After a 21-year career as an infantry officer in the Army, Fred Zilian was an educator for 23 years at Portsmouth Abbey School, where he taught history, ethics, and German.  He served as the History Department Chair, Dean of Faculty, and Assistant Headmaster for Student Services. He also coached numerous sports and served as the advisor to the Model United Nations Program. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at Salve Regina University, Newport, RI, where he teaches history and politics. He is a contributing editor for The History News Network, an opinion contributor for The Hill, and a regular columnist for the Newport Daily News (RI) .

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, domestic politics, international affairs, Germany, Europe, religion, music, education, climate change, race, globalization, civilization, slavery in America, and the Civil War in publications, including the Wall Street Journal, The Hill (online), Orbis, the Christian Science Monitor, the History News Network (online), Independent School Magazine, Education Week, Army Times, Defense News, the Providence JournalEco-RI News (online) and 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. He blogs with historical, social, cultural, and political commentary at www.zilianblog.com.


  • 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: zilianf@aol.com; © 401.714.4667

5 Responses to About

  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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