Paul E. Zinner, a former UC Davis political science professor who was a leading scholar on the Cold War and its aftermath, died March 17 of congestive heart failure in San Francisco. He was 90.
Dr. Zinner, who taught at UC Davis for 30 years, was a widely recognized expert on Soviet and Eastern European affairs. He advised U.S. and European government officials and was quoted often in news stories on major events in East-West relations, including the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Fluent in German, French, Czech, Hungarian and Russian, he lectured in many countries and wrote extensively on international relations, foreign policy and democratic and communist political systems. From 1963 to 1977, he was a commentator on KQED in San Francisco on the weekly TV program "World Press."
Dr. Zinner retired in 1991 from UC Davis, where he was director of the International Relations Program from 1979 to 1985 and spent two years as political science chairman. He was a past chairman of the Academic Senate and Academic Council of the statewide University of California system.
Born in 1922 in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, Dr. Zinner spoke no English when he arrived in New York in 1940. He graduated magna cum laude from Tufts College in Massachusetts and served in the Army as an intelligence analyst for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.
He worked as an analyst for the U.S. State Department and earned a master's degree in regional studies and a doctorate in political science at Harvard University. He previously taught at Columbia University and was a visiting professor at the National War College in Washington and Freie Universität Berlin in Germany.
He is survived by his wife, Joan Zinner of San Francisco, and four children from a previous marriage to the late Myra Stone that ended in divorce: daughters, Judith Zinner and Victoria Rochester, both of Sacramento; and sons, William of Sacramento and John of Washington state. He also is survived by two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is set for 11 a.m. April 21 at St. Mary's Cathedral, 1111 Gough St., San Francisco.
© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.
Read more articles by Robert D. Dávila
What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com
Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)
Here are some rules of the road:
Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "Report Abuse" link to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.
Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.
Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.
Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand.
Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.
Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.
Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.
Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.
Don't flag other users' comments just because you don't agree with their point of view. Please only flag comments that violate these guidelines.
You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "Report Abuse" link to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at email@example.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.
If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them.