Portrait of Professor Ulf Schmidt

Professor Ulf Schmidt

Professor of Modern History
REF Coordinator


Professor Ulf Schmidt is the Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine, Ethics and Medical Humanities at the University of Kent, and principal investigator of the Porton Down Project on the history of chemical warfare research during the Cold War. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and was previously Wellcome Trust Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, and Senior Associate Member of St Antony's College, Oxford University. 

Research interests

Ulf's work has looked at the history of European eugenics and racial hygiene, especially in relation to Germany and Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the history of the Nazi 'euthanasia' programme, the killing of mentally and handicapped patients during the Third Reich. He has published widely on the history of medicine during the Third Reich, the history of human experimentation, the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial and the Nuremberg Code, and the history of medical film and propaganda. 

Ulf's work is embedded in the historiographical tradition of social and political historians, historians of medicine and medical humanities as well as scholars of cultural history and history of science. 

Published in 2004, Justice at Nuremberg uses hitherto unpublished archival sources and newly discovered diaries. The book looks at the role of Allied war crimes investigators such as Leo Alexander in the context of the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial which prosecuted German doctors for their involvement in medical atrocities.

In two jointly edited volumes on the history and theory of human experimentation, published in 2007, he and Andreas Frewer also examined the origins and influence of the Declaration of Helsinki in an international context. A multi-authored edited volume on “Ethical Research: The Declaration of Helsinki—Past, Present and Future of Human Experimentation” is currently in preparation with Oxford University Press. 

In 2007, Ulf published Karl Brandt. The Nazi Doctor. Medicine and Power in the Third Reich, the first full-scale biography of Hitler's doctor, one of the most powerful figures of the Third Reich. In this biography, Ulf explored in detail that Brandt belonged to a generation of a young “expert elite”, who in the 1930s and 1940s were willing, and empowered, to support and conceive an oppressive, militarist, and racist government policy, and ultimately turn its exterminatory potential into reality.

In 2015, he published Secret Science: A Century of Poison Warfare and Human Experiments. The book traces, for the first time, the history of chemical and biological weapons research by the former Allied powers, particularly in Britain, the United States and Canada. It charts the ethical trajectory and culture of military science, from its initial development in response to Germany’s first use of chemical weapons in the First World War to the ongoing attempts by the international community to ban these types of weapons once and for all.


In 2004 Ulf was appointed by HM Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon as one of the principal expert witnesses on informed consent in the inquest into the death of Leading Aircraftman Ronald Maddison, a British serviceman, who died after being exposed to the nerve agent sarin in 1953. 

In 2007 Ulf was part of an expert team to mediate between the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Porton Down Veterans Support Group (PDVSG) to create a compensation scheme for human experiments conducted on UK soldiers during the 20th century. In January 2008, the UK government announced a comprehensive compensation scheme for the veterans.

Since 2017, Ulf has been an ongoing participant in debates about the role of academia and the public sphere in the control of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) and has spoken numerous times to the Conference of State Parties at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. He is co-chair of the annual Kent Forum for CBW control and prevention, an organisation dedicated to bringing together experts in the field and academic subject specialists to inform public debate and policy decision-making.

Together with the Irish photographer Dara McGrath, Ulf is the organiser of the national travelling exhibition 'This Poisoned Isle'. The exhibition explores landscapes that were once at the heart of Britain's chemical warfare programme. For further information see https://poisoned-isle.com/


Showing 50 of 62 total publications in the Kent Academic Repository. View all publications.


  • Schmidt, U. (2015). Secret Science: A Century of Poison Warfare and Human Experiments. [Online]. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Available at: http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199299799.do.
  • Schmidt, U. (2009). Hitlers Arzt Karl Brandt: Medizin Und Macht Im Dritten Reich. Aufbau Verlag.
  • Schmidt, U. (2007). Karl Brandt, the Nazi Doctor: Medicine and Power in the Third Reich. London, UK: Continuum.
  • Frewer, A. (2007). Standards Der Forschung. Historische Entwicklung Und Ethische Grundlagen Klinischer Studien. Peter Lang.
  • Schmidt, U. (2004). Justice at Nuremberg: Leo Alexander and the Nazi Doctors’ Trial. UK: Palgrave/Macmillan.
  • Schmidt, U. (2002). Medical Films, Ethics and Euthanasia in Germany, 1933-1945. Germany: Husum, Matthiesen.

