Summary: Soldier X Erik Brandt is a 16 year old half Russian half German boy. He is in a program called Jungend which is also known as Hitler’s Children Army. It is like Boy Scouts for German Kids. They boys in the Jungend are also enlisted soldiers who have to fight when it is needed. One day Erik is sent to fight in the war. He is shipped to the eastern front where the Germans have to fight Russia on Russian soil. Erik is uncomfortable because he is half Russian and German.
He was aware of the things Germans were doing to Jews but he was convinced it was right and that Jews were preventing Germany’s world domination. While traveling to Russia he becomes acquainted with some other boys in his platoon named Oskar, Jakob, and Fassnacht. They get attacks by aircraft and very few of the Germans die but the boys are pretty scared. When they reach their destination they go into the trenches and prepare to fight.
Their commander explains the plan and teaches them how to use certain equipment like mines and grenades. When the first waves of Russians attack it is mainly infantry foot soldiers. The Germans win and Erik thinks it’s over and he is exhausted and tired. Then their commander says that was the easy one and tells them to prepare for tanks to start progressing. In the second wave the Germans start to drop and German hope looks lost. Erik is hit by a grenade and he is hurt. He is lying in pain in the bottom of a trench.
He meets a young nurse in the hospital named Tamara. They talk a lot and get to know each other very well. They eventually fall in love. The hospital is bombed one day and they must escape. They make a plan to go all the way to the United States. They are able to escape Russia and make it to America. While sneaking through Germany Erik loses his left arm when he gets shot. The American soldiers take care of him. He gets to America with Tamara and they start a family and live their lives there where Erik becomes a history teacher.