Hello there, I am Rob Schäfer, I am a military historian, published author and researcher, specialising in the experience of the German soldier in war and peacetime, with a particular focus on the ego-documents, i.e. autobiographies, diaries and letters, he left behind. I am particularly interested in the human experience of war in the modern period. Some know me as the creator, creative soul and former historical editor of Iron Cross Magazine, some will know me from twitter as @germilhistory. Or you might have come across one of my books, or some of the many features I write for specialist magazines world-wide. I also do quite a bit of TV and media work, although mostly behind and not in front of the camera.
What is The Iron Time?
Like no other country in Europe, Germany’s experience has been shaped and defined by the sword. In the 18th century, Prussia became a super power through force of arms, its army admired and emulated around the world. A century later, in 1871, a Germany united by a series of wars, was born in the flames of another. In the 20th century, this new Germany, in a period of only 30 years, challenged and shook the world twice in two terrible wars which defined the 20th century and the world we live in today. In the last three centuries, German troops have fought against and alongside the forces of most major powers in Europe and beyond. The history of Germany is military history written in capital letters. The Iron Time illuminates the German experience of war, the stories and anecdotes, the equipment, innovations and (of course) people in an unvarnished, objective, exciting manner and, filling a void which has long existed in the world of military history publishing. Mind you, The Iron Time will deliver no awestruck, mindless appreciation of the German Army. It will not shy away from discussing the darker side of the subject matter, the Second World War and the crimes of Nazi Germany and the active involvement and complicity of all branches of the German armed forces in the criminal efforts and deeds of the national socialist regime.
With The Iron Time, I am finally free to write and publish without the constraints defined by purely profit-driven goals and I am able to extend the historical period covered, beyond that of the First and the Second World Wars. In addition to brand-new content, I will be able to republish features, which I have written for other periodicals (my own included), in unedited, unabridged, full-length form. Quality over quantity!
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What am I signing up for?
Every week you’ll receive at least one email. It might be a short essay, a book review, notes on a museum exhibition, thoughts about history in the news, a piece of historical research or even a shorter or longer historical story.
Do I have to pay a subscription fee?
Only if you want to support the Iron Time. I understand times aren’t the easiest. I will supply free content every week for readers who just want to check in now and again.
That said, the aim is to turn The Iron Time into a lively history community, for those who want to get more involved there’s the option to pay a small monthly fee for exclusive, extra content, including features written by guest authors, access to so-far unpublished and exclusively translated military memoirs and autobiographies. There will be exclusive extracts from my books, interviews with veterans, competitions to win signed books from me and other historians, and even original German militaria, and much more.
I charge $6 a month (or $60 a year) for that level of access and should you be after a truly VIP experience, you can opt for Gold Card membership. If you do that, I will send you a dedicated copy of every book I write while you’re a member, plus a dedicated copy of my latest published book [at the moment that is Blood, Dust and Snow: Diaries of a Panzer Commander in Germany and on the Eastern Front, which was published by Greenhill Books (UK) on 30 November 2022].
What do I do now?
Subscribe at the level that suits you best! And please spread the word. Substack is about community, and history is about discussion and debate. The more of us there are, the more powerful we become. And the more fun we’ll have.
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