Short Bio


After a 21-year career as an infantry officer in the Army, Fred Zilian was an educator at Portsmouth Abbey School, 1992-2015, where he taught history, ethics, and German. He was an adjunct professor (history and politics) at Salve Regina University, 2016-2022. He now lectures on a wide variety of subjects and offers tours of Newport and of the Battle of Rhode Island (1778).

Zilian holds a Ph.D. in international relations/strategic studies from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of numerous articles, essays, and book reviews on history, American society, Germany, religion, music, education, climate change, and globalization in numerous publications from the Wall Street Journal to the Newport Daily News.

He has also published a book: From Confrontation to Cooperation: The Takeover of the National People’s (East German) Army by the Bundeswehr. For 20 years he performed as Abraham Lincoln in his one-man play, “Honest Abe.”

He writes for The Hill ( ), the History News Network ( ), and the Online Review of Rhode Island History ( ). He blogs on a wide variety of subjects at . He is writing a book on “The Citizen and the Challenge of American Civilization.”


  • Ph.D. (International Relations — Strategic Studies), Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 1996.
  • M.A. (with highest distinction) (National Security and Strategic Studies) Naval War College, 1985.
  • M.A. (International Affairs), Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 1977.
  • B.S., U.S. Military Academy, 1970.
  • *Fluent in German

Follow me on Twitter @FredZilian.

Contact:; © 401.714.4667

5 Responses to Short Bio

  1. Peter McCall says:

    Enjoyed reading the update on Germany. I did not realize that the east was still so far behind their west counterparts in so many ways. Good information.

    On the ABC This Week show this past Sunday, a discussion occurred around the US economy and how we have lost much of our manufacturing infrastructure with conjecture whether we could regain (and maintain) it for future growth. A comment was made that Germany has been successful in their manufacturing sector because they have put a strategy in place to let the cheap manufactured items go the way of competition but fight hard to retain the “high end” goods. It was positioned as an example that the US should possibly consider. Your statistics on the GDP and leadership in among the European countries, seems to me to support that theory.

    Thanks for the very good article and commentary.

    • Fred Zilian says:

      Dear Pete,

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my essay. Yes, I wonder also if Germany’s model might be useful for us. Many types of manufactured goods we should not be concerned about. But with the high end goods we have traditionally had an edge in producing–high tech stuff, airplanes, heavy equipment?–we should strive to maintain our leadership. A big question would be the role that government should play to support such a strategy.

      Thanks again,

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