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, a commission which will lead to the publication of a two volume official history exploring British nuclear policy between 1962 and 1982. 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. His most recent book, 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 current project on UK nuclear weapons policy in the 1960s and 1970s has taken him into many areas of the international history of the period, including US-Soviet relations, the development of NATO strategy, and strategic arms control.
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.
Watch Professor Matthew Jones
, Research Committee Chair, talk about our department and its PhD degree:
- Why should students study at LSE?
- What are the benefits of studying in London?
- What skills does a history research degree provide students with?
- What opportunities are open to history graduates?
- Why did you want to study history?
Interview recorded in 2013/2014.
Professor Matthew Jones teaches the following courses:
At undergraduate level:
HY116: International History since 1890 (jointly with other faculty members)
HY325: Retreat from Power: British Foreign and Defence Policy, 1931-1968
At Masters 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:
Provisional Thesis Title
Britain, Arms Control, and Transatlantic Relations, 1981-87
British Intelligence and Defence Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare, 1944-1963
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. Further information on Margaret Gowing can be found here.
An audio recording of the day’s proceedings can be found here.