These introductions have been written by leading historians to offer overviews of key topics in British and world history alongside a carefully curated selection of documents from the Churchill Archive.

They are aligned with key topics on higher education courses and open up the Archive’s potential for wider research and study for students and academics alike.

Women and Social Change

Lucy Noakes, University of Brighton

Here we focus on some of the resources that the Churchill Archive offers to social historians, particularly those interested in women, gender roles and social change in the first half of the twentieth century. Beginning with a brief overview of some of the major social changes of this period, we highlight some areas of the collection that are particularly relevant. These include ‘Women and Education’, ‘Women in the Workforce’ and ‘Women and the Military’. Unsurprisingly, the collection has particular strengths for the researcher interested in women’s changing roles in wartime, and for material relating to Women’s Suffrage, which Churchill first supported and then opposed.

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The Cold War and Nuclear Weapons

Kevin Ruane, Canterbury Christ Church University

Here we have gathered together some of the resources that the Churchill Archive offers to students and historians of the Second World War, the Cold War and the origins of the East-West nuclear arms race. The career of Winston Churchill, as both war leader and Cold Warrior, binds the resources together, but the documents we have picked out are not only of great interest in their own right but shed important light on some of the key episodes in twentieth century international history.

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Empire and Imperialism

Richard Toye, University of Exeter

Focussing on Empire and Imperialism, we’ve gathered together here relevant material within the Archive. The overview summarises the distinction between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ types of Empire and also discusses the concept of ‘neo-imperialism’. It outlines some key aspects of Churchill’s involvement in the British Empire, ranging from his participation in minor colonial wars as a soldier and journalist, to his campaign against reform in India in the 1930s, to his policies as both Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition in the 1940s and 1950s, before highlighting materials in the Churchill Archive collection that are pertinent to the topic.

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Nick Lloyd, King’s College London

The appeasement of Germany is one of the most important periods in the history of the twentieth century. It is, in many ways, still inseparable from the life and reputation of Winston Churchill, whose campaign against Adolf Hitler, and his regular warnings about German motives, proved unerringly correct. Not only did he help to reveal the true extent of Nazi barbarity, but his firm leadership also helped prepare Britain for the inevitable struggle against the Third Reich.

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Science and Technology

Graham Farmelo, Churchill College, University of Cambridge

The rate of scientific development in the twentieth century was remarkable. Not only were scientists utilising the energy from the atom less than fifty years after its discovery, but the science of genetics began, along with quantum theory and relativity. Scientists were gaining an increasingly deep understanding of their world, and what could be achieved. These vast technological and scientific advances enabled giant leaps in industry and warfare, including the creation of the most destructive weapons the world had ever seen.

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The Century of the 'Special Relationship': Britain and America in the Age of Churchill

David Woolner, Roosevelt Institute

For much of the twentieth century, Great Britain and the United States enjoyed what came to be known as “the special relationship”— a unique bond of trust and cooperation on the world stage made manifest through the two countries battle against fascism in the 1940s, close cooperation in the decades-long struggle of the Cold War, and in more recent years by the two nation’s joint struggle against international terrorism. Such was not always the case.

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The Origins of the First World War

William Mulligan, UCD Centre for War Studies

In the years before the outbreak of the First World War, Churchill came to play an increasingly important role in shaping British foreign and naval policy. Appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in October 1911, Churchill was primarily concerned with the Anglo-German naval race. The archive documents his efforts to improve Anglo-German relations, his belief in deterrence, and his role in the July crisis.

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