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Professor David Reynolds FBA

Professor David Reynolds, FBA

Chair of the Faculty of History

Professor of International History

Fellow of Christ's College

Christ's College
Cambridge CB2 3BU
Office Phone: 01223 334986 (College) 335319 (Faculty)


David Reynolds is Professor of International History and a Fellow of Christ's College. He studied at Cambridge and Harvard Universities and has been a regular visitor to the United States since first going there as a graduate student in 1973. Since October 2013 he has been Chairman of the Faculty of History.

His visiting positions include posts at Harvard, Nihon University in Tokyo and Sciences Po in Paris. He won the Wolfson Prize for History, 2004, and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2005 and a member of the Society of American Historians in 2011. 

He is the author of eleven books, and three edited or co-edited volumes. His most recent book is The Long Shadow - on the legacies of the Great War for the 20th century - about which he talks on the youtube clip above. This was awarded the 2014 Hessell-Tiltman Prize. He has also written and presented nine historical documentaries for BBC TV, ranging across the international history of the 20th century, as well as the award-winning BBC Radio 4 series America, Empire of Liberty. 

Departments and Institutes

Christ's College :

Research Supervision

Prof. Reynolds has supervised a broad range of research students, but with a general focus on U.S. and British foreign policy and on transatlantic relations in World War Two and the Cold War.

The topics of recently completed PhD dissertations include: US policy on ballistic missile defence in the 1960s; British, French and West German attitudes to communist China after the Cultural Revolution; the contribution of the Commonwealth to Allied victory in World War Two; Franklin Roosevelt's foreign policy before 1933; the origins of 'Atlanticism' in America; the Big Three Allies and the Baltic States in the 1940s; Heath, Nixon and Anglo-American relations; Britain's relations with Turkey in World War Two; British-German relations and the European Community in the 1960s.

He is also developing research links with the Imperial War Museum through a Collaborative Doctoral Partnership which started in October 2013 and through his work on the Academic Advisory Committee for the IWM's new First World War galleries.


As is customary in Cambridge, Prof. Reynolds has done a wide variety of undergraduate teaching over the years, including American history since 1750, modern European history and modern British history. While Chairman of the Faculty he will continue to lecture for the Part I courses in these areas, as well as offering a seminar course on 'Cold War Europe' for the M. Phil in Modern European History and serving as co-convenor of the Public History Seminar.  In recent years he has also taught third-year Special Subjects on 'Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin and the "Grand Alliance", 1941-5' and 'From World War to Cold War: America, Britain, Russia and the Division of Europe, 1944-50'. 

Other Professional Activities

Prof. Reynolds is a member of the editorial advisory boards of Journal of Contemporary History, Cold War History, History and Policy and the International History Review.

Key Publications

  • The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance, 1937-1941: A Study in Competitive Co-operation (1981). Awarded the Bernath Prize by the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 1982.
  • An Ocean Apart: The Relationship between Britain and America in the 20th Century - co-author David Dimbleby (1988). Linked to BBC/PBS TV series.
  • Britannia Overruled: British Policy and World Power in the 20th Century (1991; 2nd edn 2000)
  • Allies at War: The Soviet, American and British Experience, 1939-45 - co-editors Warren F. Kimball and A.O. Chubarian (1994; Russian edition, 1995)
  • The Origins of the Cold War in Europe: International Perspectives - editor (1994)
  • Rich Relations: The American Occupation of Britain, 1942-1945 (1995) Awarded the US Society for Military History's Distinguished Book Award, 1996
  • One World Divisible: A Global History since 1945 (2000)
  • From Munich to Pearl Harbor: Roosevelt's America and the Origins of the Second World War (2001)
  • In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War (2004) Awarded the Wolfson History Prize, 2004
  • From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt and the International History of the 1940s (2006)
  • Summits: Six Meetings That Shaped the Twentieth Century (2007) - also translated into Italian, Korean and Spanish. 
  • FDR's World: War, Peace, and Legacies - co-editors David B. Woolner and Warren F. Kimball (2008)
  • America, Empire of Liberty: A New History (2009)
  • The Long Shadow: The Great War and the Twentieth Century (2013) Awarded the Hessell-Tiltman Prize, 2014.

Broadcasting (as writer and presenter)

  • Churchill's Forgotten Years (2005) - BBC 4/BBC 2
  • The Improbable Mr Attlee (2005) - BBC 4
  • Summits (2008) - three-part series BBC 4/BBC 2: Munich, 1938Vienna, 1961Geneva, 1985
  • Armistice (2008) - BBC 4/BBC 2 (Grierson Awards 2009: Nomination and runner-up for the Best Historical Documentary Award).  
  • America, Empire of Liberty - ninety-part series (2008-9) - BBC Radio 4. See series website at (Voice of the Listener and Viewer Award for the Best New Radio Programme of 2008; SONY Radio Academy Award, Nomination, 2009; Orwell Prize, Shortlist, 2010)
  • Nixon in the Den (2010) - BBC 4
  • World War Two - 1941 and the Man of Steel (2011) - BBC 4 (Grierson Awards, 2012: Nomination for Best Historical Documentary Award)
  • World War Two - 1942 and Hitler's Soft Underbelly (2012) - BBC 4
  • Long Shadow (2014) - three-part BBC 2 series about legacies of the Great War: Remembering and Understanding; Ballots and Bullets; Us and Them