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  • Author or Editor: Heather A. Fuhrman x
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Heather A. Fuhrman, Jeffrey P. Mullin and Chris A. Sloffer

War-related head injury, indeed neurological injury in general, has been a part of the history of humankind for as long as there has been warfare. Such injuries can result in the removal of the individual from combat, thus eliminating any subsequent contribution that he or she might have made to the battle. However, at times, the injuries can have more wide-reaching effects. In the case of commanders or leaders, the impact of their injuries may include the loss of their influence, planning, and leadership, and thus have a disproportionate effect on the battle, or indeed the war. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel was a talented military strategist and leader who was respected by friends and foes alike. He held an honored reputation by the German people and the military leadership. His head injury on July 17, 1944, resulted in his being removed from the field of battle in northern France, but also meant that he was not able to lend his stature to the assassination attempt of Adolph Hitler on July 20. It is possible that, had he been able to lend his stature to the events, Hitler's hold on the nation's government might have been loosened, and the war might have been brought to an end a year earlier. The authors review Rommel's career, his injury, the subsequent medical treatment, and his subsequent death.