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A Short Thousand Years

A Childhood in the Third Reich
In 1933 Germany became a dictatorship under the Great War veteran Adolf Hitler. He pulled the country out of depression and set it to work, reducing unemployment by undertaking extensive public works and building the first autoroutes in the world. He then resumed conscription and rearmament. All opposition had been eliminated and all power centred in that one man, whose boasted promise was a German Empire that would last 'a Thousand Years'. The author was born in 1935. Ten years later millions had died, much of the continent lay in ruins, his country was shamed and the 'thousand years' came to a fiery end. Others experienced worse, but for a ten-year-old with explosions all about him and with the world seeming to be burning the war made a vivid impression. His Westphalian village consisted largely of traditional farms and homesteads built of wattle and daub--often still shared by livestock. Most of the male population had been called up to fight Hitler's wars and foreigners made up much of the workforce. General Patton's Third Army lit up the village with phosphor grenades from several mountains away. The world seemed to be coming to an end.
Foreword: Start of a Journey; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1 Remblinghausen: A Village in Wartime;2 Tales from the Tailors' Parlour; 3 Even Angels Make Mistakes; 4 A Tea-Cosy Saint Nicholas; 5 The Magic of Christmas; 6 Survival Lessons; 7 A Plague of Cousins; 8 Healing and Wheeling; 9 Early School Days; 10 The Prolific Chicken; 11 The Green Arbour; 12 The Rye Harvest; 13 The Hambummel; 14 Prisoners on the Land; 15 The Wild Man of the Woods; 16 Visitors and Bombs; 17 The Snow Princess; 18 The Old School by the Churchyard; 19 The Brazen Trout; 20 Uncle Engelbert and the Allies; 21 Messages from the Front; 22 Grandmother's Death; 23 My Window on the World; 24 Casualties of Our War; 25 The Ruhr Pocket and the Wider View in Hindsight; 26 An Early End to a Reich Supposed to Last `A Thousand Years'; 27 The Grown-Up's View; 28 The Handcart Funeral; 29 Dangerous Games; 30 The Poles' Dilemma in Victory; 31 Crutches of Hope; 32 A New Beginning; 33 Swapping to Survive; 34 The Gift of an Apple; 35 Church Matters; 36 Father's Return; 37 A New House; 38 No Fun in Wartime: Schutzenfest Restarted in 1948; 39 Belated Facts of Life; 40 Wirtschaftswunder; 41 In the Steps of Gutenberg; 42 Travels with My Father; Bibliography.
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