Edited book

  • Connelly, M., Schmidt, U. and Goebel, S. (2019). Propaganda and Conflict: War, Media and Shaping the Twentieth Century. [Online]. Connelly, M. L., Fox, J., Schmidt, U. and Goebel, S. P. eds. Bloomsbury Academic. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/propaganda-and-conflict-9781788314039/.
  • Schmidt, U. and Frewer, A. (2014). Forschung Als Herausforderungen für Ethik Und Menschenrechte. 50 Jahre Deklaration Von Helsinki, 1964-2014. [Online]. Schmidt, U. and Frewer, A. eds. Koln: Deutscher Ärzteverlag. Available at: https://www.brocher.ch/en/publications/forschung-als-herausforderungen-fur-ethik-und-menschenrechte-50-jahre-deklaration-von-helsinki-1964-2014/.
    How can we best protect human participants and vulnerable populations in an increasingly complex and global research environment? In the 21st century many scientific questions will have to be tackled and hopefully be solved through a process involving studies on human participants. At the same time, we need to recognise that we have seen unprecedented breaches of medical morality and human rights in the field of human experiments during the preceding 20th century. For the last 50 years, the Declaration of Helsinki has attempted to serve as a landmark to guide research and science, medical ethics and law, patients and politics. The present Yearbook aims to contribute to a deeper understanding about the historical developments which have shaped research on humans in the past, and thus create greater ethical sensitivity in the conduct of scientific studies in the future. It does so by bringing together the work of leading experts from the fields of bioethics, the medical sciences, philosophy and history on a subject of individual and collective significance.
  • Schmidt, U. and Frewer, A. eds. (2007). History and Theory of Human Experimentation: The Declaration of Helsinki and Modern Medical Ethics. Vol. 2. Stuttgard: Franz Steiner Verlag.
    Despite having been revised and criticised over the years, the Declaration of Helsinki remains one of the most important and internationally known ethics codes world-wide. Yet we know relatively little about its historical origins or about the prolonged revision process which accompanied this "living document". The chapters presented in this volume look at the history and theory of human experimentation, assess the role of the Declaration of Helsinki in an international context, and illustrate specific issues about the history and practice of research ethics through a number of case studies in the United States, Asia and Europe.


