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The late William Shirer (1904-1993) was one of the most historically important journalists of the 20th century. Educated in several foreign languages, including German, he rose up the ranks of distinguished foreign journalists. Based in Europe during the 1930s, including Paris and Vienna, Shirer enjoyed a unique vantage point from which to observe and report on diplomatic developments during the rise of Adolf Hitler and the reemergence of Germany as a major actor on the world stage. He remained in Europe throughout the war that followed Hitler's rise to power, and his seminal history of the period, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, has remained a standard for students studying this tumultuous period in world history. While The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich would remain Shirer's most important testament to the Second World War, of equal importance for the study of European history during the period leading up to the war was his publication of Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent 1934-1941, which provided the more valuable "insider" glimpse into the events that led to the war. The Rise and Fall remains an invaluable history of the Second World War, but Berlin Diaries is exactly that: Shirer's journal entries recorded contemporaneously with the events he witnessed. As such it constitutes an important contribution to the study of the history of the most destructive conflict in human history. Shirer's training and experience as a foreign correspondent prove to be of incalculable importance to his success in attaining interviews with key officials in Germany, London and Paris.
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