Past events


Below is a selection of past events hosted by the Department or featuring our academics at other LSE events. We make video and audio recordings available whenever possible. For a list of upcoming events, visit our main events page.



29-30 August 2019, Thursday and Friday, Vera Anstey Room, Old Building, LSE

Department of International History: Global Social History: Class and Social Transformation in World History

This workshop explored the ways in which a distinct social historical approach could open up new trajectories in global history.

See the full programme.


27-28 June 2019, Thursday and Friday, The National Archives and Lancaster House

Department of International History, The National Archives, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Historians, the University of Strathclyde and the British International History Group: Peace making after the First World War 1919 – 1923

Keynote Speakers: Professor David Stevenson (pictured, LSE International History) and Professor Michael Cox (LSE IDEAS).

To mark the centenary of the signature of the Treaty of Versailles, the aforementioned institutions organised a two-day conference on the peace making process after the First World War.

The conference focused on the Treaty of Versailles and on the other treaties that marked the formal end of hostilities: Saint-Germain (Austria), Neuilly (Bulgaria), Trianon (Hungary), Sèvres (Ottoman Empire) and Lausanne (Turkey). The first day of the conference was held at The National Archives and included a keynote lecture by Professor Michael Cox and an exhibition of The National Archives’ unique collection of certified copies of all the treaties, alongside a selection of other materials. The second day of the conference was hosted by Foreign & Commonwealth Office Historians at Lancaster House, and included a keynote lecture by Professor David Stevenson.


15 May 2019, Wednesday, 9:00-19:00, FAW.9.05, LSE

Department of International History and LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre: International, Transnational, and Global Histories of the Nicaraguan Revolution, 1977-1990

A one-day workshop where scholars discussed and debateed the international, transnational, and global dimensions of the Nicaraguan Revolution and its present-day legacies.

See the full programme

See images of the event


14 January to 17 April 2019, Library Gallery, LSE

Department of International History and LSE Library: Giving Peace a Chance: from the League of Nations to Greenham Common

Guest Curator: Professor David Stevenson

How was world peace sought in the 20th century? On the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the League of Nations, this exhibition explored some of the collections of LSE Library and the Women’s Library that help answer that question.

Wall Official History of Britain and the EC

26 March 2019, Tuesday, 18:30-20:00, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, LSE

Department of International History, LSE IDEAS and Foreign & Commonwealth office: Chronicle of a Brexit Foretold? Britain and Europe in the Thatcher Era, 1975-85

Speaker: Sir Stephen Wall, Professor Piers Ludlow (LSE International History) and Dr Lindsay Aqui (University of Cambridge)
Chair: Professor Tony Travers (LSE Government)

This event marked the launch of The Official History of Britain and the European Community, Volume III: The Tiger Unleashed, 1975-1985 (Routledge 2018) by Sir Stephen Wall. As the UK prepares to leave the European Union, this book is the story of the stresses, quarrels, compromises and ambitions between the United Kingdom and her European partners from the 1975 referendum, when the British people voted by a large majority to stay in the European Community, into the second term of Margaret Thatcher's premiership.

** Listen to the podcast **

See images of the event


19 March 2019, Tuesday, 18:30-20:00, 32L.G.03, LSE

Book Launch: The Global Interior: Mineral Frontiers and American Power

Speaker: Dr Megan Black
Commentators: Dr Kasia Paprocki (LSE Geography) and Professor Andrew Preston (University of Cambridge)
Chair: Dr Padraic X. Scanlan

When one thinks of the history of U.S. global expansion, the Department of the Interior rarely comes to mind. Its very name declares its narrow portfolio. Yet The Global Interior, Dr Megan Black’s new book, reveals that a government organ best known for managing domestic natural resources and operating national parks has constantly supported and projected American power--overseeing mineral pursuits in indigenous lands, formal territories, Third World nations, the continental shelf, and even outer space.

See images of the event

Anne Deighton

28 February 2019, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Old Theatre, LSE

Department of International History Annual Lecture: 'Breaking Up Is So Very Hard To Do’: Britain and the EU

Speaker: Professor Anne Deighton (University of Oxford)
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones

How are we to understand all the arguments surrounding the 2016 referendum? Where do we look for explanations, and how far back may we reach in this quest? Indeed, can the referendum and the subsequent ‘brexit’ negotiations be best understood through the lens of economics, politics - international and domestic, societal change, or legal procedures? It is now obvious that it is uncomfortable for mid-size powers to make proactive shifts in their international alignments. At the same time, it may be that the whole international system is undergoing its most profound challenge since World War II, and that Britain is just a part of this larger process. How can historians understand and make some sense of brexit while we are still ‘in the midst of events’?


25 February 2019, Monday, 13:00-14:15, Shaw Library, Old Building, LSE

LSE Festival: New World (Dis)Orders, International History Lecture: A New International Order? Peacemaking after the First World War

Speakers: Professor David Stevenson, Professor Michael Cox (LSE IDEAS) and Professor Annika Mombauer (Open University)
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones

A century after the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, this session reappraised the peace settlement that followed the First World War. This departmental event was part of the LSE Festival: New World (Dis)Orders which ran from Monday 25 February to Saturday 2 March 2019, with a series of events exploring how social science can tackle global problems.

** Listen to the podcast **

See images of the event

david edgerton image

4 February 2019, Monday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

Department of International History and Department of Geography and Environment: Innovation and the Nation: what can we learn from the history of the British case 1900-2000?

Speaker: Professor David Edgerton (King's College London)
Chair: Dr Murray Low (LSE Geography and Environment)

This lecture examined the evolution of thinking about innovation and its practice in the United Kingdom in the twentieth-century, dispelling many myths which still dominate policy discourse.


17 January 2019, Thursday, 18:30-20:00Hong Kong Theatre, LSE

Department of International History and LSE IDEAS: Thinking about the Commonwealth in the era of Brexit

Speaker: Professor Philip Murphy (University of London)
Chair: Dr Joanna Lewis

Professor Philip Murphy discussed his latest book The Empire's New Clothes: the Myth of the Commonwealth with Dr Joanna Lewis. The discussion considered how the Commonwealth and other legacies of Empire featured in the debate about Brexit and Britain’s broader place in the world, and reflected on the chances of the Commonwealth successfully adapting to the challenges of the 21st century.

** Listen to the podcast **

See images of the event





27 November 2018, Tuesday, 18:30-20:00, CLM.4.02, LSE.

Department of International History and German Historical Institute London: Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture: Translating Feminism in National and Transnational Space. A Biographical Perspective on Women’s Movements around 1900

Speaker: Gerda Henkel Visiting Professor Johanna Gehmacher (LSE International History)
Chair: Professor Piers Ludlow (LSE International History)

Political movements such as women’s movements around 1900 operated mostly in national arenas. The ideas and demands they propagated were, however, circulated (and transformed) transnationally. The talk took the example of Käthe Schirmacher (1865-1930), a Danzig-born political activist who travelled widely through Europe before the Great War to discuss how women’s movements could share their different political concepts.

** Watch the recording **

See images of the event


22 November 2018, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, 32L.G.03, LSE

Book Launch: The Blue Frontier: Maritime Vision and Power in the Qing Empire by Dr Ronald C. Po

Speaker: Dr Ronald C. Po (LSE International History)
Commentators: Professor Hans van de Ven (University of Cambridge) and Professor Leigh Jenco (LSE Government)
: Professor Matthew Jones (LSE International History)

Roundtable discussion of Dr Ronald C. Po's first book, The Blue Frontier. He analysed the careful thinking behind Qing policies, exploring how and why the maritime frontier was imbued with particular meanings that demanded sustained political attention.

