William Lawrence Shirer (February 23, 1904 – December 28, 1993) was an American journalist, war correspondent, and historian, who wrote The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, a history of Nazi Germany read and cited in scholarly works for more than 50 years. Originally a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune, Shirer was the first reporter hired by Edward R. Murrow for what would become a team of journalists for CBS radio. Shirer became known for his broadcasts from Berlin, from the rise of the Nazi dictatorship through the first year of World War II. With Murrow, Shirer organized the first broadcast world news roundup, a format still followed by news broadcasts. Shirer's other books include Berlin Diary (published in 1941), The Collapse of the Third Republic which drew on his experience living and working in France from 1925 to 1933, and his three-volume autobiography, "Twentieth Century Journey."
Born in Chicago in 1904, Shirer attended Washington High School and Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He graduated from Coe in 1925. Working his way to Europe on a cattle boat to spend the summer there, he remained in Europe for 15 years.
He was European correspondent for the Chicago Tribune from 1925 to 1932, covering Europe, the Near East and India. In India he formed a friendship with Mohandas K. Gandhi. Shirer lived and worked in France for several years from 1925. He left in the early 1930s but returned frequently to Paris throughout the decade. He lived and worked in the Third Reich from 1934 to 1940.