Dr Alex  Mayhew

Dr Alex Mayhew

Assistant Professor

Department of International History

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Key Expertise
Modern Warfare; Military History; Morale

About me

Alex is an interdisciplinary historian of modern warfare. His first book, Making Sense of the Great War: Crisis, Englishness, and Morale, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2024. His work has also appeared in War in History, The Historical Journal, and The English Historical Review. He is interested in the ways in which individuals navigate crises during times of conflict. As a global event, which took place at a time where literacy had expanded exponentially, the First World War provides an excellent case study of this. Up to now, his work has explored soldiers’ morale, their sensemaking and psychologies, as well as their relationship with society and the environment. His next project will investigate perceptions of history – and how history was mobilized – in the era of the Great War. Alex’s work has been showcased in The Times, at several public events and festivals, on many podcasts, and in 2023 he appeared as an expert on the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are.

Alex completed his doctorate at the LSE funded by an LSE PhD scholarship between 2014-2018 and an international scholarship prize from the Historial de la Grande Guerre, France. From 2018 to 2021, he worked as an LSE Fellow for LSE100, helping to redesign the programme entirely in 2020-21. Following this, he was a Learning Developer in LSE LIFE, and in 2022 he moved to the University of Birmingham as an Assistant Professor in the Social and Cultural History of the First World War. Here he convened (and helped to design) an innovative MA in First World War Studies, which was taught at the National Army Museum.
He is also a passionate educator and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and has won or been nominated for several teaching awards. Alex is particularly interested in experiential learning opportunities so, in 2023-24, he successfully applied for money from the EDEN Centre to trial educational trips to the National Archives, Kew. Beyond the LSE, he is currently an external examiner on the MA (Distance Learning) in War Studies at King’s College London and has worked for numerous institutions as an educational consultant, aiding organisations in the development of courses on topics such as historical and academic skills, educational development, and sustainability. Recently, he has also worked with secondary educators at the PTI (formerly The Prince’s Trust) and on a Key Stage 2 project for BBC Bitesize, helping both to think about the teaching of the First World War in schools.

Other Titles: Departmental AI Lead.

Expertise Details

First World War; Modern Warfare; Military Morale; National Identity; Modern Britain

News and Media

  1. LSE’s Research for the World – 19 March 2024 

           Alex’s research was showcased on the LSE’s digital magazine Research for the World in March 2024 ahead of the publication of his book.

  1. Who Do You Think You Are, BBC Television, 20 July 2023 

    Alex was an expert on series 20 of the BBC’s flagship family history programme where he helped comedian Chris Ramsey uncover his great-grandfather’s experiences on the Western Front during the First World War.   

  1. Morale in the BEF on the Western Front, 1917-1918, Combat Morale Podcast, Season 2 Ep. 3, 29 June 2023 

    Alex talks about his research into the morale of the British soldier in the final 18 months of the Great War. He and the host talk about their respective perspectives on morale and motivation of the British soldier in the last two years of the war. They consider the respective importance of hope, small group cohesion, social norms, junior leadership, and ideology. 

  1. The State of Great War Scholarship, Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, Ep. 300, 15 May 2023 with Prof. John Bourne and Prof. Jonathan Boff

    Alex joins Prof. John Bourne and Prof. Jonathan Boff (both of the University of Birmingham) to discuss the current state of academic research on the First World War.  

  1. Invited Speaker, ‘WW1 and WW2 through a different lens’, CPD Subject Day, The PTI, 17 March 2023 

    Alex was invited to contribute to a PTI subject day. He ran a lecture and workshop in which he and a group of secondary school teachers considered how to teach the history of the First World War in new and exciting ways.  

  1. Invited Speaker, ‘Love and War’, In Conversation with JC Niala, PoliNations Festival, Birmingham, 4 September 2022

    Alex took part in a lunchtime talk hosted by Claire Ratinon at PoliNations Festival, Birmingham. Alongside JC Niala he discussed how people draw closer to nations in times of crisis, be they pandemics or war.   

  1. Morale in the British Army during 1917 and 1918, Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, ep. 267, 8 August 2022

    Alex talked about his research into the morale of the British soldier in the final 18 months of the Great War.  