See images of the event.

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

23 October 2018, Tuesday, 18:30-20:00, Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

Black History Month Event: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912): The Life of a Black British Composer

Speakers: Len Brown (film director and producer), Professor Chi-chi Nwanoku (Royal College of Music), Dr Imaobong Umoren (LSE International History), Dr Padraic X. Scanlan (LSE International History)
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones (LSE International History)

Film screening followed by roundtable discussion. This film  explores the remarkable life, music and political involvement of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, the classical composer, who was born to a father from Sierra Leone descended from African-American slaves, and who shot to fame in Edwardian England and the United States, only to die at the tragically young age of 37.

See images of the event


18 October 2018, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

Department of International History, Royal Economic Society and LSE IDEAS: Ten Years after the Global Financial Crisis: What Have We Learned and What Did We Forget?

Speakers: Professor Sir Charles Bean (LSE Economics), Lord O'Donnell (House of Lords), Professor Catherine Schenk (University of Oxford, pictured), Dame Minouce Shafik (LSE Director)
Professor Lord Nicholas Stern (LSE Economics)

This event explored the causes of the 2008 global financial crash and the responses of the major advanced economies, which drew on the lessons of the 1930s. A decade on from the crisis, the global financial system has yet to return to ‘normal’, with prolonged low interest rates posing a risk to its stability. We reflected on previous financial crises and the policy lessons we have learned  – and failed to learn – from them.

** Listen to the podcast **

See images of the event


9 October 2018, Tuesday, 18:45-20:00, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

The Paulsen Programme Launch Event: Russia in the World

Speakers: Professor Dominic Lieven (Cambridge University), Professor Alexander Semenov (National Research University-Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg) and Professor Janet Hartley (LSE International History)
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones (LSE International History)

This event launched the Paulsen Programme at LSE International History Department, which has been set up to allow historians in Russia to realise their full potential in their research and to enable them to make a powerful impact within the worldwide community of historians.

Read more about The Paulsen Programme, hosted by the Department of International History at LSE.

** Listen to the podcast and watch the live recording **

See images of the event


18 June 2018, Monday, 18:30-20:00, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, LG.04, LSE

Roundtable Discussion: British Influence in Brussels: Looking Back and Looking Forwards

Key Speaker: Professor Laurent Warlouzet (l’Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale)
Speakers: Sir Jonathan Faull (Brunswick Group) and Professor Piers Ludlow (LSE)
Chair: Dr David Motadel (LSE)

How influential were the British as members of the European Community/European Union?  And therefore how much influence are they set to lose by leaving the EU?  This roundtable looked back at the British role in Brussels during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and contended that the UK was actually much more successful in shaping the European system than is implied by its reputation as an ‘awkward partner’. Professor Laurent Warlouzet concentrated on British success in shaping the economic dimension of the integration process, Sir Jonathan Faull provided insights from his own past as a high-ranking official in the European Commission, and Professor Piers Ludlow explored the constructive side of British engagement with the EC/EU.


11 May 2018, Friday, 09:30-16:00, Vera Anstey Room, Old Building, LSE

Student-organised day long workshop: Integrating Gender into Historical Research: A Workshop for All  Historians

Key speaker: Professor Diana Paton (Edinburgh)
Participants: Dr Catherine Baker (Hull), Dr Dawn-Marie Gibson (RHUL), Dr Ben Griffin (Cambridge), Dr Tanya Harmer (LSE),
Professor Diana Jeater (Goldsmiths), Ms Katie McElvanney (QMUL) and Dr Imaobong Umoren (LSE)

Too often historians have treated gender as a separate topic, confining its study to the subfields of gender or women’s history. Research conducted in these fields is pioneering and plays an important role in challenging prevailing narratives and ensuring that through revision, women’s experiences and contributions are acknowledged in history. While it is necessary to have fields that primarily focus on gender in history, historians in all fields can benefit from actively considering gender as a constant factor and analytical lens in their research. For some historians, it seems often difficult to integrate women’s perspectives and issues into ‘traditional’ history due to, amongst others, archival records that favour men and unconscious biases that it was predominantly men that have shaped history. To that end, we hosted this workshop so that historians can learn how to use gender as an analytical tool in research.

This event, organised by PhD students Grace Carrington, Judith Jacob and Eline van Ommen, was generously supported by a fund from the LSE Department of International History's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

Slut Phobia Documentary

25 April 2018, Thursday, 16:00-18:00, NAB.1.04, LSE

Student-organised documentary screening and dicussion: Slutphobia: Feminist Documentary Screening

Screening of documentary "Slut Phobia" (Sletvrees 2013) by Sunny Bergman in which gender norms in sexuality and duality in female sexuality are explored. The screening was followed by a group discussion led by event organisers, MSc Student Laura Arts (International History) and MSc student Emily ter Steeg (International Relations).

This event was generously supported by a fund from the LSE Department of International History's Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.


20 March 2018, Tuesday, 18:30-20:00, Alumni Lecture Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Book talk: The Last Resort?  British Governments and the Use of Nuclear Weapons, 1945-1970

Speaker: Professor Matthew Jones
Chair: Professor David Stevenson

This talk was intended to mark the publication of the first two volumes of Professor Matthew Jones’s Official History of the UK Strategic Nuclear Deterrent (Routledge, 2017).  It took as its central concern one of the fundamental issues that lay at the heart of arguments over whether Britain should develop and then maintain its own strategic nuclear force under independent, national control: under what circumstances would a UK Government ever have ordered such a force to be used?  From this point of departure it examined the interplay in British nuclear policy between Cold War theories of deterrence, the tensions of the Western Alliance, national prestige, pressures on defence spending and party politics in post-war Britain.


19 March 2018, Monday, 18:00-20:00, 32L G.03, LSE

Book launch and public lecture: Colonial Captivity during the First World War: Internment and the Fall of the German Empire 1914-1919

Speaker: Dr Mahon Murphy (Kyoto University)
Comments: Dr William Mulligan (University College Dublin)
Chair: Professor David Stevenson

With the outbreak of war in 1914, British, French and Japanese forces uprooted and interned German civilians and soldiers in Germany’s African and Asian colonies. The Allied overthrow of Germany’s overseas colonies during the First World War challenged the structures that underpinned nineteenth century imperialism. Through his analysis of this internment and deportation Dr Murphy's new book Colonial Captivity during the First World War: Internment and the Fall of the German Empire 1914-1919 (Cambridge University Press, 2017) highlights the impact the First World War had on the notion of a common European "civilising mission" and the image of empire in the early twentieth century. Internment of Europeans in the colonial spheres of the war altered collective European identities, fed into propaganda, connected the extra-European front to the European front, and forced a reassessment of the administration of empire.


15 March 2018, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

Annual Gulf History Lecture: The Arab/Persian Binary: histories of culture and conflict in the Persian Gulf

Speaker: Professor Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet (Walter H Annenberg Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania)
Chair: Dr Roham Alvandi

Arabs and Persians have historically been placed in a binary and oppositional relationship. This bifurcated past has influenced the contemporary politics and historiography of the region, with far-reaching consequences for the stability and economic viability of different Middle Eastern communities.

This clash of ethnicities becomes especially prominent in the Persian Gulf, where migrants, sailors, indigenous communities, and laborers have intermingled and forged a unique and multi-ethnic culture that defies facile categorization. Yet with the imposition of nationalism these multi-cultural communities have had to accept or adapt to the dominant state identity. This lecture analysed the process of identity formation in the communities of the Persian Gulf by studying textual sources, as well as imperial and national objectives, that have determined these outcomes.

This event was hosted by the Department of International History with the generous support of the LSE Kuwuait Programme.

