Matt Hefler is a doctoral researcher in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London. His research focuses on the role of secret intelligence in the creation of national foreign policies. He is particularly interested in the way that intelligence shapes government policies aimed at securing peace and preventing and resolving conflict.
Matt’s PhD research analyses the influence of secret intelligence in the creation of British post-war policies, 1941-46. Using intelligence archives in the UK, US, and France, he assesses the formation of British policy toward Western Europe and France in particular. He seeks to clarify the process by which Britain defined its post-war diplomacy and strategy. He is fascinated by the complex relationship between secret intelligence and decision-making.
After the Second World War, British policy-makers sought to maintain the country’s great power status. They intercepted and read much of the diplomatic correspondence of European and other countries, and British attitudes and actions significantly shaped events in Europe. Matt’s doctoral research will help reveal what British policy was meant to and did achieve, the effect of these actions on Europe, and the ramifications of Western European relations on shaping the early Cold War. He is supervised by Dr. Joe Maiolo.
Matt holds a BA with High Honours in History from St. Francis Xavier University and an MA in History from the University of Calgary. In Calgary he attained a 4.0 GPA, won a conference prize, and completed major original research. Under the supervision of Dr. John Ferris, Matt’s MA research focused on the role of intelligence in British policy toward Fascist Italy, 1935-40, and he established how Britain's good but ambiguous intelligence played a pivotal role in that country’s policy.
Matt is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. In Calgary he held the Arthur J. E. Child Memorial Bursary in History and numerous other awards. He is a Commonwealth Scholar and a Rotary International Global Grant Scholar in Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution. He hopes to advance international cooperation and responsible global citizenship. He has worked for causes such as strengthening political engagement, and volunteered as a Political Copywriter and Communications Advisor.