Scott Ramsay

Scott Ramsay


I graduated from the University of Leeds with a First Class Honours degree in History in 2014 and with a Distinction in MA Modern History in 2015. I returned to the university in October 2017 to begin my PhD.

During my time as an undergraduate and postgraduate student here, I developed an interest in modern Spanish history, especially the impact of Spain's civil war on British politics and society. My undergraduate dissertation focused on British diplomatic responses to violence in the civil war and my MA dissertation explored Anglo-Spanish relations in the immediate aftermath of the civil war and early Second World War.

Research interests

  • 20th century Spain
  • The Spanish Civil War 1936–1939
  • The Franco dictatorship 1939–1975
  • European diplomatic history
  • The impact of the Spanish Civil War on British politics and society
  • British Appeasement

Current Research Project

My PhD thesis, Negotiating Neutrality: Anglo-Spanish Relations in the Age of Appeasement, 1931–1940, examines the diplomatic relationship between Britain and Spain during the 1930s and early 1940s. In particular, it focuses on the civil war period (1936–1939) and the development of diplomatic relations between the UK and both sides in the civil war.

Using theoretical concepts of appeasement, it places British diplomacy in Spain within the wider policy of general appeasement during the 1930s and seeks to establish continuity in British policy towards Spain before, during and after the civil war. In doing so, the thesis challenges previous arguments of British ‘malevolent neutrality’ and instead argues that the British government maintained a much more ‘neutral’ attitude towards both sides throughout the conflict.

Moreover, it examines this diplomatic relationship from the Spanish as well as the British perspective and demonstrates the extent to which the warring factions were able to shape Britain’s Spanish policy and, in turn, how British non-intervention shaped General Franco’s foreign policy. As the project draws heavily on British and Spanish archival records, both diplomatic correspondence and the private papers of the individuals involved in formulating British and Spanish foreign policies during this period, it will make a valuable contribution to the existing historiography on British interwar foreign policy, Spanish foreign policy and the Spanish Civil War.

My PhD is supervised by Dr Peter Anderson and Dr Nir Arielli. It is funded by the White Rose College of Arts & Humanities (WRoCAH/AHRC).


  • ‘Salamanca, May 1937: The Eighth Marquis del Moral and the Turning Point in General Franco’s Foreign Policy towards Great Britain during the Spanish Civil War’, Bulletin of Spanish Studies (forthcoming, accepted July 2021).
  • ‘Introduction: Trajectories of Republican Exiles after the Spanish Civil War’, Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies, 27.1 (2021), 3–5.
  • 'Ideological Foundations of British Non-Intervention in the Spanish Civil War: Foreign Office Perceptions of Political Polarisation in Spain, 1931–1936', Diplomacy & Statecraft, 31.1 (2020), 44–64.
  • 'Ensuring Benevolent Neutrality: the British Government's Appeasement of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939', The International History Review, 41.3 (2019) 604–623.

Other Publications

'¿Un régimen en consonancia con los intereses británicos? El reconocimiento de Franco como forma de apaciguamiento', in Desde la capital de la República: Nuevas Perspectivas y Estudios sobre la Guerra Civil Española: parte II, ed. by Sergio Valerio Gómez and Marta García Carrión (Valencia: University of Valencia Press, 2019), pp. 249–266

  • Book review: Emily Mason, Democracy, Deeds and Dilemmas: Support for the Spanish Republic within British Civil Society, 1936–1939 (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2017), Journal of Contemporary History, 55.1 (2020), 216–217.
  • Book review: Raanan Rein & Joan Maria Thomas (eds.), Spain 1936: Year Zero (Brighton: Sussex Academic Press, 2018), War in History, 27.4 (2020), 724–726.

Public Lectures

British Volunteers in the International Brigades. In March 2019, I curated exhibitons from the International Brigade Memorial Trust and the Basque Children of '37 Association. These were on display in the Leeds Central Library from 19 March–5 April, and timed to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of the end of the Spanish Civil War. On the opening night of the exhibitions, I gave a public lecture at the Central Library on British volunteers in the Spanish Civil War, along with Dr Peter Anderson who spoke about the evacuation to the UK of almost 4,000 Basque children in 1937.

Conference Papers / Organisation

  • ‘Franco’s Man in London: The Eighth Marquis del Moral, the Destruction of Guernica and the Shift in Rebel Foreign Policy towards Great Britain’, Visions of Contemporary Spain (University of Cardiff, UK, January 2021).
  • I co-organised the University of Leeds conference 'Refugees and Exile: Commemorating the Eightieth Anniversary of the End of the Spanish Civil War'. The conference brought together some of the best and latest research on Spanish refugees after the civil war and their lives in exile and collaborated with local refugee and migration organisations in order to establish a dialogue between academics and present-day practioners to better understand refugee crises of the past and present (WRoCAH-funded SLF project).
  • I was co-convenor of the White Rose International History & International Relations Research Seminar Series 2018/19. The series funds PGRs and ECRs to present works in progress at regular research seminars at the Universities of Leeds and York. It aimed to foster an inter-disciplinary network between visiting speakers, the organisers and attendees that goes beyond the White Rose institutions. The 2018/19 series hosted speakers both from across the UK and abroad, including Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Russia and Israel. (WRoCAH-funded SLF project).
  • 'Britain and the Continuation of Non-Intervention in Spain, 1939–1940', British International History Group 30th Annual Conference (Exeter, UK, August 2018).
  • 'The Origins of British Non-Intervention in the Spanish Civil War: Foreign Office Perceptions of the Extreme Right in Spain', New Approaches to Twentieth Century Spain. I co-organised this conference as part of the Leeds Centre for the History of Ibero-America's Research Seminar Series 2017/2018. The conference hosted speakers from across the UK and abroad and featured Dr Richard Baxell as keynote speaker (Leeds, UK, May 2018) (WRoCAH-funded SLF project).
  • 'A Regime in Line with British Interests? The British Recognition of Franco as a Form of Appeasement', Desde la capital de la República: Nuevas Perspectivas y Estudios sobre la Guerra Civil Española (Valencia, Spain, October 2017).
  • 'Malevolent Neutrality or Avoiding War? British Neutrality in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939', Conference in War and Peace Studies (Leeds, UK, June 2017)


I have been teaching in the School of History since 2018 and I have designed modules for International History & Politics students focusing on the international context of the Spanish Civil War as well as the political uses and abuses of the work of George Orwell in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.