German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel dies, October 14, 1944
In the wake of a failed assassination plot, Hitler’s brutal reprisal resulted in the arrests of more than 7,000 people and the execution of nearly 5,000 of them—including his favorite general, Erwin Rommel.
Rommel knew of the assassination plot in advance, but said nothing. By proxy, this makes him guilty. Because of his extraordinary service to the Third Reich, Rommel is offered the option of swallowing a cyanide pill rather than going through a public trial. SS troopers drive Rommel to a forest clearing. He never gets out of the car. He is handed the suicide pill. Fifteen minutes later, the general whom the Allied leaders respected for his intelligence and military trade craft and considered their true opponent is dead.