgomery perhaps next. How he was viewed at the time only makes sense if you understand that between the British Empire and her Commonwealth, the French, the Italians and the U.S. Army you had nearly the whole Western world involved and officers and the media from the whole Western world at the time were watching what he did and judged him on his actions not on how they felt about the regimes policies as they believed from his actions that he opposed the policies that made Germany hated at the time.

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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  9. Kome Little Serb

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    Rommel is Germany's MacArthur in this case. The left and center will be hitting him hard for his former military history and ties with the Nazis. And seeing how these are the Nazis we are talking about, any ties to them at all would provide plenty of political ammunition. To say nothing of his own rather questionable special relation with Hitler.

    Meanwhile on the right end of the spectrum, other former military generals would be criticizing him. Apparently while he's Britain's sweetheart, the actual generals in Germany found him to be rather hard to work with.

    So, Germany's MacArthur. Extremely popular with many people, but has too many enemies and too many questionable choices throughout his career, and would be torn apart in a political campaign.

    But then again, this is the Desert Fox. Maybe he would be able to once again pull off a surprise and exceed everyone's expectations.

    If I was part of his campaign team, I would say his greatest strengths with the electorate are his personal charisma and whatever political policies he is running with. And it has to be about the policies, since running on his war record would be counterproductive. The German electorate has no love for war heroes after that war. Rommel needs to paint himself not as a war hero, but as the archetypical reformed nazi. Trying to dodge the nazi issue wont work, since his opponents will tear him apart with it. He has to present himself as the embodiment of the new postwar German state. Personally charismatic, good with kids, a family man, strong christian values, an atoner for Germany's past, able to acknowledge that Germany and himself were wrong, but with a strong internal drive to atone for those mistakes and press forward into the future to build a new and better Germany.

    Even after making himself politically acceptable to the public, he still has to deal with the fact that the Chancellor is not elected by popular vote but is elected by parliament instead. Thats a system that greatly favors professional politicians with established political machines, rather than outsiders like Rommel. Which means he needs to purge himself of taint to become political acceptable, and then after that, he needs to work his way through the Bundestag to gather votes.

    It is very difficult.
     
  10. MattII Well-Known Member

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    Possibly a minister of defence then? Or maybe a senior role in the UN.
     
  11. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    Alot of what you said about German feelings I believe was true by the mid to late 60s. As for the late 40s and early to mid 50s... eh Hitler's racial garbage was discredited, but the war itself being immoral I am not so certain had become a mainstream view. As for the German public having no love of war heroes after the war...

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    Rommel's road to a chancellorship does run into road blocks if he wants it and pushes for it I certainly agree with that, then he does run into the MacArthur problem. But, I can't see him wanting it or pushing for it as he hated politics.

    The road is most open for him like with Ike if the behind the scenes actors decide they can use him as a popular figurehead for the party to promote him for the job which he doesn't want because he is an apolitical soldier, but feels and sends the message to the public that he is being 'drafted' into it for the good of his country with the enemy at the gates ready to invade at any time.

    That is what I meant when I said an even scarier early Cold War and it was pretty damn scary to people in the late 40s and early 50s would make such a thing more possible both from Rommel's end considering the job and from the early parties prospective of wanting a soldier who will get votes and make people feel safe from the Red Army. A great many people really did expect Stalin back then to send in the tanks at any time or organize a Communist uprising/coup within West Germany.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  12. PoeFacedKilla The Edgy Quant

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    If I was German during a Soviet invasion, I would want Erwin Rommel leading the Army; not playing politics.
     
  13. jmc247 Well-Known Member

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    One could say the same for Ike and yet he was 'drafted' to deal with Korea and to prepare for what people saw as the coming war with the Soviets. Ike thus created the first large professional standing U.S. military.

    Americans also wanted Ike because they wanted a face that the Soviets would respect and somewhat fear at the helm as they believed there was deterrence power in that to avoid the kind of adventurism that Khrushchev did with Kennedy.

    Germany had no military in the late 40s and even early 50s, but the plan was to rebuild it to deal with the Soviet threat. A worse Cold War situation if the parties wanted Rommel as Chancellor it would be for similar reasons as Ike was elected minus Korea... a reassuring face for the public in a time of great worry that the Soviets will respect and somewhat fear who will rebuild a military force that will protect the country from invasion.

    The heyday of such generals/political leaders was gone by the 60s when views changed and the Cold War entered a different phase. Only certain people like De Gaulle didn't get the hint and couldn't change with the times.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2014
  14. Queen Edward II³-(IV+II²) Warren/[-insertnamehere-] 2020

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    Yes, this.

    He is one of the rather few actors of WW2 who is remembered in a positive light even to this day. There are places, streets, Bundeswehr barracks, etc. named after him, which wouldn't be even remotely possible if he was considered a war criminal. Rommel was for WW2 what von Lettow-Vorbeck was for WW1: Highly competent and somewhat conservative -yet nowhere near any extremes-; a gentleman with a moral compass and a sense of decency, even during the darkest times - and both of them refused to be exploited for political reasons.

    That being said, I seriously doubt that Rommel would have pursued a political career following WW2.
     
  15. Tom Colton be great, don't denigrate

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    Erwin names his son Erwin Rommel III and he uses his mayorship of Stuttgart to launch a bid for leadership of the CDU? ;)