Book talks in the US
On 9 April, Professor Matthew Jones gave a talk to the Non-proliferation forum at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington DC on his work for the official history of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent; he also lectured on the same theme at an in-house colloquium held on 11 April at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
Discussion at Royal United Services Institute
On 15 March 2018, Professor Matthew Jones spoke at the Royal United Services Institute on the subject of his recently published two volumes dealing with the history of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent, 1945-70. His talk focused on the strategic, political and diplomatic considerations that compelled British governments, in the face of ever-increasing pressures on the defence budget, to persist in their efforts to develop nuclear weapons and to deploy a credible nuclear force, as the age of the manned bomber gave way to the ballistic missile. Read more about the event in the RUSI's website.
Head of Department
Professor Matthew Jones succeeded Professor Janet Hartley as new Head of Department on 1 August 2017.
Presentations at AWE
Professor Matthew Jones gave two presentations on 10 July at the research institute, Atomic Weapons Establishment.
- From the V-bomber era to Polaris: perspectives on the strategic nuclear deterrent, 1945-1970
- From Super Antelope to Chevaline: The origins and development of the Polaris improvement programme
He spoke about the history of Britain’s nuclear deterrent with insights and reflections on some of the key issues that arise when studying the development of British strategic nuclear policy in the early post-war era.
The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent out now
Professor Matthew Jones's newest books, The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, Volume I: From the V-Bomber Era to the Arrival of Polaris, 1945-1964, and Volume II: The Labour Government and the Polaris Programme, 1964-1970 were released by Routledge this month. Written with full access to the UK documentary record, Volume I of The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent examines how British governments after 1945 tried to build and then maintain an independent, nationally controlled strategic capability, and the debates this provoked in official circles. Volume II examines the controversies that developed over nuclear policy following the arrival in office of a Labour government led by Harold Wilson in October 1964 that openly questioned the independence of the deterrent. The volume concludes with Labour’s defeat at the general election of June 1970, by which time the Royal Navy had assumed the nuclear deterrent role from the RAF, and plans had already been formulated for a UK project to improve Polaris which could both ensure its continuing credibility and rejuvenate the Anglo-American nuclear relationship. Both volumes are of much interest to students of British politics, Cold War history, nuclear proliferation and international relations. Order Volume I and Volume II on Amazon UK.
Professor Matthew Jones invited to give talks in Brazil on latest research
Professor Matthew Jones delivered invited talks in Brazil on his recent work on British nuclear history. He was at the Centre for International Relations of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, Sao Paulo, on 4 April, and at the Brazilian Naval Academy, Rio de Janeiro, on 7 April. Professor Jones's forthcoming books, The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent, Volume I: From the V-Bomber Era to the Arrival of Polaris, 1945-1964, and Volume II: The Labour Government and the Polaris Programme, 1964-1970 will be released by Routledge in May 2017. Written with full access to the UK documentary record, both volumes are of much interest to students of British politics, Cold War history, nuclear proliferation and international relations.
Professor Matthew Jones contributes to "Margaret Gowing and British Nuclear History"
On Monday, 5 December, LSE IDEAS and the Department of International History hosted a one-day international conference, involving academics, students, and former government officials, on the life and work of Professor Margaret Gowing.
Margaret Gowing studied at LSE between 1938 and 1941. She went on later to become the doyenne of British nuclear history and was appointed the first Professor of the History of Science at the University of Oxford in 1973. Her election to the British Academy in 1975, and 13 years later to the Royal Society, recognised equally the quality and the breadth of her work which contributed to both the history of the British ‘warfare state’ and the history of science. At the conference, talks were presented by Professor Mick Cox and Sue Donnelly, the LSE Archivist, on Gowing’s years at the School and her early work at the Cabinet Office on the official histories of the Second World War on the home front. Professor Matthew Jones of the Department of International History presented on Gowing’s official history work after 1959 at the UK Atomic Energy Authority where in 1964 she produced the pathbreaking Britain and Atomic Energy, 1939-1945, which became the authoritative and still unsurpassed study on the UK’s pioneering role in the early years of nuclear weapons development. Richard Moore from Kings College London then spoke on her subsequent volumes, Independence and Deterrence (1974), co-written with Lorna Arnold, which covered the years between 1945 and 1952, the year when Britain conducted its first nuclear test. Personal recollections of Gowing’s life were shared by her son, Nik, and other members of the family who attended, as well as Lord Stern from the LSE’s Grantham Institute. A roundtable of further reflections on her achievements included Lord Peter Hennessey, Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Professor David Edgerton, and Professor David Holloway of Stanford University. A notable feature of the conference, which was attended by about 60 people was the presence of 15 LSE Masters students from Professor Matthew Jones’s nuclear history course HY448: Living with the Bomb, bringing together current students with leading academics in the field and former officials from the policymaking world. Read more about Margaret Gowing.
Listen to an audio recording of the day’s proceedings.