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 Afghanistan and Iraq, climate change and internet surveillance to family dynamics, alcohol consumption and health reforms. For historians interested in submitting a paper, please see the editorial guidelines.

Currently, 249 papers are freely searchable by theme, author or keyword, with new papers published regularly. Where possible, we publish papers to coincide with relevant policy developments. If you are a policy maker, civil society practitioner or journalist and would like to contact one of our historians, please contact historyandpolicy@london.ac.uk.

You can download H&P policy papers directly from the Apple iBooks store to your iPhone, iPad or Mac. We also have an Amazon Kindle version to download to your PC for transfer to your Kindle via USB cable. Please consult your Kindle manual for further details.

Historians and Think Tanks: Lessons from the U.S. Marketplace of Ideas

US think tanks, as intermediary organisations that have become highly efficient at funding themselves and marketing their experts, potentially offer lessons in how historians in the UK might communicate more effectively with policy makers. Yet American think tanks would themselves benefit from more actively harnessing academic expertise, as closer association with universities would help alleviate their financial vulnerabilities and enhance their public credibility.

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Criminalising Disease Transmission: Lessons from Soviet Approaches to Sexual Health

The transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) was criminalised in the Soviet Union. Sex education materials classified STIs as antisocial illnesses that were contracted by people engaged in deviant or immoral behaviour. The Soviet experience suggests that the stigmatisation of patients and criminalisation of disease transmission can disincentivise seeking treatment, impose barriers to accessing healthcare services, and contribute to rising rates of infection.

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Which way out of Ukraine - Versailles, Yalta or Vienna?

Russia’s renewed ‘great power’ approach to foreign policy – exemplified by Ukraine - should galvanise a rethink of European security institutions argues Dr Alexander Titov, of Queen's University, Belfast, who considers earlier models of international order for an inclusive and flexible new system. 

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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.

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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.

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Exit strategies in counter-insurgency: Britain in Aden and the lessons for Afghanistan

British forces' hurried and humiliating exit from Aden in 1967 shows the dangers of a highly politicised and hasty withdrawal from a complex counter-insurgency campaign, according to a new policy paper by Andrew Mumford, of Nottingham University. His analysis of British military operations in Aden during the 1962-67 civil war in South Arabia (modern-day Yemen) offers vital lessons for military and political leaders planning British forces' departure from Afghanistan.

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Britain’s ‘9/11 Wars’ in historical perspective: why change and continuity matter

Britain's involvement in the '9/11 Wars' has transformed the security landscape but history shows that 'new' adversaries are not that novel and share similarities with more familiar terrorist threats. Dr Aaron Edwards, of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, argues that a strategic analysis of the history of Irish republican terrorism, Al Qaeda affiliates and Britain's response to such adversaries, offers important insights for decision makers today.

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The Republican Party in defeat

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Winning 'hearts and minds': American imperial designs of the early twentieth and twenty-first centuries

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Genocide: twentieth-century warnings for the twenty-first century

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About Us

H&P is based at the Institute of Historical Research, Senate House, University of London.

We are the only project in the UK providing access to an international network of more than 500 historians with a broad range of expertise. H&P offers a range of resources for historians, policy makers and journalists.

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