  • Schmidt, U. (2019). Creating a ‘FatherConfessor’: the origins of research ethics committees in UK military medical research, 1950–1970. Part II, origins and organisation. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps [Online] 165:291-297. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/jramc-2019-001207.
    Using a major ethics crisis as a methodological approach to study secret science environments, part II examines the origins and organisation of the Applied Biology Committee (ABC), the first independent research ethics committee (REC) at Porton Down, Britain’s biological and chemical warfare establishment since the First World War. Although working in great secrecy, the UK military, and Porton in particular, did not operate in a social, political and legal vacuum. Paradigm shifts in civilian medical ethics, or public controversy about atomic, chemical and biological weapons, could thus influence Porton’s self-perception and the conduct of its research. The paper argues that the creation of the first REC at Porton in 1965, that is, the ABC, as the ‘ father confessor ’ inside the UK’s military research establishment reflected a broader paradigm shift in the field of human research ethics in the mid-1960s.
  • Schmidt, U. (2019). Creating a ‘FatherConfessor’: the origins of research ethics committees in UK military medical research, 1950–1970. Part I, context and causes. Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps [Online] 165:284-290. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/jramc-2019-001206.
    Part I provides the historiographical context and examines the causes which led to the creation of the first independent research ethics committee (REC) at Porton Down, Britain’s biological and chemical warfare establishment, in operation since the First World War. The papers in part I and part II argue that the introduction of RECs in the UK stemmed from concerns about legal liability and research ethics among scientists responsible for human experiments, and from the desire of the UK military medical establishment to create an external organisation which would function both as an ‘ internal space ’ for ethical debate and as an ‘ external body ’ to share moral and legal responsibility. The paper asks: What factors were responsible for causing military scientists and government officials to contemplate the introduction of formalised structures for ethical review within the UK military? It argues that Porton may have been exempt from public scrutiny, but it was not above the law of the land. By the mid-1960s evidence of serious ill effects among staff members and service personnel involved in tests could no longer be ignored. Whereas the security of the British realm had previously trumped almost any other argument in contentious debates about chemical warfare, the role of medical ethics suddenly moved to the forefront of Porton’s deliberations, so much so that tests with incapacitants were temporarily suspended in 1965. It was this crisis, examined in detail in part II, which functioned as a catalyst for the creation of the Applied Biology Committee as the responsible body, and first point of call, for authorising human experiments at Porton Down.
  • Schmidt, U. (2013). Ohne Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben. Hitlers Arzt Karl Brandt. Damals [Online]:24-29. Available at: http://www.damals.de/de/16/Ohne-Ehrfurcht-vor-dem-Leben.html?issue=189357&aid=189838&cp=1&action=showDetails.
  • Schmidt, U. (2007). Turning the history of medical ethics from its head onto its feet: A critical commentary on Baker and McCullough. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 17:31-42.
    The paper provides a critical commentary on the article by Baker and McCullough on Medical Ethic's Appropriation of Moral Philosophy. The author argues that Baker and McCullough offer a more "pragmatic" approach to the history of medical ethics that has the potential to enrich the bioethics field with a greater historical grounding and sound methodology. Their approach can help us to come to a more nuanced understanding about the way in which medical ethics has connected, disconnected, and reconnected with philosophical ideas throughout the centuries. The author points out that Baker and McCullough's model can run the danger of overemphasizing the role of medical ethicists whilst marginalizing the influence of philosophers and of other historical actors and forces. He critically reviews the two case studies on which Baker and McCullough focus and concludes that scholars need to bear in mind the levels of uncertainty and ambivalence that accompany the process of transformation and dissemination of moral values in medicine and medical practice.
  • Schmidt, U. (2006). Cold War at Porton Down: Informed Consent in Britain’s Biological and Chemical Warfare Experiments. Cambridge Quarterly for Healthcare Ethics [Online] 15:366-380. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0963180106060488.
    In 2004, the author was appointed historical expert to HM Coroner for Wiltshire and Swindon in the Inquest looking into the death of Ronald George Maddison. Unless stated otherwise, the material presented derives from the "Exhibits" that were supplied to the interested parties and from the Inquest "Transcript."
  • Schmidt, U. (2005). The Scars of Ravensbrück: Medical Experiments and British War Crimes Policy, 1945-1950. German History 23:20-49.
  • Schmidt, U. (2002). Medicina e Nazismo. Sistema Salute 2:9-18.
  • Schmidt, U., Frewer, A., Gottschalk, K., Malzig, U. and Zimmermann, V. (2001). Zwangsarbeit und Medizin im “Dritten Reich". Deutsches Ärzteblatt [Online]:2866-2870. Available at: http://www.aerzteblatt.de/archiv/29235/Geschichte-und-Ethik-der-Medizin-Zwangsarbeit-und-Medizin-im-Dritten-Reich.
  • Schmidt, U. (2001). Der medizinische Forschungsfilm im Dritten Reich: Seine Institutionalisierung, politische Funktion und ethische Dimension. Zeitgeschichte 4:200-214.
  • Schmidt, U. (2001). Discussing Slave Labourers in Nazi Germany: Topography of Research or Politics of Memory?. German History [Online] 19:408-417. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/026635501680193933.

