A Short Thousand Years: A Childhood in the Third Reich

Author(s): Robert Hallmann 

ISBN: 9781781557358
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The true story of the Second World War and peace in a Westphalian village as seen through the eyes of a child.
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  • Actual experiences of life in wartime Germany from a child’s perspective

  • 250 private and unpublished period photographs

  • Tragedy and laughter, humans and livestock, locals and evacuees, victors and vanquished 

  • The prisoners of war who helped the population when their fortunes changed

In 1933, Germany became a dictatorship under a First World War veteran named Adolf Hitler. He pulled the country out of the Great Depression and set it to work, reducing unemployment and hardship by undertaking extensive public works and building the first motorways in the world. He then resumed conscription and rearmament.

All opposition had been eliminated and all power centred on Hitler whose promise was a German empire that would last ‘a thousand years’. Author Robert Hallmann was born in 1935. Ten years later, millions had died, much of the continent lay in ruins and the ‘thousand years’ came to a fiery end.

Others experienced worse, but when you are ten years old with explosions all about you and the world seems to be burning, it makes an impression. The author’s village consisted largely of traditional farms and homesteads built of wattle and daub, often shared by livestock.

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. Armageddon had arrived…


BOOK ISBN 9781781557358
FORMAT 234 x 156 mm
BINDING hardback
PAGES 320 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 25 July 2019
TERRITORY World
ILLUSTRATIONS 250 black-and-white photographs






Robert Hallmann was born in 1935. Ten years later, millions had died, and Europe lay in ruins, ending the ‘Thousand-Year Reich’. Born in Westphalia, Hallmann knew little but war. In 1945, Hallmann was ten when the American Third Army set fire to the village. He trained as compositor at a print works in the nearest town and in 1955, took a job in Holland and then in Wales. A spell in Hertfordshire followed and Dublin, and in 1960, he joined an advertising agency in Mayfair, London, as a typographer and designer.