Policy papers

History & Policy papers are written by expert historians, based on peer-reviewed research. They offer historical insights into current policy issues ranging from Iraq, ID cards and climate change to child maintenance and family dynamics. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

There are over 140 papers and they are all freely searchable by theme, author or keyword. New papers are published regularly and you can keep up to date by signing up to our monthly newsletter. Where possible, we publish new papers to coincide with relevant policy developments: for more information, see our news page.

If you are a policymaker or journalist and would like to contact a historian, please contact us.

Latest papers

Germany 1945-1949: a case study in post-conflict reconstruction

After making his famous speech to troops on Victory in Europe Day, 8 May 1945, Field-Marshall Montgomery directed Britain's 'benevolent occupation' of Germany. Chris Knowles, of the Institute of Contemporary British History at King's College London, examines the record of Montgomery and his successors in the British Zone, 1945-49, and considers the lessons for Britain in Afghanistan and Iraq today.

Published: January 2014

Health reforms, opinion polls and surveys: myths and realities

Attitudes to NHS reform today are shaped by a largely imagined past of poor healthcare prior to the NHS, according to Dr Nick Hayes in a new H&P policy paper. An Ipsos Mori poll in conjunction with King's College London confirmed Dr Hayes' research - finding a fear of reform, particularly the involvement of private providers in the NHS.

Published: December 2013

The break-up of Czechoslovakia and Scottish independence

As the White Paper Scotland's Future is published, Dr Kieran Williams, of Drake University, examines Czechoslovakia's 'Velvet Divorce' of 1992 to reflect on the major issues for Scottish independence today. He argues that dissolving a federation (to create the Czech and Slovak republics) is very different from removing one part of an ongoing union - Scotland gaining independence from the UK.

Published: November 2013

Surveillance, privacy and history

With the new Penny Post and Telegraph technology, the nineteenth century experienced a transformation in mass communications - and invented a problem that the early twenty-first century is struggling to resolve, as highlighted by the Edward Snowden revelations, according to Professor David Vincent, of the Open University.

Published: October 2013

Why have no bankers gone to jail?

Dr James Taylor argues that political will, not tougher legislation, is needed to restore trust in the City and the state. Effective legislation already exists - dating from the nineteenth century and strengthened since 1900, contrary to popular perceptions of the Victorian era's uncontrolled capitalism. The Victorians took transgression seriously - with important economic and social effects, which today's policy makers should be aware of.

Published: October 2013

Addressing food poverty in Ireland: historical perspectives

Debates about nutritional health in nineteenth and early twentieth century Ireland, a period of severe economic decline and poverty, offers food for thought for today's policy makers, argues Dr Ian Miller, of the University of Ulster.

Published: September 2013

Governments and 'soft power' in international affairs: Britain and the boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics

In 1980 an Olympic boycott offered a viable means of 'fighting' the Cold War but as Dr Paul Corthorn, of Queen's University Belfast, explains, this attempt at using 'soft power' failed because of mishandling by the Thatcher Government.

Published: August 2013

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