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Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-41

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4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  3,466 Ratings  ·  198 Reviews
CBS radio broadcaster William L. Shirer was virtually unknown in 1940 when he decided there might be a book in the diary he had kept in Europe during the 1930s--specifically those sections dealing with the collapse of the European democracies and the rise of Nazi Germany. Shirer was virtually the only correspondent able to report on the startling events from 1934-1940 and ...more
Audio Cassette, Unabridged Library Edition, 12 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Blackstone Audiobooks (first published January 1941)
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Lilo
Aug 06, 2014 Lilo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone interested in the reality of the Third Reich
This book, a diary written by William L. Shirer (who later wrote “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”), takes you into Europe of the 1930s (more precisely, the time span from 1934 to 1941) and tells you about the day-to-day life of a foreign correspondent stationed in Berlin. Shirer’s diary is also a first-hand report of how Hitler and his henchmen kept deceiving the German public with propaganda and outright lies, this being simplified by having full control over the press, which also require ...more
Mara
A Personal Preamble
Reading William L. Shirer 's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich rocked my world. At the time, I wasn't much into reading historical tomes, and it swept me away by its sheer scope in addition to the material covered. When I read Eric Larson's In the Garden of Beasts a few months later, it seemed to be a sort of on-the-ground companion narrative of what life was like in Berlin during Hitler's ascent to power, and that was the end of my WWII erudition for a while. That
...more
David Gustafson
Oct 25, 2016 David Gustafson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as I was finishing Neil MacGregor's engaging, "Germany: Memories of a Nation," a little voice reminded me that it was about time for a reread of William Shirer's classic, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich," while another voice immediately scolded me for not having read his "Berlin Diary 1934-1941."

Maybe I should read that one first? When it arrived two days later, I placed it aside on my drawing table since I have way too many projects on my plate at the moment, but what harm will just
...more
Elizabeth
Sep 09, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in the buildup of WWII
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Shannon Norton and Dale Churchett
This was a splendid book and not like anything I've read before, and I've read a lot of WWII stuff (both fiction and nf). Mr. Shirer knew at the time that things were afoot in Europe, where he'd been living and working since the age of 21, and he wrote his diary with the thought that it would be published--in other words, this is not the personal diary of someone musing about what they had for breakfast that day, and it's published b/c the person or some event in it became momentous later on. Th ...more
Lilo
Jun 08, 2014 Lilo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone interested in the reality of the Third Reich
This book, a diary written by William L. Shirer (who later wrote “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”), takes you into Europe of the 1930s (more precisely, the time span from 1934 to 1941) and tells you about the day-to-day life of a foreign correspondent stationed in Berlin. Shirer’s diary is also a first-hand report of how Hitler and his henchmen kept deceiving the German public with propaganda and outright lies, this being simplified by having full control over the press, which also require ...more
Mahlon
Nov 20, 2012 Mahlon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2013
As a European correspondent(first for a wire service, and later for CBS) stationed in Berlin from 34-40, Shirer was uniquely placed to comment on every major event of the early stages of WWII as they unfolded. Luckily for us, he kept a diary. In addition to reporting on war news he also provides keen insights into the psyche of both the Nazi leadership, and the regular German citizen.

Reading this book felt a little like watching WWII on CNN with Breaking News every other page. this book had a mu
...more
Owen
Jul 14, 2012 Owen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ww2, berlin, non-fiction
"Berlin Diary" is one of the more unusual documents to come out of World War II. First published in 1941, not long after America's entry into the war, it acted as a crucial means of informing the American public of the state of affairs in Germany up until the start of the war. Shirer spent the years from 1934 to 1940 in Europe as a foreign correspondent, and was mostly posted in Berlin during that time. As such, he witnessed the rise of Nazi fanaticism from a privileged position, often being giv ...more
Brendan Lyons
Jun 30, 2012 Brendan Lyons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William L. Shirer wrote the classic "Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" based on his experiences as a foreign correspondent and his later exhaustive researches among the captured documents of the fallen regime. This book is his personal diary written during prewar working assignments in Vienna and Berlin and comprises many of the opinions that he was forbidden or unable to publish at the time and they make fascinating reading. Shirer is a prescient observer possessed of a sharp independent mind ( ...more
Derotha Ann
Oct 14, 2013 Derotha Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I just picked this one up from the many many books in the house. . . William Shirer is a bit blunt with his assessment of the German population, implying that they lacked the perception to be able to assess a truly human gauge for morality. By today's standards, this may in itself be considered a racist assessment. This book was written before the real atrocities were known, but even so, the signs of genocide were there: the request for lists of psychiatric patients, the monitoring of public hos ...more
David
May 17, 2013 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the gold standard for documenting how a society can succumb to the evils of a dictator. The writer's style stayed true to the diary as he had written it down at great risk to himself in Nazi-held countries. It starts slowly and by almost unnoticeable steps until people start to wonder how they got there. It is the same pattern we see many times except often people in a society do not seem to recognize it and are OK to surrender seemingly minor rights. As with Hitler and the Nazis, one of ...more
Mark Desetti
Dec 07, 2013 Mark Desetti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting reading. I only wish I had read this concurrent with The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. This would have provided a really comprehensive look at these years. Having read both of Shirer's books as well as Klemperer's I Will Bear Witness (1933-1941), I really feel i'm getting a good sense of life in Nazi Germany up to the point where the US enters the war. For anyone interested in this time period and how these atrocities could apparently be accepted by the German people, i woul ...more
April 'Stacy'
Jan 09, 2016 April 'Stacy' rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
The author gives first account of Germany leading into WWII and the first years of being at war with England. He also writes about things that he saw and the rumors that he heard as he was a journalist in Berlin. He was around for the invasion of Poland, Holland, Belgium and France. He was able to see first hand the damage and also hear the propaganda of the Nazi's excuses.

