Professor Matthew Jones

Professor Matthew Jones

Professor, Head of Department

Department of International History

Telephone
+44 (0)20 7852 3791
Extension
3791
Room No
SAR.3.09

About me

Professor Jones studied for his undergraduate degree at the University of Sussex, and went on to St Antony’s College, Oxford, where he gained his DPhil in Modern History. He was appointed to a Lectureship in the History Department at Royal Holloway, University of London in 1994, and subsequently promoted to Reader in International History before moving to the University of Nottingham in 2004 where he was Professor of Modern History. In 2008, Professor Jones was appointed by the Prime Minister to become the Cabinet Office official historian of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent and the Chevaline programme. He joined LSE in September 2013 as Professor of International History.

As reflected in his articles and books, Professor Jones’s interests span many aspects of the history of British and American foreign and defence policy in the twentieth century, as well as the Cold War more generally. He also has a long standing specific interest in the end of empire in South East Asia. His first book was Britain, the United States and the Mediterranean War, 1942-44 (Macmillan, 1996), which examined the strains brought to the Anglo-American relationship by strategic issues and command problems in the Mediterranean theatre, as well as disputes over civil affairs and the ‘politics of liberation’ as the Allied forces moved through North Africa, Sicily, and Italy, and approached the Balkans. For his next book, Conflict and Confrontation in South East Asia, 1961-1965: Britain, the United States, Indonesia, and the Creation of Malaysia (Cambridge University Press, 2002), he looked at the process by which the federation of Malaysia was created as British decolonization gathered pace in the 1960s, the way this helped to trigger conflict with Indonesia, and the attitude of the United States toward these events as its own involvement in the region deepened. After Hiroshima: The United States, Race, and Nuclear Weapons in Asia, 1945-1965, published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press, looked at the development of US nuclear strategy in Asia in the period marked by the Korean War, confrontation with China, and the early phases of US engagement in Vietnam, placing a special emphasis on the influence of the widespread perception that the atomic bomb was a ‘white man’s weapon’ and the diplomatic and military dilemmas this helped create.

His two most recent books, published in 2017, arise from his appointment as an official historian by the Cabinet Office: The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent. Volume I: From the V-Bomber Era to the Arrival of Polaris, 1945-64 and The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent. Volume II: The Labour Government and the Polaris Programme, 1964-70, both published by Routledge in 2017. This large-scale project on UK nuclear weapons policy has taken him into many aspects of post-1945 international history, including US-Soviet relations, the development of NATO strategy, and strategic arms control.  Professor Jones is continuing work, now under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence, toward a third and concluding volume of the official history series on the UK strategic nuclear deterrent which will cover the period between 1970 and 1982.  He is also co-writing a book with Professor Kevin Ruane of Christ Church Canterbury University on British policy and Anglo-American relations during the Indochina crisis of 1954.

Professor Jones has been the recipient of grants and awards from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the British Academy, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Eccles Centre for North American Studies at the British Library.

Other titles: Head of Department

Watch Professor Matthew Jones talk about the PhD in International History.

Expertise

Post-Second World War British Foreign and Defence Policy; Cold War Nuclear History; Vietnam War; British Decolonization and South East Asia; Post-1941 US Foreign Relations; Anglo-American Relations

Teaching & supervision

Professor Matthew Jones usually teaches the following courses:

At undergraduate level:

HY116: International History since 1890 (taught jointly with other faculty members)

HY325: Retreat from Power: British Foreign and Defence Policy, 1931-1968 (not running in 2017-18)

At postgraduate level:

HY448: Living with the Bomb: An International History of Nuclear Weapons and the Arms Race from the Second World War to the End of the Cold War

Professor Matthew Jones also supervises the following students:

 Research student  Provisional thesis title
 Oliver Barton  Britain, Arms Control, and Transatlantic Relations, 1981-87
 William King  British Intelligence and Defence Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare, 1944-1963

Publications

2017

 

2016

 

2015

 

2013

 

2011

 

2010

 

2008

 

2007

 

2005

 

2004

 

2003

 

2002

 

2001

 

2000

 

1999

 

1997

 

1996

Books

 MatthewJonesOfficialHistoryUKNuclear1 The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: Volume I: From the V-Bomber Era to the Arrival of Polaris, 1945-1964 (2017) 
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 MatthewJonesOfficialHistoryUKNuclear2

The Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: Volume II: The Labour Government and the Polaris Programme, 1964-1970 (2017) 
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 MatthewJonesAfterHiroshima After Hiroshima: The United States, Race and Nuclear Weapons in Asia, 1945-1965 (2010)
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 MatthewJonesConflictConfrontation Conflict and Confrontation in South East Asia, 1961-1965: Britain, the United States, Indonesia and the Creation of Malaysia (2002)
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 MatthewJonesBritainUSMediterraneanWar Britain, the United States, and the Mediterranean War, 1942-44 (1996)
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News & media

2017


Head of Department

Professor Matthew Jones succeeded Professor Janet Hartley as new Head of Department on 1 August 2017.

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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.

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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.

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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.


2016


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.

MatthewJonesGowingEvent

Listen to an audio recording of the day’s proceedings.

My research