Dr Adam Richardson

Dr Adam Richardson

Teaching Fellow in International History

+44 (0)113 343 1526

Summary: International History between the wars; the British Foreign Office 1918-1950; British foreign policy; Britain and Europe

Location: Michael Sadler Building 3.23


I completed a BA in English and History at the University of Leeds in 2010 and then continued by taking an MA by Research at Leeds focusing on the Berlin Embassy of Sir Eric Phipps 1935-37. I completed my PhD in 2016 which looked at the attitudes and advice given by Sir Orme Sargent, a senior British Foreign Office official between 1926 and 1949. I took up the role of Teaching Fellow in International History in the 2016-17 academic year.  

Research Interests

I specialise in British foreign policy in during the inter-war period and immediately after the Second World War. My research explores the role of Foreign Office officials in the foreign policy decision-making process. This means looking at their upbringing and perceptions in order to try to understand the advice they tendered. By looking at their minutes and memoranda I look to try to understand what courses of action were proposed and why.  My PhD research was based on Sir Orme Sargent, a senior Foreign Office official between 1926 and 1949. This extended study of an individual enabled not simply a study of British foreign across a turbulent period in British history, but sought to answer questions surrounding the role of the individual in the foreign policy decision-making process as well as investigating Britain's relationship with Europe and the influence of the Foreign Office and its officials on ministers. I am currently in the process of getting my PhD thesis published as a research monograph.

In addition, I look at the role and reports of British Ambassadors abroad. This has primarily looked at the tenures of the British Ambassadors in Berlin during the 1930s (particularly Sir Eric Phipps) but also those in Rome. I am particularly interested in the extent to which information and advice offered by the 'man on the spot' were accepted, endorsed and followed.

Current or forthcoming Research Project(s)

My current research continues my exploration of the civil servants who worked inside the Foreign Office. There are significant gaps in the historiography surrounding diplomats and the Whitehall mandarins. This is especially true around senior, but middle-ranking officials who have fallen outside the realm of the traditional historiography.

Similarly, I am interested in wider Anglo-German and Anglo-Italian relations during the inter-war period.

Recent and Forthcoming Talks and Conferences

“Sir Percy Loraine and British Policy Towards Italy, 1939-1940”, British International History Group Conference, University of Keele, 7-9 September 2017

"British policy decided by British interests: Sir Orme Sargent and Europe, 1925-1949", Institute of Historical Research International History Seminar, 8 November 2016 (Invited Speaker).

“‘If we are to quarrel with him, we should quarrel over some question in which British interests are directly concerned’: Orme Sargent, Anglo-Italian relations and European stability, 1926-1933”, Invasion to Integration Conference, University of Kent, 4-5 November 2016.

“Sir Orme Sargent, Ernest Bevin and British policy towards Europe 1945-49”, British International History Group Conference, University of Edinburgh, 8-10 September 2016.

“‘Without doubt the most important neutral country we have to consider’: The British Foreign Office & Italian Non-Belligerence, 1939-40”, Italy's Decade of War Conference, University of Strathclyde, 6-7 September 2016.

“Establishing Britain's place in the World: Sir Orme Sargent and 'Stocktaking after VE Day'”, Britain and the World Conference, King's College London, 22-25 June 2016.

“‘Lepidus in the triumvirate with Mark Antony and Augustus’: Orme Sargent and Britain's position in Europe in 1945”, War and Peace Postgraduate Colloquium, University of Leeds, 17 June 2015.

“The Inter-War British Foreign Office”, The Rotary Club of Headingley, 25 September 2012 (Invited Speaker).

Undergraduate Teaching

In 2017-18 I am teaching on:

Level 1:

•             HIST1817 - Skills and Concepts in International History

•             HIST1840 - Consensus and Contention: Investigations in International History

Level 2:

•             HIST2140 - Imperial Germany, 1871-1918

•             HIST2885 - Western Military Intervention since 1945

•             HIST2900 - International History and Politics Long Essay

In August 2017 I received professional recognition for my teaching. I am accredited as a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

In previous academic years I have taught on:

•             HIST1055 - Historiography and Historical Skills

•             HIST1210 – The Modern World

•             HIST1819 – International History 1919-1989: Conflict, Co-operation and Change