William Shirer was an American radio journalist living in Berlin and covering the Nazi leaders. He saw first hand the attitu
...more
Glen Chern
Oct 11, 2013 Glen Chern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Without question, William Shirer's Berlin Diary provides a remarkable look inside the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany during the period of 1934-40. His descriptions of the people of Germany as well as the conditions they were forced to live under during this period are surpassed only by the horrific images of the devastation brought about by Hitler's thirst for domination of the European continent. This is a must read for history buffs.
Erik Graff
Apr 13, 2010 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Shirer fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: history
I don't know how much Shirer worked over his notes for this instant history of the Nazi rise to power during his years as a correspondent in Germany, but it was not enough to make this book at all comparable to his excellent The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich or his three-volume autobiography.
Grig O'
Feb 19, 2017 Grig O' rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I'm at two minds about not having read this as a kid, or I surely would've become a foreign correspondent. It really sounds like the most exciting job. Then again the world today is a different place...

The diary feels like a beacon of reason and sensitivity in an island of brutality, so apt for those times as well as these. Shirer's account is always to the point and impressively perceptive, no extra fat in this book at all.

My only complaint is I wish Shirer had arrived in Berlin earlier and wri
...more
Jim
Mar 05, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: an interest in WWII history
Shirer begins by explaining that this work is not an actual diary but rather his notes made on a frequent, but not daily basis, from 1934 to 1940. How prescient for him to realize that he was living through an critical historical period. It is important to note that this is not your typical historical work. These are the notes of a journalist made in the present tense about his observations. some my quibble about the accuracy of those observation but it is important to remember that he was livin ...more
Lisasuej
May 08, 2014 Lisasuej rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: history nerds, fans of memoirs, those who try to understand fascism
Shelves: world-war-ii
This was one of the most fascinating books that I have ever read, which was totally unexpected. I have a slightly more than passing interest in the World War II time period, probably because of the sheer boredom I experienced in high school history. Imagine the wrong-headedness of forcing 16-year-old numbskulls to memorize battle dates and where the Beer Hall Putsch occurred. Of course I hated World War II history!

