HY325: Retreat from Power: British Foreign and Defence Policy, 1931-68
Professor Matthew Jones
The period between the onset of the Manchurian Crisis of 1931 and the decision of the Wilson Government in 1968 to accelerate the withdrawal from East of Suez saw Britain’s position in the world transformed under the multiple pressures of economic decline, world war, nationalist opposition to colonial control, and the demands of Cold War confrontation with the Soviet Union and international communism more generally. This course examines how this change occurred by studying several central episodes in British foreign and defence policy. Its focus is predominantly on high-level policymaking in the diplomatic, military and economic realms, but it will all give attention to shifts in popular attitudes, parliamentary debates, the influence of electoral considerations, and the larger-scale transitions taking place in the international system. In common with other Level 3 courses, it will include study and discussion of primary sources throughout. Specific topics include the Italian invasion of Ethiopia; the Munich Agreement of 1938 and appeasement; British strategy in the Second World War; Anglo-Soviet relations in the Second World War; the formation of NATO; the Korean War; the Malayan emergency; Suez crisis; the first application to join the EEC; and the withdrawal from East of Suez in the 1960s.
HY 448: 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
This course takes as a prime focus the nuclear policies pursued by some of the major powers in the international system from the initial use of nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. It introduces and explores three main themes: how the advent of nuclear weapons came to influence national strategies and crisis behaviour; why the development of nuclear weapons and their delivery systems fuelled an arms race that became one of the defining features of the Cold War; and how major powers have attempted to curb the testing of such weapons, the numbers contained in their arsenals, and their spread, through measures of arms control and non-proliferation. After examining the controversy over the atomic bombing of Japan in 1945, including the moral and ethical questions raised by nuclear use, the course includes consideration of some of the most important moments in post-war nuclear history – the course is not designed or intended to be a potted history of the Cold War, but rather looks at the influence and role of nuclear weapons (and the strategic thinking that accompanied their development). The impact of international public opinion is also covered – especially the nuclear test ban movement - and attention given to the Chinese, British and French national nuclear programmes, as well as those of the Soviet Union and United States. The last portion of the course offers close analysis of the international negotiations over arms control and non-proliferation that have featured since the late 1960s. Throughout the course students will engage with contemporary writings and study primary source documents which will accompany each topic.