I have always felt it was to save his family from the possible harm that would be brought against them if he was publicly declared a traitor.
Whether or not he was directly involved in the attempted coup of July 20, 1944, odds are the entire German High Command surely were at least peripherally aware that there was some sort of plot to depose Hitler. There is documented evidence of other coups that go back as far as September, 1938, and who knows how many other plots were caught, (then squelched,) in their earliest stages?
I have no doubt that Hitler also viewed Rommel’s “popularity” as a threat to his ultimate power and he had him eliminated (ala Stalin's purge tactics) before it was too late. The Fuhrer was such an megalomaniac he probably couldn't stand having a Prussian loose-cannon steal any of his thunder.
Rommel was found guilty without a real trial and based on testimony which was most probably elicited via torture. According to what I have read, he requested a trial numerous times when he was areested and he was flatly told it was too late, the verdict had already been passed.
Thus. the options left him were:
1.) To die by his own hand, thus he would be remembered as a "hero of the Third Reich" - leaving his family with only the stigma of having been associated with one of the most tyrannical regimes in history.
2.) To be executed and leave his family to the whims of a regime that showed little mercy and would've surely murdered his family. (Indeed he told his son, "If I accept, none of the usual steps will be taken against my family," just minutes before he left his home for the final time.)
quote;He was caught in a plot to kill Hitler, you might recall a certain bomb in a briefcase, and was given the choice to commit suicide and keep his honor or to be stripped of his honor, his family killed, and then killed by the government anyway
for sure he had 2 options suicide, or a big torture.
there was a documentaire on discovery about the briefcase and how and why it didnt kill hitler.
i think the man had big balls to attempt this action.
i think there where a lot of germans that didnt liked his ideas.
and became aware of his real intensions.
he and a few others had the balls to try killing hitler.
He was told too by the Gestapo. He was a war hero to the Germans and it was seen to be a blow for moral if a war hero was in an assasination plot aganst Hitler...either die honorably or be hanged on a meat hook.