Listen to the recording


13 March 2018, Tuesday, 16:00-18:00, TW2.9.05, LSE

Department of International History and LSE United States Centre : The Double Game: The Demise of America's First Missile Defense System and the Rise of Strategic Arms Limitation

Speaker: Dr James Cameron (Fundação Getulio Vargas, Brazil)
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones

How did the United States move from position of nuclear superiority over the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1960s toward arms control based on nuclear parity and the doctrine of mutual assured destruction in 1972? James Cameron tackled this question in his new book, The Double Game (OUP, 2017), by examining the nuclear policies and rhetoric of Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard M. Nixon. He showed how all three presidents engaged in a double game, hiding their true beliefs behind a façade of strategic language while grappling in private with the complex realities of the nuclear age.  At a time when the Trump administration had just produced its nuclear posture review, this talk illuminated an earlier period when US nuclear superiority was under question.


28 Februrary 2018, Wednesday, 18:30-20:00, TW2.2.04, LSE

Book Talk: The Diplomacy of Decolonisation, America, Britain and the United Nations during the Congo crisis 1960-64

Speaker: Dr Alanna O'Malley (Leiden University)
Chair: Dr Roham Alvandi

In her new book, The Diplomacy of Decolonisation: America, Britain and the United Nations during the Congo Crisis, 1960-64 (Manchester University Press, 2018), Dr Alanna O’Malley reinterprets the role of the UN during the Congo crisis from 1960 to 1964, presenting a multidimensional view of the organisation. Through an examination of the Anglo-American relationship, she reveals how the UN helped position this event as a lightning rod in debates about how decolonisation interacted with the Cold War. By examining the ways in which the various dimensions of the UN came into play in Anglo-American considerations of how to handle the Congo crisis, the book reveals how the Congo debate reverberated in wider ideological struggles about how decolonisation evolved and what the role of the UN would be in managing this process. The UN became a central battle ground for ideas and visions of world order; as the newly-independent African and Asian states sought to redress the inequalities created by colonialism, the US and UK sought to maintain the status quo, while the Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld tried to reconcile these two contrasting views.


22 February 2018, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

Department of International History Annual Public Lecture: The View from Other Shores: The Global Refugee

Speaker: Professor Joya Chatterji (Professor of South Asian History, University of Cambridge)
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones

Since World War II, 95% percent of the world’s refugees have stayed in the global south, close to their regions of origin. This lecture examined how the ‘global refugee’ was constituted by international conventions, national laws and the practices of humanitarianism of international aid agencies. Drawing on decades of research, it offered an anti-Eurocentric critique of these policies, which have enabled cruelty and inaction to pass for rehabilitation.


21 February 2018, Wednesday, 12:30-14:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Hosted by LSE Festival: Beveridge 2.0, International History Lecture: Beveridge in Context: reconstruction planning during the Second World War and after

Speakers: Professor Matthew Jones, Professor David Stevenson and Dr David Motadel
Chair: Dr Megan Black

Academics from the Department of International History at LSE reassessed the 1942 Beveridge Report in the light of German, American, and British planning for reconstruction after World War II.

Listen to the recording


20 February 2018, Tuesday, 18:00-20:00, 32L.G.03, LSE

Book Launch and Roundtable: Freedom’s Debtors: British Antislavery in Sierra Leone in the Age of Revolution

Speakers: Dr Padraic X. Scanlan, Dr Bronwen Everill (University of Cambridge) and Dr Nicholas Guyatt (University of Cambridge)

Chair: Dr David Motadel

Freedom’s Debtors: British Antislavery in Sierra Leone in the Age of Revolution, authored by Dr Padraic X. Scanlan and published by Yale University Press, is a new history of British antislavery. In Sierra Leone, at the time a small British colony with an antislavery pedigree, the vague promises of the 1807 abolition of the British slave trade became a program of coerced labour, military conquest and ambitious social engineering. The people released from slavery by Royal Navy ships were no longer enslaved, but were expected to repay the ‘debt’ they owed to Britain for their freedom. The history of British antislavery has been written as a history of the triumph of enlightened good intentions over greed and brutality – Freedom’s Debtors shows that antislavery, on the edge of the British empire, was profit-seeking, exploitative and intrusive – the seedbed of British colonialism in West Africa.


14 February 2018, Wednesday, LSE LIFE Workspace 4, Library, LSE

Department of International History Undergraduate Students Conference & Social Event: Using History: Beyond Graduation

This one-day conference and social event for International History undergraduate students, arising from the requests of students themselves, explored several key topics in the study of modern history, including the value of studying the subject; looked at the career paths taken by several of the Department’s recent graduates; and listened to the views and experiences of more advanced career alumni. Careers advisers were also on hand to talk to students about their own ideas for the paths they would like to follow beyond graduation. Throughout the day there was opportunities to meet alumni from different sectors, discuss career aspirations, and ask questions. Lunch and refreshments were provided. At the end of the conference we gathered for a social event at the upstairs room of The George pub.

Full programme.


29 January 2018, Monday, 10:00-12:00, Bean Counter, 32L, LSE

Department of International History, LSESU Women Leaders of Tomorrow Society and LSE Library: Coffee Morning Event: Women Leaders of Yesterday: Exploring the Suffragette Movement

Speakers: Debbie Challis (LSE Library's Education and Outreach Officer), Dr Imaobong Umoren (International History), Gillian Murphy (LSE Library's Curator for Equality, Rights and Citizenship) and Professor Matthew Jones (Head of Department)

The LSESU Women Leaders of Tomorrow in collaboration with LSE Library and the Department of International History organised a topical panel discussion followed by open conversation on the Women Leaders of 'Yesterday’. The panel answered questions such as:
- How should we commemorate the centenary of votes for (some) women in 1918?
- What lessons does the suffragette movement teach us about leadership, 100 years later?
- Why is this movement still relevant today?  



7 December 2017,Thursday, 16:00-18:00, Thai Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

International History Undergraduate Students Town Hall

Discussants: Professor Matthew Jones, Professor Piers Ludlow and other members of the department

Students were encouraged to attend this meeting to learn what the Department had done to address issues that had been raised around their experience of life as students in International History. This was a chance for students to understand how something works in the Department, why we do what we do, or simply find an answer to an issue they had come across in their  time at the Department.


28 November 2017, Tuesday, 18:30, German Historical Institute London, 17 Bloomsbury Square, London WC1A 2NJ

Department of International History and German Historical Institute London

GHIL Visiting Professorship Inaugural Lecture: National Security and Humanity. The Internment of Civilian “Enemy Aliens” During the First World War

Speaker: Professor Arnd Bauerkämper (GHIL Visiting Professor, 2017-18)

In the “total” First World War, civilian “enemy aliens” became targets of stringent state control and internment, frequently in the name of “national security”. On the other hand, national and international humanitarian organisations supported these helpless victims of the war. To what extent and how did debates and conflicts about the relationship between security and humanity impact on the changing balance?

The Visiting Professorship is a joint project of the GHIL and the International History Department of the LSE and is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.


15 November 2017, Wednesday, 18:30, Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Department of International History

Book Launch: 1917: War, Peace, and Revolution

Speaker: Professor David Stevenson
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones

This event comprised an illustrated talk about key developments in global political history during the pivotal year 1917, followed by a discussion. Professor David Stevenson summarized the research and arguments in his new book, 1917: War, Peace, and Revolution (Oxford University Press, 2017).


