Kuwait and liberal interventionism

This : Presentation 11 (1) is the slideshow from our class on liberal interventionism, including the UK’s involvement in Kuwait and Sierra Leone.

Tony Blair came to dominate and shape foreign policy making as much as Thatcher had during her own premiership. His own account is readable enough, but a book by John Kampfner published not long after the 2003 invasion gives a really engaging (and sometimes devastating) account of how British forces came to be involved in Africa, Kosovo and the Middle East after 1997. It’s a great read.


The UK in the European arena

Here are the slides from the class about Europe – we’ll no doubt be returning to this subject in our last get-together…

There are plenty of books out there about the EU – generally they are clearly either firmly for or against Britain’s membership (Foyles on Charing Cross Road has a table of such books set out in the foyer at the moment). For a more neutral account of the history, Andrew Geddes’ book is comprehensive and interesting.

The end of the Cold War

This documentary series was made by CNN in the mid-90s and is an epic look at the whole era from a slight focus on the western point of view. It makes good use of contemporary footage and for this class episode 23 is the one you want.

There are a wealth of interesting books on the subject – this list from the Guardian earlier this year has mainly fiction, but number 2 is a great overview and number 5 concentrates on the UK’s approach to Cold War defence and makes interesting and often disconcerting reading. Here’s an article about Thatcher and the end of the Cold War.

Gorbachev and Thatcher both wrote memoirs that set out their own views (not least on each other!). But perhaps the best account is by a British historian who died earlier this year, Robert Service, who specialised in Russian history.

The slides are here.



Thatcher and the Falklands war

Here are the slides from our first class. I’ll put these up every week.

The documentary on the 1983 war can be found here – it’s a couple of hours long but really worth watching.

Margeret Thatcher gives her account of the war in her autobiography, The Downing Street Years. There’s plenty of books about the war – this one published shortly afterwards is by Max Hastings, who played a bit part himself as a gung-ho journalist.

This is another interesting one by a British historian concentrating on the Argentine military story.


Week 5 – East of Suez

On the British withdrawal from Aden, Without Glory In Arabia gives a good insight into the politics surronding the events – but also gives a lot of space to the first-hand stories of British soldiers who were there at the time.

There’s also Britain’s Withdrawal from East of Suez, a more thorough and academic study.

But for a wider history of oil, the west and the Middle East, you cannot do better than David Yergin’s The Prize, a book published in 1990. It was made into a really excellent 8-part documentary series, handily available on YouTube. Here’s episode 6 on the 1960s.

Here are the slides from this week. And here, with apologies for delay, are the slides from the Europe class last week.

Week 4 – Going into Europe

One of the UK’s leading constitutional scholars (and David Cameron’s old tutor) is Vernon Bogdanor who gave a lecture a few years ago about the early years of European integration.

Britain and Europe since 1945, by Alex May, gives a good clear overview of British policy towards Europe in the first 55 years since the War.

Finally, the man who signed the treaty bringing us into Europe – prime minister Ted Heath – devoted several chapters to the positive arguments for integration in his autobiography, The Course of My Life.

Week 3 – the special relationship

Here are the slides from this week’s lecture.

Nearly 20 years ago, the BBC and CNN produced an epic, 24-part series on the Cold War – episodes 2 and 3 are particularly relevent to the UK in the early decades of the Cold War. You can find them all here. Each episode is 45 minutes long – and they’re really interesting.

We onnly touched on the problem of spying in the Foreign Office, but if you’re interested in learning more about the ‘old boys club’ FO in the 1950s, and about the effect of the spying revelations on civil servants, this half-hour Radio 4 documentary is for you.

There’s a list of books on the Cold War here published a few months ago in the Guardian. They’re mainly fiction/plays – Rayond Briggs’ When The Wind Blows is a graphic novel about a British couple trying to cope with the aftermath of a nuclear war. Number 5 on the list is The Secret State by Peter Hennessy which goes into the chilling details of the UK’s nuclear planning. All cheerful stuff!