William J. Spahr

William Joseph Spahr (June 28, 1921 – June 13, 2011) was a prominent American Central Intelligence Agency analyst, author, and retired Army colonel who was an authority on Soviet military policy.


Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Spahr graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1943 with a BS in civil engineering. In 1953 he graduated from Columbia University with a master's degree in political science, and graduated from the National War College in 1964; in 1973 George Washington University awarded him a doctorate in international relations.[1]

He spent 26 years in the U.S. Army and served in Europe during World War II. Following the war he joined the CIA and in 1983 was the CIA's delegate at the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks,[2] acting as part of the delegation led by Edward Rowny.[3]

He was married and had three children.[2]


Spahr earned the Bronze Star Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the CIA Career Intelligence Medal.[2]


Spahr authored two books on World War II military leaders of the Soviet Union.[2]

  • Zhukov: The Rise and Fall of a Great Captain (1993)[4][5][6]
  • Stalin’s Lieutenants: A Study of Command Under Duress (1997)[7][8]


  1. ^ "William J. Spahr biography". Parameters: The Journal of the Army War College. U.S. Army War College. II (2): 51. 1972. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituaries: William J. Spahr, Army colonel, CIA analyst". The Washington Post. June 17, 2011. Archived from the original on 2020-12-08. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  3. ^ "Arms Control and Disarmament Agency". Slate. United States Department of State (252): 53. January 1983. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
  4. ^ O'Rourke, J. J. (1997). "When Titans Clashed: How the Red Army Stopped Hitler / Zhukov: The Rise and Fall of a Great Captain". Naval War College Review. 50 (1): 162–164. ProQuest 34989.
  5. ^ King, Curtis S. (March 1994). "Book Reviews". Assembly. LII (4): 57. ISSN 1041-2581.
  6. ^ Chaney, Otto P. (March 1994). "Book Reviews". Military Review. 74 (3): 75–76. ISSN 0026-4148.
  7. ^ Herspring, Dale R.; Kelley, Lawrence G. (1999). "Book reviews". The Journal of Slavic Military Studies. 12 (2): 251–256. doi:10.1080/13518049908430398.
  8. ^ Eddy, George G. (May–August 1998). "Book Reviews". Infantry. 88 (2): 49–50. ISSN 0019-9532.

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