27 October 2017, Friday, 10:00-12:00, The Women's Library, R01, Lower Ground Floor, Lionel Robbins Building, LSE

Department of International History

Black Month History: The Global in the Local

Speakers: Dr Megan Black, Dr Jack Hogan, Professor Matthew Jones and Dr Imaobong Umoren

The Department of International History hosted its inaugural Black History Month roundtable discussion based on the theme of the "Global in the Local". Speakers from the department discussed a range of topics including the 60th anniversary of the 1957 Little Rock incident, US black intellectuals and criticisms of aid development policy, black activists in interwar London, and the abolition of slavery in Zambia.

After the roundtable, the panel opened for questions and answers from the audience.


25 October 2017, Wednesday,  16:00-17:30, TW2.9.05, LSE

Department of International History and LSE United States Centre

Between the United States and Russia: Past and Present Perspectives on the creation of a separate European nuclear deterrent

Speakers: Professor Matthew Jones (LSE International History), Professor Wyn Bowen (KCL), Professor Lynn Eden (Stanford University), Dr Helen Parr (Keele University)
Chair: Professor Peter Trubowitz (LSE International Relations and LSE US Centre Director)

In the age of Trump and Brexit, does Europe need to rethink its security relationship with the US? Is it time for Europe to consider its own nuclear deterrent force?

Since the election of Donald Trump as US President there has been much discussion of the strained security relationship between the United States and its European NATO allies. Trump's assertions that the Europeans need to contribute more toward their own security, his position on several key international political issues (such as attitudes to Russian policy), and his past reluctance to offer all-out endorsement to America's Article 5 obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty, have contributed to the sense that transatlantic ties have loosened. Some commentators have spoken of the need for France and Germany, in a post-Brexit Europe, to rethink their security relationship and look more to their own defence needs, and even, with the US nuclear guarantee perhaps in doubt, to consider a separate European deterrent force.

We have, however, been here before. On several occasions in the 1960s and 1970s, when it looked as though the US nuclear guarantee to NATO in Western Europe was in doubt, ideas emerged for the creation of some kind of European-based nuclear force, whether it be an Anglo-French combination (mooted by Macmillan in 1961-62, and again by Harold Wilson in 1967), or perhaps Multilateral Force (under joint control, with US leadership and involvement), or perhaps on a Franco-German basis (the underlying fear of both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations which helped make them push for an MLF).

This seminar used the recent occasion of the publication of the first two volumes of the official history of the UK strategic nuclear deterrent, to examine these past perspectives on a European nuclear deterrent force, positioned between the US and Soviet Union, and to make comparisons to the present. Why did such schemes emerge? What practical mechanics did they involve? What were the obstacles that lay in the path to their creation? Did the experience of the 1960s and 1970s hold any lessons for today?


5 October 2017, Thursday, 18h30, Hong Kong Theatre, LSE

Department of International History and LSE IDEAS: Gorbachev: His Life and Times

Speaker: Professor William Taubman
Chair: Professor Vladislav Zubok

In this lecture, Pulitzer Prize winner William Taubman explored how a peasant boy rose to the top of the Soviet system and ended it, why the Communist regime allowed him to destroy it, why Gorbachev’s dream of democratising the USSR failed, how he and President Reagan turned out to be almost perfect partners, and why Gorbachev permitted Eastern Europe to abandon Communism with firing a shot. Taubman’s talk emphasised the impact of Gorbachev's personality on his policies and role in world history.

Listen to the recording


28 April 2017, Friday, LSE IDEAS, Tower 2, Room 9.04, LSE

LSE IDEAS: The Balkans in the Cold War: Book Launch Discussion

Speakers: Dr Svetozar Rajak, Professor Arne Westad, Dr Vesslin Dimitrov, Professor Evanthis Hatzivassiliou, Dr Eirini Karamouzi and Dr Konstantina E. Botsiou

The new edited volume ‘Balkans in the Cold War’ contains 16 contributions from renowned experts and scholars on how the global Cold War manifested in the Balkans. The book covers five key themes: the nascent Cold War, region’s uneasy relations with the Superpowers, military alliances, the role of ideology, culture and identity, and the dilemmas the Balkans faced in the 1970s and the 1980s. The event featured a Q&A with the editors on these themes, with introductory comments by Professor Arne Westad and Dr Vesselin Dimitrov.

Listen to the recording


21 March 2017, Tuesday, 18:00-19:00, CON.7.05, LSE

The Idea of Russia - Book Launch and Conversation with Professor Vladislav Zubok

Speaker: Professor Vladislav Zubok

In his new book, published in January 2017 by I.B.Tauris, Professor Zubok explores the life and works of eminent Russian intellectual Dmitry Likhachev, ranked by the contemporaries as one of the two ‘main natural ideologues of contemporary Russia,’ next to Alexander Solzhenitsyn. The life of Likhachev (1906-1999) spanned the century from Tsarist rule to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the rise of contemporary Russia. Born in St. Petersburg, Likhachev was arrested shortly after completing his university education, charged with counter-revolutionary ideas and imprisoned for four years in the Gulag. He was able to return to his home city, stayed there during the worst time of the Siege in 1941-42. During those trying times, Likhachev defended his dissertation and became a scholar of ancient Russian culture. After Stalin’s death in 1953, he became a public intellectual, engaged in the preservation of legacy and revival of cultural life of his country. One of his main missions was to combat Russian nationalism and to overcome cultural alienation between Russia and Europe.


15 March 2017, Wednesday, 14:00-16:00, 32 LIF G.24, LSE

Post-1945 US Cold War Public Diplomacy, and the Voices and Sounds of Empire

Speakers: Professor Andrew Rotter (Colgate University): ‘Imperial Soundscapes: India and the Philippines’
Professor Jason Parker (Texas A&M University): ‘A “New Babel of Voices”: US Cold War Public Diplomacy and the Rise of the Third World’
Chair: Professor Matthew Jones (pictured)


6 March 2017, Monday, 17:00, Vera Anstey Room, Old Building, LSE

Department of International History and The Radical Americas Network: In Conversation with George Ciccariello-Maher

Speaker: Dr George Ciccariello-Maher
Chair: Dr William Booth

In conversation with Dr William Booth (Radical Americas Network and LSE), Dr Ciccariello-Maher discussed the current state of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, as well as his new book - which brings the theories of Sorel, Fanon and Dussel to a Venezuelan context - and the challenges for radical academics in the current conjuncture.

Watch the recording


22 February 2017, Wednesday, 16:30-18:00, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

Department of International History and LSE Literary Festival: 1917: Historical and Global Perspectives

SpeakersDr Tanya Harmer, Dr Nataliya Kibita, Dr David Motadel
ChairProfessor David Stevenson

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 transformed the world. But it was neither the first global revolution nor the last revolution to have widespread resonance. So how should we understand its significance and relationship to global history 100 years after it took place? To discuss these issues, this panel placed 1917 in a historical perspective and examined its implications around the world.

LSE's 9th Literary Festival marked the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, but also anniversaries of revolutions in literature, international relations, politics, religion and science.

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2 February 2017, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Old Theatre, LSE

Department of International History Public Lecture: The Holocaust: Mentality of the Perpetrators

Speaker: Laurence Rees
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

How can we understand the mentality of those who conceived and implemented the Holocaust? By drawing on both his research for his recent book on the Holocaust, as well as the personal experience of meeting a number of those who were involved in the killing process, Laurence Rees reveals the mentalities of a number of the killers.


30 January 2017, Monday, 18:30-20:00, Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

Annual Gulf History Lecture: The Saudi Royal Family: Modernisation and Succession

Speaker: Steve Coll
Chair: Dr David Motadel

Since the birth of modern Saudi Arabia circa 1925, the course of the kingdom’s modernisation has been influenced by succession, consensus and conflict within the House of Saud. Today the kingdom stands at a crossroads without precedent in the royal family’s modern history as King Salman and his surviving brothers apparently seek to combine a leap of succession to the throne down generations with bold modernisation plans and departures in foreign policy. What his the historical backdrop for this dramatic turn in the royal family’s history and where will it lead Saudi Arabia and the Middle East?

