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Dr. John Winston Spanier, Professor Emeritus, of the Department of Political Science at the University of Florida (1957-1996) died at his home Friday, August 12, 2016. He was 86.
Professor Spanier was born Joachim Wolfgang Spanier, in Bad Oyenhausen, Germany in 1930 to William Moritz and Elise Rosenberg Spanier. His youth was dominated by the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime. The privileged, carefree years of his childhood ended when, during his 6th birthday party in 1936, the Gestapo arrested his father and an uncle on suspicion of transporting funds illegally out of Germany. Following the release of his father, the family fled to the Netherlands in December, 1936 where they lived peacefully until the Nazi invasion May 10, 1940. While under curfew the family had a dramatic, narrow escape to England on the last boat to leave the port of Ymuiden before the Nazis seized control of the harbor two hours later. In England, the family along with other refuges, were interned on the Isle of Man where he celebrated his 10th birthday. The family then settled in Leicester for seven years where he received most of his high school education. Thus he grew up in England during what Churchill called its 'finest hour', fighting on alone after France's defeat and Germany's capture of much of Continental Europe. These childhood experiences had a profound impact and stoked what was to become a life-long fascination with issues of war and peace and provided the foundation for his academic career in international politics. He had enormous admiration for Churchill, and when he was naturalized in 1953, he substituted Winston for his birth name Wolfgang.
In 1947, the family immigrated to the United States and settled in Hartford, CT. Largely owing to the excellent education he had received in England, he won a scholarship to Harvard University where he received his BA cum laude (1952) and MA (1953) degrees. He took his Ph.D from Yale University in 1957. While at Harvard he was influenced by his senior-year tutor, Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, who encouraged his interest in military affairs and focused it on postwar American military strategy. His rewritten Ph.D thesis, published by Harvard University Press in 1959 as The Truman MacArthur Conflict and the Korean War, was selected during the Kennedy administration for the 2,000-volume official White House library and was translated into Chinese.
He authored or co-authored 8 books. American Foreign Policy Since World War Two and Games Nations Play were his best known and widely used college texts, the former lasting over 30 years and the latter over 20 years as single authored volumes. Both were translated into numerous languages including Japanese, Chinese, Polish and Spanish. Presently in its 20th edition with Steven Hook as co-author, American Foreign Policy Since World War II remains the longest running best seller in its field.
He was a frequent visiting professor of strategy at the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service Institute, the Naval War College, West Point, the various military service academies and colleges, and several civilian colleges.
He had a voracious appetite for reading, listening to classical music and Jaguar automobiles. Leisure time was spent traveling, cheering both the Dallas Cowboys and Florida Gators football teams and professional tennis. He was member of the University of Florida President's Council and the Southern Scholarship Foundation.
He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Suzanne Staples Spanier of Gainesville; son David William Spanier of Longwood FL; daughter Lisa Andrea Manis Vayle of Atlanta, GA, and two grandsons, Joshua and Jacob Vayle.
The family wishes to express their gratitude for the loving care provided by Dr. Li-Ming Su and the staff of Haven Hospice.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Haven Hospice E.T. York Center, Alachua County Humane Society, Southern Scholarship Foundation, or the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra.

Published in Gainesville Sun from Aug. 28 to Aug. 29, 2016
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