Dr Martin Thornton


North America and foreign policy in the 20th century; Imperial and Colonial History as related to Canada and Great Britain.


My background is in Political Science, although my PhD topic at the London School of Economics and Political Science (International Relations Department) became a topic based on International History. This research was related to British and Canadian decision making over the resettlement of Polish ex-servicemen after the Second World War. My first three years teaching at the University of Leeds were financially supported by the Canadian Government. The Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has supported the Leeds Centre for Canadian Studies, of which I have served as Director and Deputy Director.

Research interests

My research interests have tended to have a Canadian content with further broad foreign policy interests related to the United States and more recently Winston S. Churchill. I have written a number of articles related to Canada and the early Cold War period, edited a book of Nancy Astor's Canadian Correspondence, produced a book on American foreign policy since 1945 and, through the Centre for Canadian Studies at the University of Leeds, edited a book on Aboriginal People in Canada.

Current Research Project

Biography of Sir Robert Borden

I am currently working on a short biography of Sir Robert Borden that relates to the Versailles Peace Settlements and their aftermath. It is part of a large series produced by Haus publishers that has a title of Makers of the Modern World. The publication date is 2010. Although Sir Robert Borden might be seen as a marginal figure within the development of the Versailles settlements, he contributed towards the independence of Canadian foreign policy and the development of the Commonwealth.

Past Research

Correspondence relating to Canada written by Nancy Astor
Aboriginal People in Canada - funded by a Sustained Studies Award from the Canadian Government
Foreign policy issues related to Presidents of the USA from Roosevelt to Bush Snr.

Postgraduate Supervision

I can offer supervision in the following areas:

  • Canadian foreign policy in the 20th century
  • Early Cold War history


Undergraduate Modules

  • International History: Conflict, Co-operation and Change 1919-1989 (HIST1819)
  • Documents and Debates in International History (HIST2800)
  • From World War to Vietnam War, 1945-75 (HIST2856)
  • Canada, America and the Origins of the Cold War, 1945-1949 (HIST3750)

which are part of our BA in International History and Politics degree

Postgraduate Modules

  • Great Britain, Canada and International Crises, 1945-1965 (HIST5801) relates to Canadian foreign policy work undertaken at the National Archives of Canada, Ottawa. I teach this on the MA in Modern History.

Outreach / Wider Community

I have given advice to the Yorkshire Playhouse on child immigration to Canada, written an obituary for the Guardian and given advice to the Yorkshire Evening Post on Canadian matters.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>