This event was hosted by the Department of International History with the generous support of the LSE Kuwuait Programme.

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5 December 2016, Monday, IDEAS, LSE

LSE IDEAS and Department of International History: Margaret Gowing and British Nuclear History

Speakers: Among others, Professor Matthew Jones, Professor Michael Cox, Sue Donnelly, Richard Moore (KCL).

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 Michael 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 HY 448: 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 in the LSE IDEAS blog.

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29 November 2016, Tuesday, 18:30, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

GHIL Visiting Professorship Lecture: National Expectations and Transnational Infrastructure: The Media, Global News Coverage and International Relations in the Age of High Imperialism

Speaker: Professor Dominik Geppert (GHIL Visiting Professor, 2016-17)
Chair: Dr Piers Ludlow

At the turn of the 20th Century, the increase in economic, technological and cultural integration did not simply coexist with continuing political, military and ideological antagonisms. Rather, these forms of integration served to reinforce points of reference that were squarely based on national paradigms. This lecture explored how, in an increasingly complex world of interconnected media, a growing interdependence in the business of global news coverage intensified – rather than alleviated – a dynamic process of nationalisation.

8 November 2016, Tuesday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

LSE IDEAS: A Briton at the Heart of Europe: Revisiting Roy Jenkins' Presidency of the European Commission

Speaker: Piers Ludlow
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

Forty years ago, a British politician was appointed President of the European Commission. This lecture, featuring Dr Piers Ludlow’s newest book, Roy Jenkins and the European Commission Presidency, 1976-1980: At the Heart of Europe (Palgrave, 2016), explored what Jenkins’s tenure reveals about the nature of the job and the history of Britain in Europe.

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18 October 2016, Tuesday, 19:00-20:30, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

International History Public Debate: The Vanquished: The German Experience of Defeat and Revolution in 1918. A Debate .

Speakers: Professor  Christopher Clark, Professor Robert Gerwarth, Professor David Stevenson 
Chair: Dr Heather Jones

As Robert Gerwarth launched his new book, The Vanquished. Why the First World War Failed to End  on how defeat in the First World War plunged Germany, and much of Europe, into chaos and revolution in 1918, we brought together a panel of historian specialists on the conflict to debate the book's themes and findings with its author.

13 October 2016, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, CLM.3.02, Clement House, LSE

LSE Institute of Global Affairs and Department of International History Public Lecture: In Search of Truth in the Long Shadows of Nationalism

Speaker: Julie Lindahl
Chair: Dr David Motadel

During a 6-year intensive investigation Brazilian-born Julie Catterson Lindahl discovered her family’s role in National Socialism and the SS. Her journey of discovery took her to Germany, Poland and Latin America, the place of her birth. The focus of her work was to understand the process of radicalization, and the reverberations of war and violence on the generations that followed. In this lecture Lindahl focused on the truth about the past she uncovered, what led her to uncover it and what the relevance of this story is for the times we live in.

9-10 June 2016, Thursday & Friday, Instituto Mora, Mexico

International Conference: Intellectual Cultures of Revolution in Latin America: A Transnational Perspective

Convenors: Dr Tanya Harmer (LSE) and Alberto Martín Alvarez (Instituto Mora)

Latin American left-wing armed organisations shared repertoires of action, strategies, symbols and ideologies. Socialism, revolution and armed struggle became identities of these groups, which became important political actors during the last decades of the 20th century. Despite strong political and ideological similarities between left-wing organisations, our understanding of the processes of construction and diffusion of this “intellectual culture of revolution” in Latin America is still limited. Some authors ascribe the diffusion of ideas regarding radical change in the Global South to the predominant role of local revolutionary intellectuals who studied in European or North American universities. However, the evidence coming from Latin America points to a much more complex phenomenon. The culture of revolution comprised an amalgamation of local revolutionary traditions and global intellectual influences. Meanwhile, the direct interaction between left-wing organisations and activists from different countries appears to have been of fundamental importance in the construction of a transnational imagined community of regional and global scope.

8 June 2016, Wednesday, 18:30-20:00, Sheik Zayed Theatre, LSE

Department of International History Public Lecture: The Case for Brexit: Why Britain Should Quit the EU

Speaker: Professor Alan Sked
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

Analysis of the failings of the EU and the advantages of Brexix.

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12 May 2016, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

Book Launch: Wladyslaw Gomulka: A Biography of a Polish Communist by Professor Anita Prazmowska

Speaker: Professor Anita Prazmowska
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

The end of Communism has not decreased interest in the subject. On the contrary, the availability of new archival sources has made it possible to add depth to what is known and to generally extend the historic study of the subject. Gomulka, the party secretary of the Polish United Workers' Party during 1956-70 is the subject of a new book by Professor Prazmowska. Based on extensive archival research it seeks to explain the way Communism functioned in Poland during that time. This self-effacing man was critically important in defining Poland's road to Socialism. But what that meant can only be fully understood by tracing the evolution of Gomulka's political career and his thinking.

26-27 February 2016, Friday and Saturday, LSE

Department of International History and the Cold War Studies Project at LSE IDEAS: Global Histories of Latin America's Revolutionary Left

Convenors: Dr Tanya Harmer and Dr Alberto Martín Alvarez (Instituto Mora). Event linked to the established New Left Network led by Alberto Martín Álvarez and Eduardo Rey Tristán.

Our knowledge of Latin America’s revolutionary left after the Cuban Revolution in 1959 is growing. New archives, oral histories and published testimonies have driven history forward and encouraged new research. However, we still know relatively little about the global dimensions of the revolutionary left (or New Left) in Latin America. We know that revolutionary left-wing militants shared feelings of solidarity, collective belonging and common purpose across continents. Members of Latin America’s revolutionary left also travelled to Europe (East and West), Africa, Asia, and North America, where they found inspiration, and participated in revolutionary developments. We also know that Latin America’s revolutionary left received moral, intellectual, cultural and financial support from counterparts and sympathetic groups abroad. Yet where and how these relationships and networks originated, how they functioned and with what consequences is less clear.

This international conference was funded by a British Academy Newton Mobility Grant, the École des Hautes Études Hispaniques et Ibériques (Casa de Velázquez) and the LSE’s Research Committee RIIF Seed Fund.

24 February 2016, Wednesday, 12:30-14:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

LSE Department of International History Literary Festival Discussion: Utopias in History

Speakers: Dr Tim Hochstrasser, Dr Padraic Scanlan, Dr Kirsten Schulze
Chair: Professor David Stevenson

Utopias come in many shapes and sizes - theological, ideological, or pure fantastical and visionary projections that are intended to inspire or create enthusiasm for the creation of alternative ways of living. They can also be attempts to make those ideas real in practice, with a variety of outcomes, positive and negative. Three members of the International History Department looked at case studies of theoretical and practical utopias from the eighteenth century to the present day.

This event formed part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2016, taking place from Monday 22 - Saturday 27 February 2016, with the theme 'Utopias'.

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1 February 2016, Monday, 18:30-20:00, Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

Department of International History Public Lecture: Empire of Things: Why we have too much stuff, and what to do about it

Speaker: Professor Frank Trentmann
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

What we consume has become the defining feature of our lives: our economies live or die by spending, we are treated more as consumers than workers, and even public services are presented to us as products in a supermarket. Frank Trentmann provided a long view on the global challenges of our relentless pursuit of more - from waste and debt to stress and inequality.

