About me: I completed my BA in History at the University of Durham back in 2005, before completing an MA in Contemporary History and Politics at Birkbeck in 2015. Returning to postgraduate education renewed my enthusiasm for history and its continued ability to illuminate the world in which we live today, and it is with this in mind that I have chosen the subject of my research.
The difference my research makes: My research examines the legacy and impact of the League of Nations, specifically in relation to its liquidation after the end of the Second World War. The organisation officially shut its doors on 19 April 1946, and it remains the only international body with the same wide remit and global membership to ever close. As we approach the centenary of the League’s foundation, still very little is known about its concluding years, and next to nothing about the final 18-month period following the official closure. The process by which the League was dissolved, the people involved, the problems they faced, the reaction to its closure – all of these shed light on a unique venture in the field of internationalism. The League is a crucial part of the history of international cooperation, and global intergovernmental organisations (IGOs) today – especially the UN – owe much to the decisions made and lessons learnt during its lifetime. To what extent did the work of the Secretariat during the closing months have a positive impact on the foundation of the UN? Did the pressure of working in the same building as their successors have an effect on staff? This study will answer these questions, and not only complete the League story, but tell us what that means for the UN, theories pertaining to IGOs, the sociology of organisational cultures, and much more.
Supervisors: Jessica Reinisch (Birkbeck) and J. Simon Rofe (SOAS)
Pathway: Economic and Social History