Book section

  • Connelly, M., Fox, J., Schmidt, U. and Goebel, S. (2019). Power and persuasion: Propaganda into the twenty-first century. In: Connelly, M. L., Fox, J., Schmidt, U. and Goebel, S. P. eds. Propaganda and Conflict: War, Media and Shaping the Twentieth Century. Bloomsbury Academic. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/propaganda-and-conflict-9781788314039/.
  • Farley, J. (2019). From Civil War to Cold War: The Model Worker in Chinese film propaganda. In: Schmidt, U., Connelly, M. L., Goebel, S. P. and Fox, J. eds. Propaganda and Conflict: War, Media and Shaping the Twentieth Century. Bloomsbury, pp. 253-269. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781788316736.ch-012.
  • Connelly, M., Fox, J., Schmidt, U. and Goebel, S. (2019). Introduction [part I to III]. In: Connelly, M. L., Fox, J., Schmidt, U. and Goebel, S. P. eds. Propaganda and Conflict: War, Media and Shaping the Twentieth Century. Bloomsbury Academic. Available at: https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/propaganda-and-conflict-9781788314039/.
  • Anderson, J. (2019). The Undefeated: Propaganda, rehabilitation and post-war Britain. In: Connelly, M. L., Fox, J., Goebel, S. and Schmidt, U. eds. Propaganda and Conflict: War, Media and Shaping the Twentieth Century. Bloomsbury, pp. 209-229. Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781788316736.ch-010.
    Julie Anderson In 1950, newspapers announced the release of the film The Undefeated, a documentary which focussed on the state’s support for disabled ex-servicemen. Commissioned by the Ministry of Pensions and produced by the Central Office of Information (COI) , the film centred on a pilot who became disabled as a result of injuries sustained in a wartime glider accident. The film follows ‘Joe Anderson’s’ journey from hospital to workplace through the rehabilitation process, highlighting the Ministry of Pensions’ work and the state’s responsibility to its war wounded. This chapter explores post-war British propaganda in film and focusses on The Undefeated to examine the series of relationships between the state, the public and information programmes. Starting with the seminal work of David Welch, historians have explored war and film propaganda during the Second World War, demonstrating that the relationship between propaganda and the state was often highly complex. Welch observes...
  • Schmidt, U. (2017). Preparing for Poison Warfare: The Ethics and Politics of Britain’s Chemical Weapons Program, 1915–1945. In: One Hundred Years of Chemical Warfare: Research, Deployment, Consequences. Springer, pp. 77-104. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-51664-6_6.
    Allied political and military leaders have frequently been credited both with considerable foresight and with strategic and moral leadership for avoiding chemical warfare during the Second World War. Scholars have not, however, fully acknowledged how close Allied forces came to launching a full-scale chemical onslaught in various theatres of war. The paper offers a thorough reconstruction of Allied chemical warfare planning which takes a close look at the development of Britain’s chemical weapons program since the First World War. The findings suggest that no “lack of preparedness,” as it existed in the initial stages of the conflict in 1939/1940, would have deterred the Allies from launching chemical warfare if the military situation had required it. Allied forces were planning to launch retaliatory chemical warfare ever since they had been attacked with chlorine gas in 1915. Just War theorists at first opposed the use of this new weapon and campaigned for an internationally enforced legal ban. The paper argues, however, that post-war military and political exigencies forced the advocates of the Just War tradition to construct new arguments and principles which would make this type of war morally and militarily acceptable. The paper explores the ways in which military strategists, scientists, and government officials attempted to justify the development, possession, and use of chemical weapons, and contextualizes Britain’s delicate balancing act between deterrence and disarmament in the interwar period.
  • Schmidt, U. (2015). Geschichte und Ethik in der DDR-Medizin. In: Medizinethik in Der DDR. Moralische Und Menschenrechtliche Fragen Im Gesundheitswesen. Franz Steiner Verlag, pp. 205-211.
