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Alliances, their making and breaking, have been a part of the international order since humans first organized themselves into large political units. While the majority come together in the face of a common threat, there are others which share broader goals and values. This lecture looks at the nature of alliances, the differences among them, and the reasons for their success or failure. One of the most important and most debated alliances in recent history, the Grand Alliance of the British Empire, the Soviet Union and the United States during the Second World War, will be examined in detail.

mm-1 Credit Ander McIntyre

About the speaker

Margaret MacMillan (Toronto and Oxford) is an emeritus professor of History at the University of Toronto and emeritus professor of International History at Oxford University. She was Provost of Trinity College, Toronto from 2002-7 and Warden of St Antony’s College, Oxford from 2007-2017. She is currently a trustee of the Imperial War Museum. Her research specializes in British imperial history and the international history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her latest book is War: How Conflict Shaped Usand other publications include Paris, 1919, and The War that Ended Peace. She gave the CBC’s Massey lectures in 2015 and the BBC’s Reith Lectures in 2018. Awards include the Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction and the Governor-General’s literary award. She has honorary degrees from several universities and is an honorary Fellow of the British Academy. She is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, a Companion of Honour (UK) and Member of the Order of Merit.

Photo credits: Ander McIntyre (portrait), Shutterstock (main image)

Event details

The Great Hall
King's Building
Strand Campus, Strand, London, WC2R 2LS