5 Events

The public military degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus

Public Domain/Henri Meyer

Seminar - Open to the Public

Taking the Bizarre Seriously in Diplomatic History

Thu., Dec. 20, 2018 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Speaker: Ben Rhode, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

In 1898, France's military attaché in London recommended that his superiors make a secret agreement with his anonymous Irish nationalist informant in order to undermine the British Empire and counterbalance supposedly hostile British behavior. Most historical assessments have either overlooked or discounted this attaché's recommendation, considering him untrustworthy or unsober. Such an interpretation is initially appealing, especially given the bizarre and conspiratorial material in the informant's unpublished reports. This seminar will challenge prevailing scholarship that ignores or deprecates this recommendation or the attaché's credibility. It will locate the episode within the context of French concerns over Britain's exploitation of the Spanish-American War, the Dreyfus Affair, and Fashoda; a preoccupation with supposed national subversion; and alarm over the phenomenon of "fake news." Using this episode as a case study, it will argue for taking alarming or peculiar observations in the diplomatic record seriously: neither downplaying their strangeness nor overlooking how, within their context, they could be sincerely believed and hold deep appeal.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

"No chance to criticize." Uncle Sam sits at a table on which is a small cake on a platter labeled "Cuba," with a decanter labeled "Philippine Islands" on the table and a bottle labeled "Porto Rico" in an ice bucket. On the left, John Bull (Britain) and other colonial powers hold swords slicing a large cake on a platter labeled "China." John Bull (to the Powers): "What are you mad about? We can't grudge him a light lunch while we are feasting!"

Library of Congress

Seminar - Open to the Public

"The Spanish Question is Burning": Living and Dying Nations in 1898

Thu., Nov. 9, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

One Brattle Square - Room 350

Speaker: Ben Rhode, Ernest May Fellow in History & Policy, International Security Program

This seminar will examine British diplomatic perceptions of Spain's defeat in 1898. It will explore British reactions to Spain's bitterness over being considered a "dying nation" and the supposedly close U.S.-UK relationship. It will discuss British concerns that Spain might fall under the influence of hostile states and that Spanish retaliatory actions could pose a strategic threat to the British Empire. In doing so, it will investigate understandings of national power, influence, and diplomacy at the fin de siècle.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

The History of Cyber and Intelligence Operations

Mon., Feb. 27, 2017 | 5:15pm - 6:30pm

Taubman Building - Nye A, 5th Floor

Please join us for a panel discussion with Command Historian Dr. Michael Warner and Historian of GCHQ Professor Richard Aldrich, moderated by the International Security Program's Dr. Calder Walton and the Cyber Security Project's Director Dr. Michael Sulmeyer. This event is open to the public, but seating and admittance will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

Seminar - Open to the Public

Tinker, Tailor, Ally, Spy: The Origins and Evolution of Anglo-American Intelligence Relations

Thu., Feb. 2, 2017 | 12:15pm - 2:00pm

Littauer Building - Belfer Center Library, Room 369

Speaker: Calder Walton, Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy, International Security Program

Stretching from the Second World War to the early Cold War, this seminar will examine the origins, evolution, stresses, and strains of British and U.S. intelligence relations—the closest intelligence relationship between two powers in history. Using a series of case studies, from signals intelligence-sharing agreements to atomic espionage and covert action during Britain's end of empire, it will explore the impact that British and U.S. intelligence had on post-war international relations. While collaborating together in unprecedented ways, it will be shown that, in some instances in the post-war years, British and U.S. intelligence worked at cross-purposes—and were also disastrously penetrated by their opponents, Soviet intelligence. This seminar will also offer some (arguably much-needed) policy-relevant historical lessons for governments and intelligence communities today.

Please join us! Coffee and tea provided. Everyone is welcome, but admittance will be on a first come–first served basis.