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14 January 2016, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

LSE IDEAS, Paulsen Project Lecture: Tsar Alexander I and the European order, ideas and practices, 1804-1825

Speakers: Professor Marie-Pierre Rey and Professor Dominic Lieven
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

This Paulsen Project lecture by Professor Marie-Pierre Rey explored the reign of Tsar Alexander I. Professor Rey's lecture examined the Tsar's personality and how his diplomatic actions, including relations with Napoleon, shaped the idea of Europe. Based on her three last books (Alexander I, the Tsar who defeated Napoleon; L’effroyable tragédie, une nouvelle histoire de la campagne de Russie and 1814; Un Tsar à Paris) Professor Rey’s lecture was devoted to Alexander I’s reign. It focused, on one hand, on the personality of the Tsar (his childhood, his education…) and, on the other hand, on his action in the diplomatic and geopolitical field. In particular, the lecture stressed the key role of European affairs not only in terms of practices but also in terms of ideas, perceptions and representations.


15 December 2015, Tuesday, 18:30, German Historical Institute London

Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture: Life Cycle and Industrial Work. West German and West European Patterns in Times of Globalization (1975-2005)

Speaker: Professor Lutz Raphael (GHIL Visiting Professor, 2015-16)

The lecture presented some of Professor Raphael’s ongoing research on the social history of the working classes in West Germany, France and Britain in times of de-industrialisation since the late 1970s. De-industrialisation was by no means a uniform outcome of a global evolutionary trend towards a new economy based essentially on service industries, but it was rather different forms of mixed economies which emerged along different national trajectories combining the manufacturing and distribution of goods, services and knowledge. The lecture explored how and why these various changes affected the life cycles of industrial workers differently in West Germany and Britain between 1975 and 2000. It examined the specific effects of, for example, higher levels of unemployment, greater job insecurity or the loss of traditional working skills on gender, age or ethnic differences.

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26 November 2015, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

LSE Annual Gulf History: End of Empire: Britain's Withdrawal from the Persian Gulf

Speaker: Professor Wm Roger Louis
Chair: Dr Roham Alvandi

Eminent historian Professor Louis examined Britain’s role in the creation of the United Arab Emirates and the origins of the contemporary Persian Gulf. In January 1968 the British government announced the withdrawal of all troops from the Persian Gulf. This lecture placed the decision within the context of British economic priorities, regional conflicts in Aden and Yemen, and the American war in Vietnam. Above all it explained the reasons why the British upon final departure from the Gulf in 1971 were able to preside over the successful creation of the United Arab Emirates.

This event was hosted by the Department of International History with the generous support of the LSE Kuwuait Programme.

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11-13 May 2015, Monday (18:00-20:00), Tuesday (10:00-18:30) and Wednesday (9:30-13:15), LSE Campus

Public Conference: Encountering the Past in Turkey

Feauturing several prestigious speakers and moderators, including Professor Marc David Baer

This 3-day conference explored how, why, under what conditions, and among which groups did willingness to confront the Armenian Genocide and other violent episodes Turkish history came into being. What kinds of strategies are used by different groups to promote coming to terms with the past as well as avoiding it? What transformative power can we expect from this numerically limited but strongly articulated movement? What are the implications of encountering the past for contemporary dynamics in Turkey? By doing so, it is hoped that the conference contributed to promoting acts of reconciliation that have begun in Turkey.

5 May 2015, Tuesday, 18:30, Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE

Professor Arne Westad’s Farewell Public Lecture: China, US and Asia in the Twenty-first Century

Speaker: Professor Arne Westad
Chair: Professor Michael Cox

The rivalry between China and the United States for influence in Asia will determine the geo-political landscape in this century. At the moment, most of the advantages are on the US side, especially since China after the last economic crisis seems to have been busy driving away potential allies in the region. But will this state of affairs last? What can China do to mobilise its undeniable resources in the exercise of a more effective foreign policy? And how will domestic developments in the two countries influence their long-term Asia policies? In his final public lecture at LSE before taking up the ST Lee Chair in US-Asian Relations at Harvard University, Professor Westad will discuss these questions with the audience.

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30 April to 2 May 2015, Thursday to Saturday, LSE Campus

2015 LSE-GWU-UCSB Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War

Participants: PhD students and faculty members, including Dr Piers Ludlow, Dr Svetozar Rajak, Professor Arne Westad, Dr Luc-André Brunet, Dr Tanya Harmer and Dr Valeria Zanier

LSE IDEAS Cold War Studies Programme of the London School of Economics and Political Science (CWSP), the George Washington University Cold War Group (GWCW), and the Center for Cold War Studies (CCWS) of the University of California at Santa Barbara co-organised their 2015 International Graduate Conference on the Cold War. This was the 13th annual conference co-organised by the three institutions.

17 March 2015, Tuesday, 18.30, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Book Launch: The Uses of Space in Early Modern History

Speakers: Dr Paul Stock, Dr Paul Keenan
Chair: Professor Janet Hartley

The Uses of Space in Early Modern History, edited by Paul Stock, explores how spatial concepts can be employed by or applied to the study of history, and how spaces and spatial ideas were used for practical and ideological purposes in specific periods. It contains pioneering essays from an array of renowned historians: Lauren Benton, Amanda Flather, Michael Heffernan, Matthew Johnson, Paul Keenan, Beat Kümin, Robert Mayhew, Jeppe Mulich, Claire Norton, and Andrew Rudd. At the launch, Paul Stock (editor) and Paul Keenan (contributor) discussed the purpose and contents of the volume, as well as the wider significance of ‘spatial history’. For more information about the book click here.

5 March 2015, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

LSE Works - International History Public Lecture: Beyond the Cold War: How Summits Shaped the New World Order

Speaker: Dr Kristina Spohr
Respondents: Sir Rodric Braithwaite, Sir Roderic Lyne, Professor Arne Westad
Chair: Professor Stuart Corbridge 

Personal summitry, more than structural factors, shaped the peaceful ending of and exit from the Cold War. This lecture showed how meetings between international leaders in the period 1985-91 fostered rapprochement and creative dialogue, and reflected on their continuing importance today.

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25 February 2015, Wednesday, 12:30-14:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

LSE Department of International History Literary Festival Discussion: Commemorating 1815: Politics and the Arts after Waterloo

Speakers: Dr Tim Hochstrasser, Dr Kirsten Schulze, Professor Alan Sked, Dr Paul Stock
Chair: Dr Paul Keenan

In the bicentenary anniversary of Waterloo, a panel of LSE historians reflected on the legacy of Napoleon's defeat. The panellists discussed the political and artistic aftermath of Waterloo as well as the consequences for European and global history.

This event was part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2015 that took place from Monday 23 - Saturday 28 February 2015. A series of events, free to attend, exploring the foundations of knowledge, society, identity and literature, as well as those of LSE itself, with speakers including Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Anne Fine, John Gray, Elif Shafak, Raja Shehadeh, Will Self and Ali Smith.

