Portrait of Dr Aurelie Basha i Novosejt

Dr Aurelie Basha i Novosejt

Lecturer in American history


Dr Aurelie Basha completed her undergraduate studies and PhD at the London School of Economics in the International History department and has a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. She was a Fellow at the London School of Economics and spent several years working in policy and philanthropy, before coming to the School of History at Kent in 2018.

Research interests

To date, Aurelie’s research has concentrated on the history of US national security policy in the Cold War, with a focus on the Vietnam War, civil–military relations and the interaction of defence policy with economics. Her upcoming book (2019) looks at Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara’s role in the Vietnam War. 

Aurelie has received a number of grants and fellowships for her research, including a Majorie Kovler Fellowship from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, a George C. Marshall/Baruch Fellowship and a Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library Foundation grant.


Aurelie teaches on American history from 1880 onwards.


Aurelie is happy to supervise dissertations on 20th-century US political and military history.



  • Basha i Novosejt, A. (2019). Breaking Ranks: Robert McNamara, Adam Yarmolinsky, and the Montreal Speech. Diplomatic History [Online] 43:493-516. Available at: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/dh/dhy091.
    On May 18, 1966, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara delivered a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors in Montreal entitled “Security in the Contemporary World.” Building on remarks that he had made in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC), the title was deceptively bland and belied its significance. McNamara, heretofore loyal to Johnson, was publicly breaking ranks with official administration policy on Vietnam. In the weeks prior, back in the Pentagon, McNamara had considered and authorized the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s (JCS) proposals, which National Security Advisor Walt W. Rostow had endorsed, to expand Operation...
  • Basha i Novosejt, A. (2018). C. Douglas Dillon, President Kennedy’s Economic Envoy. The International History Review [Online] 40:231-252. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/07075332.2017.1313297.
    This article focuses on President John F. Kennedy’s Secretary of the Treasury, C. Douglas Dillon and contends that he played an important part in sustaining the political cooperation that underpinned the Bretton-Woods system during one of its first crisis points. Rather than focus solely on structural, economic trends, the article suggests that individual actors mattered as well. As a bipartisan figure that was well-regarded in Europe, Dillon was able to act effectively as an envoy to the private sector, principally Wall Street, and to France, which both threatened the stability of the dollar. The article explores Dillon’s role in shaping Kennedy’s economic policies in a more conservative direction than his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, and in his external efforts to garner support for the Democratic administration.


  • Basha i Novosejt, A. (2019). ‘I Made Mistakes’: Robert McNamara’s Vietnam War Policy, 1960–1968. [Online]. Cambridge University Press. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108234108.
    Speaking to an advisor in 1966 about America's escalation of forces in Vietnam, Secretary of Defence Robert S. McNamara confessed: 'We've made mistakes in Vietnam … I've made mistakes. But the mistakes I made are not the ones they say I made'. In 'I Made Mistakes', Aurélie Basha i Novosejt provides a fresh and controversial examination of Secretary of Defence Robert S. McNamara's decisions during the Vietnam War. Although McNamara is remembered as the architect of the Vietnam War, Novosejt draws on new sources - including the diaries of his advisor and confidant John T. McNaughton - to reveal a man who resisted the war more than most. As Secretary of Defence, he did not want the costs of the war associated with a new international commitment in Vietnam, but he sacrificed these misgivings to instead become the public face of the war out of a sense of loyalty to the President.


  • Basha i Novosejt, A. (2016). Mitchell B. Lerner (ed.), A Companion to Lyndon B. Johnson. Journal of Contemporary History [Online] 51:202-204. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022009415620132h.
  • Basha i Novosejt, A. (2012). John McMillian, Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America. Journal of Contemporary History [Online] 47:908-910. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0022009412450827l.


  • Basha i Novosejt, A. (2020). Searching for Bob McNamara. Passport: The Newsletter of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Review [Online]. Available at: https://shafr.org/publications/review.
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