Save the Last Bullet: Memoir of a Boy Soldier in Hitler’s Army
by Wilhelm Langbein with Heidi Langbein-Allen
Pen and Sword Military

"Obedience was automatic, we did not question."

Three years after Wilhelm (Willi) Langbein's birth, Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and the Third Reich began. Langbein and his family witnessed the repressive measures employed by the new regime but mostly wanted to remain inconspicuous. In 1943, the young soldier was relocated in order to ready him for service to his country. The next two years left an ineradicable mark on his soul.

In the Spring of 1945, as the days of war began to wane, Langbein experienced his trial-by-fire moment. He was behind the sight of a rocket launcher where a second of hesitation in firing the weapon could hasten his own demise. Langbein was just shy of fifteen years old. Germany had not fully recovered from its catastrophic defeat, and political instability had given way to the rise of the Nazi party.

This book earnestly recalls the life of a young man who was whisked away from his family in order to ready himself to serve the Fatherland. The story, as told by Langbein to his daughter Heidi, is vivid in its imagery and often shocking in the ordeal Langein went through during and after his time with the Hitler Youth. The emotional voyage of the book brings him from the comforts of home to the confining restrictions of military life to the uncertain future of a war-scarred Germany. The horrors of the war that cling to him from 1943 onward strike a powerful chord that will resonate well after the conclusion. This is a powerful narrative that is reinforced by the indomitable will of its protagonist.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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