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19 February 2015, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

Professor Marc David Baer’s Inaugural Lecture: Muslim Encounters with Nazism and the Holocaust: The Ahmadi of Berlin and German-Jewish Convert to Islam Hugo Marcus

Professor Marc David Baer called into question simplistic renderings of the Nazi’s relationship to Muslims, complicated historiographical accounts of Islam in Europe by underscoring its diversity, and rendered more complex our understandings of Muslim-Jewish relations. Research on Muslims in the World War II era has overwhelmingly looked at Muslims in the Middle East or those who were temporarily located in Berlin, focusing on Arabs, and, for that matter, on a single Palestinian, the Mufti of Jerusalem, Al-Hajj Amin al-Husayni, whose notoriety has overshadowed the activities of all other Muslims in Germany, and indeed, elsewhere. Based on an examination of the publications and archival records of the first Muslim communities in Germany, and the personal documents and private correspondence of their leading members, Baer focused instead on an overlooked yet significant Muslim community, the Ahmadi, based in British India. They established a mission in Berlin in 1922 which attracted German avant-garde intellectuals, partly through its promotion of conversion as a kind of double-consciousness, preaching interreligious tolerance, and practicing inclusion of homosexuals. When German society was nazified beginning a decade later, the Ahmadi—unlike the other Muslims in Berlin—in one important instance thwarted the Nazi reign of violence. Despite accomodationist overtures to the regime, they saved the life of their formerly Jewish co-religionist, and homosexual, Hugo Marcus, thus calling into question the claim that Muslims share a deep-rooted anti-Semitism with the Nazis.

11 February 2015, Wednesday, 18:30-20:00pm, TW2. 9.04, LSE

Book Launch: An Awkward Alliance: West Germany and Portugal at the End of the Portuguese Empire

Speakers: Dr Rui Lopes, Dr Kristina Spohr
Chair: Professor Arne Westad

Led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Willy Brandt, the West German governments of the late 1960s and early 1970s left a well-remembered mark on the history of social-democracy, European integration, and Cold War détente. By contrast, in the years leading up to the Carnation Revolution of 25 April 1974, Portugal remained Europe’s oldest authoritarian regime and, despite international condemnation, continued to wage war against liberation movements in Angola, Mozambique, and Guinea-Bissau. The awkward relationship between Bonn and Lisbon during this period, rooted in the intersection between European geopolitics and resistance to African decolonisation, is at the core of Dr. Rui Lopes’ new book, West Germany and the Portuguese Dictatorship, 1968-1974: Between Cold War and Colonialism, which was launched at this event.

10 February 2015, Tuesday, 18:00-19:30, Room EAS E304, East Building, LSE

LSE History Society: Colonial knowledge, ignorance, and the end of Empire

Speaker: Professor John Lonsdale (University of Cambridge)

Beginning with a general sketch of decolonisation in Africa, Professor Lonsdale focused on Kenya and late colonial rule as a case study. He posed some quite specific questions about what people thought they knew at the time and what if any effect their contemporary knowledge/ignorance/prejudice had on historical processes and outcomes.

9 February 2015, Monday, 18:30-20:00, NAB 1.15, LSE

Working in Africa: Development, Peace-building and Governance in Kenya and Somalia

Speaker: Lauren Oing (former LSE HY436 African History student)
Chair: Dr Joanna Lewis

At the time of this event, Lauren Oing worked for Pact in Nairobi, Kenya, where she served as the team leader for a peace building and conflict resolution program in Somalia. She previously worked for the International Republican Institute (IRI) where she served as the country representative in Somaliland, running parliamentary strengthening and elections programs. Before her move to the field, she worked in IRI's Washington office, managing programs in the Africa and Asia divisions. Her time at IRI included designing survey research in Angola and Somaliland, supporting political party strengthening programs in Zimbabwe and Timor-Leste, and serving as an international elections observer in Kenya, Bangladesh and Uganda. Previously, Lauren worked as a legal assistant, and interned in the US House of Representatives.

3 February 2015, Tuesday, 18:30-20:00, Room B.13, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, LSE

George Padmore and Decolonisation from Below

Speaker: Dr Leslie James
Discussants: Professor Richard Drayton and Professor Bill Schwarz
Chair: Professor Arne Westad

The British Empire is now seen as a ‘patchwork’ of connections negotiated in precise contexts over time, rather than an integrated imperial structure shaped by a unified vision. Concurrently, the rising tide of anti-colonial activity after the First and Second World Wars is often described as part of a changing ‘mood’, where anti-racism and human rights held greater currency and where diplomacy was redefined and relocated outside sovereign state structures as part of a crucial ‘moment’ where new futures were imagined. But if the British Empire was not a hegemonic structure but a loose system, what implications did this have for anti-colonial organisers? From his base in London, the Trinidad-born Marxist, George Padmore, directed a constantly evolving strategy to end British imperial rule across Africa and the Caribbean.

In this public talk, Leslie James discussed her new book, George Padmore and Decolonization From Below: Pan-Africanism, the Cold War, and the End of Empire, which was launched at the event.


4 December 2014, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, CLM.5.02, Clement House, LSE

Gerda Henkel Visiting Professorship Lecture: Welfare in the Warfare State: Nazi Social Policy on the International Stage

Speaker: Professor Kiran Klaus Patel (GHIL Visiting Professor, 2014-15)

This lecture will investigate the international debates triggered by the social welfare measures the Third Reich introduced in the 1930s and 1940s. Job creation schemes, marriage loans, eugenic measures, and much more were part of Nazi propaganda abroad. What were the regime’s aims? And how did other societies respond?

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12 November 2014, Wednesday, 18:00-20:00, CLM 5.02, Clement Hours, LSE

International History and International Relations and the Origins of the Great War

Speakers: Professor David Stevenson, Professor Michael Cox
Chair: Dr Svetozar Rajak

The session compared approaches from International Relations and International History to the debate on the origins of the First World War, taking into account the new work that has appeared in connection with the centenary. Professor Michael Cox spoke on the theoretical approaches and Professor David Stevenson spoke on the evolution of the historiography.

29 October 2014, Wednesday, 18:30-20:00, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and LSE Remembrance Lecture

Speaker: Professor David Reynolds
Chair: Professor Sönke Neitzel

Professor David Reynolds addressed the legacy of the First World War, in particular the effect of mass bereavement and commemoration.

28 October 2014, Tuesday, 19:00-20:30, New Theatre, East Building, LSE

Department of International History Annual Lecture: The Vietnam Wars Reconsidered

Speaker: Professor Fredrik Logevall

With the outpouring of scholarship on the Vietnam Wars in recent years, it's time to take stock and reconsider two core questions: why did the wars happen, and why did two Western powers, first France and then the United States, fail in their efforts? In this lecture historian Fredrik Logevall offered his analysis, while also contemplating the meaning of the war for our own time.

27 October 2014, Monday, 18:30-20:00, New Theatre, East Building, LSE

LSE IDEAS: 25 Years After the End of the Cold War: Its Legacy in a New World Order

Speakers: Professor Beatrice Heuser, Dr Andrew Monaghan, Professor Vladislav Zubok
Chair: Professor Michael Cox

Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, how do these events shape the world today? What are the legacies of the Cold War? And are we truly in the midst of a new Cold War? This event marked the launch of the special issue of Cold War History, entitled 'The Cold War in Retrospect - 25 years after its end', edited by Professor Beatrice Heuser.

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23 October 2014, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

LSE Annual Gulf History Lecture: "A Matter of Life and Death for the Country”: The Iranian Intervention in Oman, 1972-1975

Speaker: Professor James Goode

This became one of the Shah’s most successful foreign initiatives. He entered at the request of Sultan Qabus to help quell a Marxist rebellion in Dhufar province. Acting for reasons wholly related to Iran’s regional security, he angered most of his Arab neighbours. His troops tipped the balance, helping to speed the end of the insurrection, for which Iran earned the lasting gratitude of the sultan.

The annual LSE Gulf History Lecture was hosted by the LSE Department of International History, with the generous support of the LSE Kuwait Programme.

