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

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  2,742 ratings  ·  156 reviews
A precurser to the author's best-selling The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich describes the harrowing Nazi rise to power in Germany during the second half of the 1930s and profiles Hitler's complex personality.
Hardcover, 626 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by BBS Publishing Corporation (first published January 1941)
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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
Aug 08, 2014 Lilo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone interested in the reality of the Third Reich
Shelves: history, 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
Aug 06, 2014 Lilo rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone interested in the reality of the Third Reich
Shelves: third-reich, history
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
Dec 10, 2008 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
Glen Chern
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 05, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
May 30, 2014 Lisasuej rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
Shawn Thrasher
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
Apr 11, 2013 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
David Sandager
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
Riveting...compelling...A grim reminder that evil has to be confronted and conquered. A great historical record.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Monthly special on Kindle for October. Well worth a read.
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
William Shirer was a US journalist living in Europe from 1932 to 1940. He lived in Paris, Vienna and Berlin and reported both for newspapers and later as a broadcast journalist for Edward R Murrow. I have read a number of books about Europe before WW II but have never had such a sense of immediacy and of the conditions of a coming war. As a journalist he attended nearly all the major speeches, was given access to certain sites and information, and also was willing to see what was happening in a ...more
Gerry Claes
What an interesting life William Shirer must have lived. He was right in the thick of things when Hitler was developing his war machine and planning the total domination of Europe. Shirer had access to many of the top Nazi officials and got to know some of them quite well.

This book covers the period from 1934 until the end of 1940. Since America was not yet in the war Shirer, as an American reporter, was given significant access to the inner workings of the German government. Shirer had to be to
1. Worth it just for the terrifying descriptions of early air travel.
2. Interesting to contrast it with Everyman Dies Alone by Hans Falada - Both men were present and they portray the Nazi Party more as a bunch of thugs rather than as totalitarian.
3. Shirer's portrayal of the German public is anti-war and skeptical of Hitler but with little if any empathy for their army's victims, and as favoring authoritarian solutions out of something akin to laziness - not wanting the burden of decision maki
Victor Carson
I enjoyed this famous diary, written by one of Edward R. Morrow's best known war correspondents, William L. Shirer, the CBS bureau chief in Berlin from 1934 until the end of 1940. The work covers all of the major events of that time period, from the overthrow of the Austrian government to the defeat of France and the bombing of the major cities of Britain.

Shirer's description of the primary Nazi, British, French, and Russian characters of that time is very revealing:

Edouard Daladier, the French
I found this a fascinating read. William Shirer was in the heart of Europe during the rise of Nazism and the first two years of the Second World War.

Despite knowing the history, knowing what happened, I was still caught up by the events he described in his diary. Day after day, week after week, month after month, Shirer catalogued the unstoppable Nazi war machine as Hitler turned his attention to one European country after another. Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Fran
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
I’ve done some reading up on World War II, but have never really spent much time studying the years leading up to the great war. After reading Shirer’s account, it seems unbelievable to me that Hitler got so far. In Berlin Diary you can see that it was painfully clear to Shirer what Germany was doing, and what it was all leading up to, and, in what Shirer describes as a “comedy of non-intervention”, the whole world just stood by and let it happen.

Shirer’s frustration shows as he reports on the
Nick Black
weird story: i lost my first copy of this book in either publix or a package store. i went back to the publix and was like, "do you have my book? it's a grey hardback named berlin diary." and they rummaged around and asked, "what'd you say it was?" "berlin diary," leaning over the counter like one approaches catfish aquaculture, establishing a physical presence. "no dust jacket. grey hardback."

"nah it's called private berlin."
"no i'm pretty sure it's called berlin diary. it's by william shi
This became unexpectedly fascinating after a slightly slow start. It evolves from a straight dairy into what we would now call a live blogging of the build up to the Second World War, through December 1940.

Shirer is a American foreign correspondent in Berlin. He gives a first hand perspective in real time as Hitler consolidates his political power and builds up builds Germany's military strength. He is in Vienna when Austria is annexed, on the scene when Poland is invaded, and given tours of th
Marla McMackin
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
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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 about William L. Shirer...
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany The Nightmare Years 1930-40 The Rise and Fall of Adolf Hitler The Collapse of the Third Republic Gandhi: A Memoir

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