Journalist William Shirer helped pioneer the rise of broadcast journalism in the late 1930s. A foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and the Universal News Service, he was in Vienna when CBS’s Edward R. Murrow hired him in 1937. War was threatening across Europe, and when Hitler seized Austria in the Anschluss of March 1938, Shirer—the first of “the Murrow Boys”—broadcast the events as they happened. The great era of broadcast news was soon launched as CBS began producing a thirty-minute European radio round-up from Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Rome, and London.
In addition to his broadcasting, Shirer wrote vivid accounts of history-in-the-making. He kept a journal detailing the coming of war and in 1941 published Berlin Diary: The Journal of a Foreign Correspondent, 1934–1941. His major study of Hitler’s rise was published in 1960 and became a phenomenal best-seller. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich is still ranked as one of the highest-selling nonfiction books of all time.