Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy
The question was,
What would happen if Rommel reached Palestine?
Rommel would have countenanced the extermination of the Jews in Palestine.
"A second myth is the separation of the war from the Holocaust. Hitler did not plan the invasion of France because the French did not let him visit Paris (8.42); ...there was purpose to the war Germany initiated. That purpose was a demographic revolution on the globe of which killing all Jews was a central point (9.05). Erwin Rommel was first sent to North Africa to salvage Mussolini's hold on Libya... He was to arrange the (9.21) killing of all Jews in Egypt, Palestine, and elsewhere in the Middle East with the murder commando at his headquarters. Hitler did not trust the Italians, who were to get the area, to carry out this important mission (9.35)..."
Gerhard Weinberg: "World War II Myths, Misconceptions and Surprises," GCMarshallFoundation
Rommel spoke of seizing the Suez Canal, obtaining control of the Middle East oil resources, and putting pressure on the Russians from the south. In reality the forces he was allocated by Hitler may have enabled him to defeat the Allies if the British had not made a determined effort to overwhelm and stop him. If Rommel had have defeated the Allies in North Africa he may have been able take Suez and Palestine. After that he would have needed a drastic increase in supplies and manpower to go further. The drive of Hitler to the south of Russia may also have had Palestine in mind. Churchill told Roosevelt that a defeat of the Allies in North Africa would be as disastrous as the loss of London.
In March 1941, the Germans under Rommel had arrived in North Africa to assist their allies the Italians who had preceded them. Rommel drove the Allies back but was obstructed due to the Australians holding onto the port of Tobruk and thus limiting his ability to obtain supplies.Â
In Russia, on 28 June 1942 the Germans diverted their forces, from facing Moscow etc, to the south. This was just after Rommel had captured Tobruk which potentially could be used as a re-supply depot. The Germans reached to within 50 miles of Alexandria in Egypt. Preparations were made by the British to abandoned Egypt altogether. A last minute effort however, known as the First Battle of El Alamein, stopped the Germans in July 1942. Preparations were then made for a further confrontation known as the Second Battle of El Alamein. The Germans had some advantages. They were fighting from a well-prepared defensive position and their manpower was not much less than that of the Allies. They were however low on supplies.
In October 1942 the British and allies defeated the Germans at El Alamein. This was the beginning of the end for the Germans in North Africa.
In November 1942 the Germans at Stalingrad surrendered.
Before his defeat Rommel had hoped that the Germans in Russia would be victorious at Stalingrad, and push through to Iran and the Middle East. The Allies would be forced to attempt to stop them by sending forces from North Africa thus weakening the opposition to him. He believed that if this happened his own troops would be reinforced by Germany and he could push through to take Palestine and onwards. It should be mentioned that Hitler and Rommel were very close. Rommel in some ways was the closest thing to a true friend that Hitler had. They often consulted. Hitler liked to discuss military matters, how weapons worked, etc, with Rommel. The way Rommel understood the possibilities may well have been those of Adolf H. himself.
Second Battle of El Alamein
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Rommel knew that the British Commonwealth forces would soon be strong enough to launch an offensive against his army. His only hope now relied on the German forces fighting in the Battle of Stalingrad to quickly defeat the Soviet forces and moving south through the Trans-Caucasus and threatening Iran (Persia) and the Middle East. This would require large numbers of British Commonwealth forces to be sent from the Egyptian front to reinforce British forces in Iran, leading to the postponement of any offensive against his army. Using this delay, Rommel hoped to convince the German High Command to reinforce his forces for the eventual link-up between Panzer Army Africa and the German armies battling their way through southern Russia, enabling them finally to defeat the British and Commonwealth armies in North Africa and the Middle East.
In the meantime, his forces dug in and waited for the eventual attack by the British Commonwealth forces or the defeat of the Soviet Army at Stalingrad.
Once one factors in the killing of the Jews as a major German war aim the picture changes. The German drive southward in Russia and the attempted advance on Egypt were aimed at killing the Jews in Palestine among other aims.