As noted, Rommel first met Hitler in 1934. By 1937, Hitler had promoted Rommel. He was made the War Ministry Liason officer for Hitler Youth. This led to conflict; Rommel wanted the Hitler Youth removed entirely from the control of the Nazi party and treated as a military entity. In August 1937, he was promoted to Oberst or colonel. He was removed from his role with the Hitler Youth due to this conflict; however, it did not impede the progress of his career.
After another War Academy appointment, Hitler appointed Rommel second-in-command of his escort battalion. This guard accompanied Hitler anytime he left Germany.
When World War II began in August 1939, Rommel was placed in command of Hitler’s escort battalion at the field headquarters. From the 23rd of August to the 26th of September, Rommel was with Hitler continuously. In September, Rommel returned to Germany on assignment to set up a new headquarters.
In early 1940, Rommel was promoted to General by Hitler, skipping ranks. Rommel wanted, and was granted, command of one of Germany’s new Panzer divisions. These were armored tank divisions, and, as there were only 10, a prestigious appointment. Rommel took command of the 7th Panzer Division in February 1940.
Rommel led the 7th Panzer division into France on May 10, 1940. His division, along with others, made quick progress into France. As he had in World War I, Rommel displayed a willingness to make quick decisions, and engage in smart strategy. He was admired as a commander, and consistently willing to work alongside his men. Rommel continued to push across France, aiming for the coastline.
Rommel and his men largely obeyed the conventions of war, with little tolerance for cruel or inappropriate behavior. There are some accusations of executions of prisoners of war, but many of those are somewhat debatable.