Using History, Making British Policy

The Treasury and the Foreign Office, 1950-76
Beck, Peter J.
Date published: 
July 2006

Despite the enduring rhetorical use of the lessons of history by British politicians to justify present-day policies, the extent to which history has been used as an actual policy input remains a neglected topic. Focusing upon the 1957 Whitehall policy initiative encouraging greater use of history in the policymaking process, this book studies in depth the Treasury and the Foreign Office, the departments making the most positive responses. The findings, enhancing our knowledge of post-1945 Britain, illuminate debates about the nature and use of history in the contemporary world, most notably the relationship between history and policy.