19 January, 2009
William Lawrence Shirer was an American journalist and historian. He became known for his broadcasts on CBS from the German capital of Berlin through the first year of World War II.
Shirer first became famous through his account of those years in his Berlin Diary (published in 1941), but his greatest achievement was his 1960 book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, published by The Ballantine Publishing Group. This book of well over 1000 pages is still in print, and is a detailed examination of the Third Reich filled with historical information from German archives captured at the end of the war, along with impressions Shirer gained during his days as a correspondent in Berlin. Later in 1969, his work The Collapse of the Third Republic drew on his experience spent living and working in France from 1925 to 1933. This work is filled with historical information about the Battle of France from the secret orders and reports of the French High Command and of the commanding generals of the field. Shirer also used the memoirs, journals, and diaries of the prominent British, French, Italian, Spanish, and French figures in government, Parliament, the Army, and diplomacy.
Shirer died in 1993 in Boston. He was 89.