  • Schmidt, U. and Wahl, M. (2014). Ärzte hinter dem Eisernen Vorhang: Medizinethische Diskurse und die Deklaration von Helsinki in der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik, 1961-1989. In: Forschung Als Herausforderungen für Ethik Und Menschenrechte. 50 Jahre Deklaration Von Helsinki, 1964-2014. Jahrbuch Medizinethik, pp. 71-86.
  • Schmidt, U. and Frewer, A. (2014). Geschichte und Ethik der Humanforschung. 50 Jahre Deklaration von Helsinki. Zur Einführung. In: Forschung Als Herausforderungen für Ethik Und Menschenrechte. 50 Jahre Deklaration Von Helsinki, 1964-2014. Jahrbuch Medizinethik, pp. 9-13.
  • Schmidt, U. and Frewer, A. (2014). The Declaration of Helsinki as a Landmark for Research Ethics – Protecting Human Participants in Modern Medicine. In: The World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki, 1964-2014. 50 Years of Evolution of Medical Research Ethics. Koln: Deutscher Ärzteverlag, pp. 56-57.
  • Schmidt, U. (2014). Karl Brandt, médecin de Hitler. In: Une médecine De Mort. Du Code De Nuremberg à l’éthique médicale Contemporaine. Paris: Vendémiaire Éditions, pp. 55-68.
  • Schmidt, U. (2013). Accidents and Experiments: Nazi Chemical Warfare Research and Medical Ethics during the Second World War. In: Carrick, D. G. and Gross, M. L. eds. Military Medical Ethics for the 21st Century (Military and Defence Ethics). Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 225-244.
  • Schmidt, U. (2012). Justifying Chemical Warfare’. The Origins and Ethics of Britain’s Chemical Warfare Programme, 1915-1939. In: Welch, D. and Fox, J. eds. Justifying War: Propaganda, Politics and the Modern Age. Basingstoke: Palgrave, pp. 129-158.
  • Schmidt, U. (2012). Reflections on the Origins of the Declaration of Helsinki. In: Jahrbuch Medizinethik. Deutscher Ärzte Verlag.
  • Schmidt, U. (2011). "Holding One’s Breath": Reflections on the Origins of the Declaration of Helsinki. In: Die Deklaration Von Helsinki: Revisionen Und Kontroversen. Germany: Deutscher Ärzte Verlag, pp. 1-16.
  • Schmidt, U. (2011). "Holding Ones’ Breath": Reflections on the Origins of the Declaration of Helsinki. In: Ehni, H.-J. and Wiesing, U. eds. Jahrbuch Medizinethik. Deutscher Ärzte Verlag, pp. 1-17.
  • Schmidt, U. (2009). Medical Ethics and Nazism. In: McCullough, L. B. and Baker, R. eds. The Cambridge World History of Medical Ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 595-608.
  • Schmidt, U. (2008). The Scars of Ravensbrück: Medical Experiments and British War Crimes Policy, 1945-1950. In: Atrocities on Trial. Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting German War Crimes. University of Nebraska Press, pp. 123-157.
  • Schmidt, U. (2007). The Nuremberg Doctors’ Trial and the Nuremberg Code. In: History and Theory of Human Experimentation. The Declaration of Helsinki and Modern Medical Ethics. Franz Steiner, pp. 71-116.
  • Schmidt, U. (2007). Medical Ethics and Human Experimentation at Porton Down: Informed Consent in Britain’s Biological and Chemical Warfare Experiments. In: History and Theory of Human Experimentation. The Declaration of Helsinki and Modern Medical Ethics. Franz Steiner, pp. 283-313.
  • Schmidt, U. (2007). History and Ethics of Human Experimentation: The Twisted Road to Helsinki. In: History and Theory of Human Experimentation. The Declaration of Helsinki and Modern Medical Ethics. Franz Steiner, pp. 7-23.
  • Schmidt, U. (2007). Nuremberg Code of Medical Ethics: Geschichte und Ethik des Ärzteprozesses. In: Standards Der Forschung. Historische Entwicklung Und Ethische Grundlagen Klinischer Studien. Peter Lang, pp. 37-73.
  • Schmidt, U. (2007). Zur Medizinethik des Humanexperiments. Standards und Stand der Forschung. In: Standards Der Forschung. Historische Entwicklung Und Ethische Grundlagen Klinischer Studien. Peter Lang, pp. 7-16.
  • Schmidt, U., Frewer, A. and Wolters, C. (2004). Hilfskräfte, Hausschwangere, Untersuchungsobjekte. Der Umgang mit Zwangsarbeitenden in der Universitätsfrauenklinik Göttingen. In: Medizin Und Zwangsarbeit Im Nationalsozialismus. Einsatz Und Behandlung Von “Ausländern” Im Gesundheitswesen. Campus Verlag.
  • Schmidt, U. (2001).Der Ärzteprozeß als moralische Instanz? Der Nürnberger Kodex und das Problem “zeitloser Medizinethik.” In: Medizingeschichte Und Medizinethik 1900 – 1950. Campus Fachbuch, pp. 334-373.


