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.