Derek S. Zumbro


Dr. Derek S. Zumbro, instructor, focuses his teaching and research on the history of military conflict in the modern age. His classes include modern military leaders, American military history, the American Civil War, WWI, WWII, Nazi Germany and the French Revolution.

Zumbro is a former Navy Special Warfare (SEAL) officer who served numerous tours of duty and deployments in Europe, Central and South America and the Middle East. He uses his military experience to provide students with a broad historical perspective regarding recent and past conflicts.

His research, presentations, and writing throughout his academic career has focused on war as a human endeavor. His award-winning book, “The Battle for the Ruhr: The German Army’s Final Defeat in the West,” recounts the defeat of the German forces along the Lower Rhine Front in 1945. The monograph has received acclaim from numerous historians for providing a rare perspective in which the elements of the U.S. Army are observed as conquerors, rather than liberators. Through numerous interviews with German witnesses and participants, Zumbro was able to provide vivid accounts as experienced by senior German officers, regular soldiers and the civilian inhabitants of the Ruhr area as the U.S. Army entered the defeated country. 

Zumbro, whose interviews and translations of German battle accounts have been used in books and televised documentaries, was editor and translator of the best-selling book, “In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier’s Memoir of the Eastern Front,” which is the memoir of Gottlob Herbert Bidermann. Bidermann was a German infantry officer who was wounded seven times during four years of service on the Eastern Front and survived three years as a prisoner of war in Stalin’s labor camps, finally being released from Soviet captivity in 1948. Currently, Zumbro is working on a book project that chronicles the political, cultural and military history of the city of Nuremberg from the end of the WWI through the post-WWII Nuremberg Trials. 

Degrees & Institutions:

He received a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, with a minor in history, and a master’s degree in European history from University of Southern Mississippi.  He earned a doctorate from Louisiana State University, during which he also studied and conducted research at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.


Nuremberg during the Third Reich 1933 - 1946

Classes Taught: 

Western Perspectives II, The First World War, Nazi Germany, The Second World War, Modern Military Leaders, American Military History, The French Revolution. Graduate Seminars: Modern Military Leaders, The Second World War

Special Interests:

Europe Since 1500, Modern Germany, Military History


    Battle for the Ruhr: The German Army's Final Defeat in the West. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2006 (Main Selection of the Military Book Club; Alternate Selection of the History Book Club).

    In Deadly Combat: A German Soldier's Memoir of the Eastern Front. Translated/Edited by Derek S. Zumbro. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001 (Main Selection of the History Book Club; Alternate Selection of the Military Book Club).

    Awards and Honors:

    Military Awards/Citations

    United Nations Peace-Keeping Medal, 1986

    LSU Studies Abroad Exchange Scholarship (University of Heidelberg), 2001 - 2002

    Miller Prize for Outstanding Dissertation (Louisiana State University), 2006


    American Historical Association

    Organization of American Historians

    Omohundro Institute for American History and Culture

    Society for Historians of the Early American Republic

Keywords: military history, The Battle for the Ruhr, Gottlob Herbert Bidermann, war as human endeavor