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16 October 2014, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Book Launch: Nixon, Kissinger and the Shah: The United States and Iran in the Cold War by Dr Roham Alvandi

Speaker: Dr Roham Alvandi
Chair: Professor Toby Dodge

Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, is often remembered as a pliant instrument of American power during the Cold War. In this lecture and book launch, Roham Alvandi offered a revisionist account of the Shah's relationship with the United States by examining the partnership he forged with Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger in the 1970s. Dr Alvandi discussed how the Shah shaped US policy in the Persian Gulf under Nixon and Kissinger, including the CIA’s covert support for the Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq, and the US role in the origins of Iran’s nuclear program. Dr Alvandi drew on the history of Iran’s Cold War partnership with the United States to examine the potential for Iranian-American cooperation in the Middle East today.

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15 October 2014, Wednesday, 18:30-20:00, Thai Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Public Lecture and Book Launch: Austro-Hungarian War Aims in the Balkans during World War I by Dr Marvin B. Fried

Participants: Dr Marvin B. Fried and introduction by Professor David Stevenson

Beyond their fateful decisions which ultimately led to the First World War, the Austro-Hungarian leaders played a vital role in continuing and expanding the conflict to feed their territorial ambitions. Using previously secret material, Fried examined in his book the Monarchy's aggressive and expansionist war aims in the Balkans. The conquest and subjugation of Serbia was but a cornerstone of a wider Austro-Hungarian imperialist dream of further annexations and the precursor to a hegemonic economic empire in the rest of South-East Europe. Was the purpose to make Austria-Hungary, in the words of one of its leaders, a truly 'European Great Power of the first order,' or were these simply the death throes of an obsolete empire, loathe to voluntarily part with its Great Power status and prestige? In either case, these war aims were 'life and death questions' for the Monarchy's leaders, without which there would be no peace and for which they were prepared to sacrifice enormous quantities of blood and treasure.

9 October 2014, Thursday, 18:30-20:00, Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

Department of International History Public Lecture: Siberia: a History of the People

Speaker: Professor Janet Hartley

Siberia is a part of Russia but also a specific region with its own characteristics. Based on rich sources, many from local archives, Janet Hartley looks at the life of the people – who came to Siberia, how they lived, how were governed , how they related to the indigenous population – from the late sixteenth century, when “Sibir” became part of the Russian empire, to the present. This lecture marks the launch of Siberia: a History of the People published by Yale in July 2014.

8 October 2014, Wednesday, 18:30-20:00, Alumni Theatre, New Academic Building, LSE

LSE-NUS Public Lecture: Cross-Border Cross Referencing: sorting out Indonesian confrontation in the field

Speaker: Professor Brian P Farrell
Chair: Dr Kirsten Schulze

Indonesia ‘confronted’ the establishment of Malaysia in 1963 by waging an undeclared war, which included armed incursions across recognized international frontiers. The lecture will discuss the work of a military historian in the field and explore the role and perspectives of the local populations during this cross-border conflict.

3 October 2014, Friday, Shaw Library, LSE

Trails of the Great War, 1914 to 2014

Speakers: Among others, Professor David Stevenson

The centenary year of the outbreak of the Great War began with a serious debate over the war guilt question. Historians such as Christopher Clark, David Reynolds and Niall Ferguson engaged a wide public audience with their respective arguments. After that, the focus was very much on the nature of war itself. In the media, in theatres and concert halls, in stately homes and village halls, the British commemoration of the Great War was strikingly visceral. History, it seemed, was less about rationalising past events than it was about accessing the emotional experience of those who lived in it.

Yet, 1914 marked the beginning of a conflict that was much more than a ‘national catastrophe’ for Britain. In the words of the American diplomat and historian George F Kennan this was ‘the great seminal catastrophe of the twentieth century’, the big bang that determined the course of history and continues to define the political reality in Britain, Europe and America to this day. The aim of this conference was to move beyond the parochial and broaden the view of the British debate.

See conference programme

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10 September 2014, Wednesday, International Symposium, AHILA, Berlin

Latin America and Europe during the Cold War

The LSE sponsored a symposium at 2014’s AHILA conference in Berlin on 10 September. Coordinated by Dr Tanya Harmer, the symposium brought together 15 historians from around the world in 4 panels to examine the relations between Latin America, the Soviet bloc and Western Europe. The symposium focused on the formal relations between governments and political parties of Latin America and Europe. It aimed to investigate the transnational networks and contacts that emerged between both regions as a result of solidarity movements, youth groups, academic exchanges and travel. Beyond showcasing new research, the aim of the symposium was to lay the foundations of a new international network aimed at understanding, and disseminating sources on the relationship between Europe and Latin America during the Cold War.

4-6 September 2014, Thursday-Saturday, Shaw Library and Clement House, LSE

26th Annual Conference of the British International History Group

The 26th Annual Conference of the British International History Group took place at the London School of Economics and Political Science from 4 to 6 September 2014. The conference showcased several speakers from LSE's International History Department, namely Nigel Ashton, Antony Best, Steve Casey, David Stevenson and Arne Westad.

See the conference programme

12 May 2014, Monday, 6.30-8pm, Room 9.04, Tower 2, Clement's Inn, LSE

Middle East Centre: US-Iran Détente: Past and Present

Speakers: Ambassador John Limbert, Dr Chris Emery, Dr Roham Alvandi
ChairProfessor Toby Dodge

The historic September 2013 phone call between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and U.S. President Barack Obama represented the highest-level contact between Iran and the United States since relations between the two countries were severed in April 1980, in the midst of the Tehran hostage crisis. As Iran and the P5+1 move ahead with drafting a comprehensive nuclear agreement, Tehran and Washington have carefully pursued a détente that could transform the political landscape of the Middle East. This roundtable will examine the troubled history of US-Iran relations, past failed efforts at détente, and the prospects for a breakthrough in US-Iran relations in 2014.

Listen to the recording

6 May 2014, Tuesday, 6.30-8.00pm, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

Department of International History Public Lecture: LSE’s War: 1914-1918

Speaker: Professor David Stevenson
Chair: Professor Anita Prażmowska

Drawing on new research in the School’s archives, this lecture will retrace the LSE experience before, during, and in the aftermath of the First World War.   David Stevenson is Stevenson Professor of International History at the School, and an expert on the history of the 1914-18 conflict.

30 April 2014, Wednesday, 6.30-8.00pm, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

Department of International History Roundtable III: Reappraising the First World War: the Legacy

Speakers: Dr Bill Kissane, Dr Svetozar Rajak, Professor Max Schulze, Professor Alan Sked, Professor Sӧnke Neitzel
Chair: Professor David Stevenson

As part of the events connected with the First World War centenary, the Department of International History organized a series of roundtable discussions on the war. This event assessed the impact and the aftermath of the war on the British Isles and Continental Europe, as well as the links between the First and Second World Wars.

29 April 2014, Tuesday, 6.30-8.00pm, Hong Kong Theatre, LSE

Department of International History in association with The Churchill Centre (UK) Public Debate: Churchill and Leadership: Constructing a Political Icon

Speakers: Professor Richard Toye, Lord Alan Watson and Dr Lucy Noakes
Chair: Dr Antony Best

Winston Churchill remains one of the most prominent British leaders in history. This event explored the political, strategic, and personal dimensions of Churchill's approach to leadership.

Listen to recording

5 March 2014, Wednesday, 6.30-8.00pm, Wolfson Theatre, LSE

Department of International History Roundtable II: Reappraising the First World War: Global War

Participants: Dr Antony Best, Dr Paul Mulvey, Professor David Stevenson

As part of the events connected with the First World War centenary, the Department of International History has organized a series of roundtable discussions on the war. This was the second roundtable on the subject which assessed the First World War’s importance in global history, and as a turning point in Europe’s relations with the wider world.