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Save the Last Bullet (Hardback)

Memoir of a Boy Soldier in Hitler's Army

Military > Memoirs WWII > Hitler & the Third Reich

By Wilhelm Langbein, Heidi Langbein-Allen
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 192
Illustrations: 32 mono
ISBN: 9781399072397
Published: 10th October 2022



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Willi Langbein was just thirteen when the Nazis took him away from his parents under the pretence of protecting him. Their real reason was to turn him into cannon-fodder for use against Hitler’s enemies. Deployed to the collapsing Eastern Front in the last days of the war, Willi, now aged fourteen, and his schoolmates were ordered to stave off the relentless Russian advance. None were expected to return alive from the final battles of the Third Reich.

Yet, against all odds, Willi does survive but his ordeal is far from over. He returns home to find everything he knows destroyed. Numb and confused, he is mandated to serve one year of forced farm labour. After his release, he gradually realizes that all he was taught to believe in was a lie and he sinks into depression. Eventually, thanks to his friendship with a kind British soldier, he begins to heal. It begins to dawn on him that he can play a part to ensure that the evil he witnessed is never repeated. Ultimately, he succeeds by earning the Medal of European Merit in 1979 for his contribution to the advancement of European democracy.

Willi’s graphic and moving story, told from a Nazi child soldier’s perspective, is an inspiring memoir of lost innocence and despair, but also of determination and hope restored.

Article:Column: Former Hitler Youth tells his story, nearly eight decades later

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The San Diego Union-Tribune



Fox 5 San Diego News

Willi Langbein was taken from his parents when he was thirteen, given some hurried training, and sent into battle. Despite the odds, he survived the war, was helped by a British soldier, and later worked to ensure what he experienced would never be visited on other children. This memoir is a harrowing account of what he experienced as a teenager.

WWII History Magazine, June 2023

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New York Weekly

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US Review of Books

' A very powerful insight into the savagery of the last days of the German Reich as seen from the viewpoint of a very naive child-recruit. Young Willi is force-fed Nazi propaganda but he soon sees for himself what defeat means, especially as he stands in a fox-hole, aged 14, firing Panzerfausts at Soviet tanks that are crushing his comrades.

'The book also provides a compelling explanation as to why a generation or more of Germans found it almost impossible to talk about the evils of the vanquished Reich. Recommended.'

Professor Paul Moorcraft, Journalist, author and security commentator

The story, is William Langbein's story of a teenager, trained to fight for his country, Nazi Germany, taken prisoners,
where he discovers that his country, was a murder regime. I could relate to Wilhelm; I was about is age when WW2 began.
Much was made then, on British News Films of boys and old men filling German army ranks. Lest we forget, Britain too had its old men (Home Guard) and boy soldiers (the army cadets). However, we were the good guys using indiscriminate bombing as a weapon.

Having drawn that comparison, and served in The Parachute Regiment in my late teens, I found Langbein's story interesting
and a good read. A page turner.

Richard Gough - Historian, writer, author of the Escape from Singapore, The jungle was Red, Outpost of the Empire, SOE Singapore 1941-42. Waiting publication Tony Poe, CIA Paramilitary in SE Asia.

A riveting personal memoir of Willhelm Langbein's daughter, Heidi Langbein-Allen drawing upon her father's records and accounts, "Save the Last Bullet: Memoir of a Boy Soldier in Hitler's Army" is a highly recommended and valued addition to personal, professional, community, and academic library World War II History/Biography/Memoir collections.

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Midwest Book Review

Save the Last Bullet is a true story of a German boy-soldier coming of age at the apocalyptic end of World War II. In the powerful tradition of The Red Badge of Courage and All Quiet on the Western Front, it will haunt and inspire. Fast paced, frightening, and heart pounding, beautifully written, an unforgettable read.

James Longo, Author Hitler and the Habsburgs: The Fuhrer's Vendetta Against the Austrian Royals

This is a story of what happens to our children if we allow one man to hold such a grip on a country, on a population, that we cannot see the evil behind them. It has happened, it will happen again. It is happening again.

5 Stars

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Army Rumour Service (ARRSE)

In a world too often diminished by divisions, demonizations and despair, Save the Last Bullet is a must-read true story about the power of one person to inspire healing and hope. Rather than lament the darkness amidst the ashes and horrors of World War 2, the story of Heidi Langbein-Allen’s father inspires us to increase the light and never lose faith in building a better, more democratic, kind and good world.

Rabbi Daniel Cohen, author of The Secret of the Light and What Will They Say About You When You're Gone: Creating a Life of Legacy

A ruthless, heartbreaking account of the indoctrination that children were subjected to, and of the horrific situations in which they were knowingly put.

Foreward Reviews Jan/Feb 2023 Issue

About Wilhelm Langbein

Having lost two schoolyears as a child soldier in Hitler’s Army, WILHELM LANGBEIN graduated from high school in 1951, aged 21. In 1959, he married his Spanish pen pal, Teresa Vives. They had two daughters, Heidi and Graziella. After gaining a degree in law and philology from the University of Cologne, he joined the German Department of Defense in 1962. In 1979, he was awarded the medal of European Merit for his contribution to the advancement of democracy in Europe. He spent his final assignment as head of the Legal Division of the NATO EFA Development, Production and Logistic Management Agency before retiring in 1992. He passed away in 2018.

About Heidi Langbein-Allen

HEIDI LANGBEIN-ALLEN was raised in Germany, France and Spain and lives in the USA with her husband, a retired US Navy veteran. She wrote her Father’s memoirs from his taped recollections and records of interviews. An excerpt aired in the top-rated World War Two podcast fightingthroughpodcast.co.uk in May 2021 and a chapter appeared in the San Diego Writer’s Association 2021 Anthology A Year In Ink.

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