  1. Invited Speaker, Fig.studio presents - JC Niala: 1918 Allotment, TORCH Oxford and Art Council England, Oxford, 19 March 2022

    This event marked the launch of JC Niala’s book of poetry entitled ‘Portal: 1918 Allotment’ which comprised poetic, photographic and narrative domentation of her project recreating a 1918 style allotment in Oxford. As one of the speakers at the event, Alex explored allotments, vegetable shows, and coping during the Great War.   

  1. ‘A Noisy Noise Annoys an Oyster’, Podcast from the Past, Season 4 ep. 22, 26 January 2022

    Alex and fellow historian Karen Averby joined Tom Jackson to discuss the postcards from their pasts. We meet the Brummies of North Devon, Pete Seeger and Joan Baez at the Albert Hall, Mr George next door, and look for a better picture of ruins. Taking a closer look at the postcards of the First World War and seaside Grand Hotels, our guests share cards from their collections.   

  1. ‘Alex Mayhew on British WW1 Wartime Myths’, Real Time History Podcast, Episode 4, 15 July 2021

    Alex joins the Real Time History Podcast discusses how British ‘myths’ of the First World War formed. Some are fabrications, others are the product of more modern concerns and retrospections, whilst the origin of others can be found in the experience of 1917 in Belgium and France.  

  1. ‘British Army Allotments during the First World War’, The Times and Times Radio, 3 February 2021. 

    Alex’s research into the proliferation of allotments and vegetable shows on the Western Front was covered by The Times’ historical correspondent and Times Radio. 

  1. ‘Making Sense of the Western Front: English Infantrymen’s Morale and Perception of Crisis during the First World War,’ Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast, ep. 115, 27 May 2018. 

    Alex joined the Mentioned in Dispatches Podcast to discuss English infantryman’s morale and perception of crisis on the Western Front.  



  • Making Sense of the Great War: Crisis, Englishness, and Morale on the Western Front (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2024). Read more about this project in LSE’s Research for the World.
  • ‘English Patriotism and the Implicit Nation: Homelands and Soldiers’ National Identity during the Great War’, English Historical Review, cead180 (2024). Open Access – read here.
  • ‘British Expeditionary Force Vegetable Shows, Allotment Culture, and Life Behind the Lines during the Great War’, Historical Journal, Vol. 64 Issue 5 (Dec. 2021), pp. 1355-1378. This article was showcased in the The Times, on Times Radio, and in LSE’s Research for the World. Open Access – read here.
  • ‘A War Imagined: Postcards and the Maintenance of Long-Distance Relationships during the Great War’, War in History, Vol. 28 Issue 2 (April 2021), pp. 301-332.
  • ‘Hoping for Victorious Peace: Morale and Perceptions of the Future on the Western Front’, in A. Luptak, H. Smyth and L. Halewood (eds.), War Time: First World War Perspectives on Temporality (Abingdon, 2018). Included as one of five ‘key chapters’ from across Routledge’s publications for the 2018 centenary. 


Dr. Alex Mayhew  teaches the following courses in the Department:

Course Convenor

HY226 The Greater War c. 1912-1923.

HY4C1 Fighting and Enduring the Great War.


HY116 International Politics since 1914: Peace and War

HY120 Historical Approaches to the Modern World

LSE100 The LSE Course


  • 2022 Dennis Showalter Lecture for an Emerging Scholar, International Society for First World War Studies 

  • 2021 Highly Commended. LSE Excellence in Education Award, Department of International History.  

  • 2021 Shortlisted. LSE Student Led Teaching Awards: Inspirational Teaching & Exceptional Teaching in an Unprecedented Year 

  • 2020 Shortlisted. LSE Student Led Teaching Awards: Sharing Subject Knowledge & Mentoring and Personal Development 

  • 2017 Bourse Gerda Henkel du Centre International de Recherche de l’Historial de la Grande Guerre, France. 

  • 2017 LSE Class Teacher Award 

  • 2014-18 LSE PhD Scholarship 2013 Brewer Prize for Modern History, King’s College London