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This research group brings together scholars, students and practitioners of international relations to help better understand the nature and ways of both international history and contemporary security challenges. Launched in February 2014 with the inaugural lecture given by the Lord Powell of Bayswater (Margaret Thatcher’s private secretary on foreign affairs) the group has since hosted lectures and seminars by Sir David Omand (former head of GCHQ); Professor Luke Nichter of Texas A & M University; and, as part of the annual Congress to Campus event, two former Representatives to the US Congress: Dennis M Hertel (D-MI) and Claudine Schneider (R-RI). A number of forthcoming lectures, seminars and workshops are planned for the forthcoming years.
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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483706
Dr Robb is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a historian of international relations. His research centres upon the diplomatic and military history of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. He is the co-founder and currently the Director of the International History and Grand Strategy Research Group in the Department. His work has appeared in the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations journal, Diplomatic History as well as within the International History Review; Contemporary British History; Diplomacy and Statecraft; the Journal of Cold War Studies and Journal of Strategic Studies. His most recent work has analysed the Anglo-American "special relationship" during the era of detente, 1969-81 which has led to the publication of two monographs: A Strained Partnership? US-UK relations in the era of detente, 1969-99 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2013); Jimmy Carter and the Anglo-American special relationship (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2016). Currently Dr Robb is working upon a number of projects including a new book on U.S. and British strategic rivalry during the early years of the Cold War which focuses on the Asian-Pacific region. Dr Robb is also conducting work into a broader study on U.S. grand strategy from the end of the U.S. Civil War to the end of the First World War.
The majority of scholarly accounts suggest that Anglo-Americans throughout the era of détente, 1969–1977, were often fraught with difficulties. In particular, the relationship between the Nixon administration and the British government of Edward Heath is often seen as the nadir for the Anglo-American relationship during the Cold War. Nonetheless, elements of the Anglo-American “special relationship,” particularly those related to intelligence and nuclear co-operation, are often seen by scholars to have operated outside of these wider political difficulties. By utilising recently declassified documentation from both U.S. and UK archives, it is shown that both intelligence and nuclear co-operation were continually used by the United States as a means of convincing London to follow more amenable policy lines. With Henry Kissinger very much to the fore, it is illustrated how this coercive diplomacy had mixed results in achieving what Washington desired. Ultimately, this policy line would not accomplish what its main adherent, Henry Kissinger, sought.
Activities outside the University include appearing on radio broadcasts on BBC Radio 4.