While Rommel did not support the assassination of Hitler, he did agree with the ideas of the rebellion in the army. He had learned of the atrocities committed by Germany, and was horrified at the state of the German people after Allied bombing raids and increasing losses. The conspirators found a willing ally in Rommel.
When the 20 July plot was discovered, Rommel’s identity became clear and he was caught in the broad sweep of the military to catch and eliminate all conspirators. His name was brought up when the conspirators were interrogated; however, a trial of an official of Rommel’s rank would have been unacceptably public for the Nazi administration. It was to the benefit of the Nazi administration for Rommel to quietly disappear.
By October 14, 1944, Rommel knew he was under suspicion and investigation. His chief of staff and commanding officer had both been executed for their role in the conspiracy. He expected, on that day, to either be sent to trial at the People’s Court, or sent to a command on the Eastern Front. He told his son he would accept the command, believing that the Soviet Union was a grave threat.
Two generals came to Rommel’s home, asking politely to speak with him alone. He was offered a choice; he could stand trial for high treason, placing his family in grave danger, or he could commit suicide by cyanide pill. The house was surrounded by men, just out of sight, prepared to fire on his family if he refused. He was allowed a short time to say goodbye to his wife, and to his son.
Rommel was driven off by the two generals, a short way from the house. Surrounded by Gestapo, he took the cyanide pill. Shortly after, his death from a brain seizure was reported, and he was given a state funeral.