That being said, as an adult I have tried to wrap my head around how the German p
...more
Shawn Thrasher
Jul 21, 2013 Shawn Thrasher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shirer is one of the most famous foreign correspondents in the history of journalism, and a pioneer in radio. His diary of his years in Berlin during the height of Nazi power is quite interesting. It lent an immediacy to the beginnings of World War II, as you get the thoughts, feelings, emotions, gossip and rumors of Shirer, his fellow correspondents in Berlin, the German people, and Shirer's informants in the Nazi government who provided him sometimes juicy details about Hitler and his crew of ...more
Kelley
Jun 02, 2013 Kelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review
This journal is a fascinating view of Nazi Germany from an American journalist who lived there at the time of the start of World War 2. William Shirer had amazing insight into critical events of the time. He had top access to insiders in the country to know so much about what was happening in the country. It was particularly insightful since he seemed to understand what was really happening in the government even when the regular German citizen didn't know at the time. He also was able to presen ...more
Nance
Jan 02, 2014 Nance rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Berlin Diary is correspondent William Shirer's recording of the Nazi's rise to power, mostly from his post in Berlin (and elsewhere is Europe) from 1934 to December 1940. It is a fascinating telling of what it was like to live in Berlin during the early years of Hitler's rule and how Hitler simply usurped control of other countries while telling his citizens just the opposite - that Germany was defending itself from attack. Every German news report was manipulated to show the Nazi's in the m ...more
David Sandager
Mar 06, 2014 David Sandager rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Shirer's engaging first hand account of life in Nazi Germany leading up to and during the Second World War provided an interesting view of a world which we often times generalize and analyze in a retrospective manner. This first-hand account describes Germany and Europe in the throes of radical change and conflict, and in doing so transports the reader back into a most historic time. While the times accounted in the is work are bleak and very much under the shadow of the Nazi Regime, (Sh ...more
John Moonitz
Feb 29, 2012 John Moonitz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible and riveting diary of Shirer, a journalist living in Berlin during the rise of Hitler's Nazi Germany . . . It is fantastic reading these first hand impressions of events that have become so well known to me over the years! Another must-read for all history buffs!!
John
Aug 11, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Riveting...compelling...A grim reminder that evil has to be confronted and conquered. A great historical record.
Paula Dembeck
This large volume is the day to day account of William Shirer, an American news correspondent sent to Berlin Germany by the International News service to provide up to date news from a Europe that seemed headed for destruction. In this contemporaneous record, Shirer recorded the facts and his impressions of events as accurately as he could manage. Some of his notes were lost and some he burned, concerned that they would fall into the hands of the Gestapo. Some details he dared not write at the t ...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Monthly special on Kindle for October. Well worth a read.
Magnús Þór
Jan 22, 2017 Magnús Þór rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
William Shirer var blaðamaður og fréttaritari fyrir bandarískar útvarpsstöðvar, staðsettur að mestu í Þýskalandi á árunum 1934 til ársloka 1940. Þessi bók segir í dagbókarformi frá lífi hans og störfum á þessum tíma og hvernig hann skynjaði þá atburði sem gerðust í kringum hann. Shirer var gyðingur og harður andstæðingur nasismans og Hilter. Í þessari bók dregur hann enga fjöður yfir þá afstöðu sín. Berlínadagbók hans veitir einstaka innsýn inn í stjórnmál og þjóðfélagsaðstæður Þýskalands og Evr ...more
Alan W. Rudolph
Jan 11, 2017 Alan W. Rudolph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely worth a read for those interested in the inside view of Germany in the years prior to WWII (or worth a listen of the unabridged audio book, which is even better). But there are lots of reviews of Germany between the world wars and accounts of Hitler ascendant, so what makes it so interesting and different from other insights into Germany at that time? Because of Shirer's ability to see, capture, and describe how the Nazi party machine was able to prevent the German populace from seein ...more
Marla McMackin
Jul 22, 2012 Marla McMackin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-history
In Berlin Diary, journalist William Shirer shares his eyewitness accounts of the events leading up and into the earliest days of World War II in Europe. The entries were written while he worked as a newspaper reporter in Paris, and then radio broadcaster in Berlin. In the forward to the original 1941 edition, Shirer explains he had an idea they might one day be published, adding that the “only justification in my own mind was that chance, and the kind of job I had, appeared to be giving me a som ...more
Sophie
Jan 30, 2017 Sophie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1930s, ww2, mitteleuropa
Truly fascinating. I was interested particularly in Shirer's observations on how Hitler enthralled the masses, and on the effects of living with a media that lied continually. Published in 1941 but more than just a "period piece".
Jan
Oct 20, 2016 Jan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's refreshing to read a contemporary account of Hitler and Nazi Germany.

For example the brutality and crimes such as the extermination of mentally ill or the massacres in occupied Poland stand out as something that was very apparent to the German populace, but ignored.
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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, originally published by Simon
...more
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“Fascinating to watch the reactions of people suddenly seized by fear. Some can’t take it. They let themselves go to a point of hysteria, then in panic flee to—God knows where. Most take it, with various degrees of courage and coolness. In the lobby tonight: the newspapermen milling around trying to get telephone calls through the one lone operator. Jews excitedly trying to book on the last plane or train. The wildest rumours coming in with every new person that steps through the revolving door from outside, all of us gathering around to listen, believing or disbelieving according to our feelings.” 1 likes
“On the streets today gangs of Jews, with jeering storm troopers standing over them and taunting crowds around them, on their hands and knees scrubbing the Schuschnigg signs off the sidewalks. Many Jews killing themselves. All sorts of reports of Nazi sadism, and from the Austrians it surprises me. Jewish men and women made to clean latrines. Hundreds of them just picked at random off the streets to clean the toilets of the Nazi boys. The lucky ones get off with merely cleaning cars—the thousands of automobiles which have been stolen from the Jews” 1 likes
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