  • Schmidt, U. (2014). Review of Pathogens for War. Biological Weapons, Canadian Life Scientists, and North American Biodefence. Donald Avery. Social History of Medicine 27:827-829.
  • Schmidt, U. (2003). Review of Die Institutionalisierung der Medizinhistoriographie: Entwicklungslinien vom 19. ins 20. Jahrhundert. Social History of Medicine:147-148.
  • Schmidt, U. (2003). Review of Science in the Third Reich. History 88:170-171.


  • Moul, R. (2020). States of Emergency: Colonial Doctors, Violence, and the End of Empire in Kenya and Algeria, 1952-1962.
    Medical involvement in acts of violence, especially torture, seem irreconcilable with the ethics of professional conduct as reflected in The Hippocratic Oath and enshrined in post-war medical ethics codes and the human rights regime. Through a comparative assessment of doctors involved in the counterinsurgency campaigns in French Algeria and British Kenya during the 1950s, this thesis will demonstrate the varying degrees to which a range of medical experts came to actively or passively support the practice of torture and other forms of repressive violence in these colonial conflicts. Remarkably, the role medical professionals played in counterinsurgency efforts, especially in relation to actual violent practices during states of emergency, has received little cogent historical attention. This is especially true for the final years of the colonial era when both France and Britain encountered violent challenges to their rule. In these contexts, the colonial authorities used wide-ranging emergency powers to establish networks of detention centres, camps, and resettlement villages to interrogate and hold suspected 'terrorists' and troublesome populations. Within these centres, detainees experienced harsh conditions and a pervasive atmosphere of violence which was, to a lesser or greater degree, monitored and sustained by medical experts working for the colonial authorities.
    This thesis represents the first detailed comparative history of medical involvement in French and British counterinsurgency violence in Algeria and Kenya. It adopts a diachronic approach that examines the place of medicine and its practitioners within the wider social, economic and political milieu of the respective colonies and reveals them to be complex and deeply embedded social actors within these territories. As such, doctors working and living in the colonies had various personal stakes in the survival of the colonial order. These interests, this thesis argues, coupled with their loyalties to the colonial authorities, sometimes resulted in practitioners taking part in torture and other inhumane acts. To achieve this, the thesis utilises a range of recently declassified archives in both France and Britain, which allows it to unite multiple disparate historiographical trends related to colonial violence, medical participation in human rights violations, and the history of colonial medicine more generally. In particular, the study examines the concept of the 'dual loyalty dilemma' to assess the various pressures that may have led doctors to participate in violence. The findings of this work highlight the importance local factors on the ground played in shaping the conduct and extent to which a given doctor became entangled in the wider atmosphere of violence in these conflicts, which should caution us against simplistic explanations for why individuals participate in atrocities.
  • Pratley, T. (2017). The Supermarine Spitfire: Palimpsest, Performance, and Myth.
    Modern scholarship understands myth to be neither fact nor fiction, only what is believed, and what is believed is subject to change. In order for the British war made myths of 1940 to prove sustainable post-war, they had to prove adaptable; they had to have the capability to evolve. Fortunately it is in the nature of myth to be both synchronic, transcending time, and diachronic, evolving through time. This study is an enquiry into how the Spitfire in performance has been one agent of the evolution of the war-made myth. Beginning in the 1950s, a new generation of adolescent boys wanted to experience the Battle of Britain as an imaginary playground. The Spitfire helped them to achieve this. By the late 1980s, those adolescent boys had grown up and had families of their own. A new generation wanted to know what the Battle of Britain had to say about nationality and collective identity. The Spitfire answered these questions too. It was able to answer these questions because almost from the day of its public debut, it has had the chameleon like facility of a palimpsest. The Spitfire has made an important contribution to the evolution of the war-made myth of the Battle of Britain, an evolution that has guaranteed the myth's cultural relevance post-war.
  • Browne, J. (2017). Contested Care: Medicine and Surgery During the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939.
    This thesis traces the important role played by Spanish medical personnel, particularly surgeons, in the development and organisation of their own medical services during the Spanish Civil War. This study, therefore, is not strictly a history of medicine during the conflict, nor does it seek to further explore international efforts in this regard; rather it analyses through an examination of the medical personnel involved on both sides, the causes, treatments and long term consequences of injury and trauma, including that of exile, on the wounded of the Spanish Civil War.
    This thesis, by picking over the bones of a wide body of literature and by engaging with a variety of different sources, forms an interlocking part of a new historiographical strand examining the origins and evolution of a traumatic conflict whose repercussions continue to be felt throughout Spain. Through its engagement with a diversity of sources, its analysis of the relationship between medicine and propaganda, and through an inclusive examination of the contribution made by Spanish medical professionals across Spain during the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, this thesis provides its own unique historical perspective of a conflict whose living legacy of trauma and of wounds unhealed is still alive in Spain today.
  • Studdert, W. (2014). Music Goes to War: How Britain, Germany and the USA Used Jazz As Propaganda in World War II.
    The thesis will demonstrate that the various uses of jazz music as propaganda in World War II were determined by an evolving relationship between Axis and Allied policies and projects. The limited previous scholarship in the area, however, has been restricted to ‘single-country studies’ which present only national perspectives with little reference to the broader international context. Within a comparative framework, the thesis will trace and contextualise the international development of ‘propaganda jazz’, from early isolated broadcasts to consolidation in the form of regular programming and dedicated musical ensembles.

