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Helen McCartney is a Reader in Defence Studies. Before joining the Defence Studies Department in 2000 she held posts as a Scouloudi Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research and as a research assistant for the King’s Research Unit into Combat Syndromes, King’s College London. She holds a BA degree from the University of Warwick and MPhil and PhD degrees from the University of Cambridge.

Her research examines British civil-military relations from both contemporary and historical perspectives. She is author of Citizen Soldiers (2005) and The Somme (co-authored with Robert T. Foley, 2006) and has published articles in the British Medical Journal, British Journal of Psychiatry and International Affairs. She is currently researching a new social and cultural history of the First World War, writing a series of articles on the contemporary relationship between the armed forces and British society and is co-investigator on a joint project examining the ‘lessons learned’ systems of the UK and US armed forces.

Her knowledge exchange activities include reports for the US Department of Defense (2001) and Directorate of Army Personnel Strategy, UK Army (2007). She is a councillor of the Army Records Society (2007 – 2010), a member of Comite Scientifique, Historial de la Grande Guerre, Peronne, (2008 - ) and an historical advisor to the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum (2010- ).

Research Interests

  • War and Society in the Twentieth Century
  • First World War Military History
  • War Syndromes in the Twentieth Century
  • Civil-Military Relations

MA Special Subject

The British Experience of the First World War

Doctoral Supervision

She is happy to offer doctoral supervision in civil-military relations and the history of war in the twentieth century. In particular she is interested in:

  • Military, social and cultural history of the First World War
  • Contemporary civil-military relations


Dr Helen McCartney PURE Profile