    A wide range of English- and German-language sources including Mass Observation, oral history, trade magazines and archive material from Britain, Germany, the USA and Canada will be utilised and cross-referenced to provide an unprecedented perspective on wartime uses of broadcast propaganda. Although a significant number of British and German documents relating to propaganda were destroyed during and after the war, the breadth of the research will allow reconstruction and analysis of various propaganda programmes from a multitude of standpoints. The thesis will also explore contemporary cultural, social and political considerations in Britain, Germany and the USA, thus not only increasing the scope and perspective of the discourse, but also reflecting the diversity of the interrelated factors which influenced wartime popular culture and propaganda.

    The thesis will make a number of significant contributions to the historiography of the field. Analyses of previously overlooked Allied and Axis propaganda projects will highlight the diversity of the methodologies regarding the use of music for propaganda purposes. Moreover, the international scope will facilitate an imperative reappraisal of British ‘black’ propaganda radio stations of Sefton Delmer and the Political Warfare Executive (PWE), which were hugely successful and yet have been unjustifiably neglected by prior historiography. The popularity and psychological adroitness of PWE’s broadcasts will be juxtaposed with the demonstrably inferior quality and effectiveness of German ‘black’ programming for Britain and the USA, which exposed considerable limitations to Joseph Goebbels’ abilities. The thesis will also explore Goebbels’ attempts to nurture an ‘indigenous’ New German Entertainment Music, and demonstrate that the Propaganda Minister’s inability to come to terms with jazz, both for German audiences and as a tool for propaganda broadcasts to the enemy, ceded an extremely important advantage to the Allies.

    A radical revision of the character and work of Hans Hinkel, an influential figure in the Nazi cultural apparatus who has nonetheless been the subject of very little scholarly attention, will also be provided. While a central component of the thesis is the assertion that Goebbels was far less pragmatic than has been acknowledged by prior historiography, Hinkel’s reputation as an ideologically rigid reactionary will be challenged by cross-referencing oral history sources and documentary evidence. Furthermore, the comparative framework will be used to show conclusively that the problems of appropriate musical programming for the Forces, which fell within Hinkel’s remit, were not restricted to Germany but were part of a broader international discourse regarding music’s role in the maintenance of morale. It will facilitate a wide-ranging exploration of the uses of music and broadcasting to manipulate Forces and civilian morale for both benevolent and malevolent purposes.
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