Watt, Donald Cameron, 1928-2014

by Kathleen Burk

06 Aug 2019
Number of pages
20 (pages 135-154)

Donald Cameron Watt gained a first-class degree in PPE at the University of Oxford in 1951, where he developed an interest in the origins and progress of the Second World War. After a brief period as a documents’ editor—an activity he continued throughout his academic life—he joined the London School of Economics in 1954 to teach international history, where he remained for the rest of his career; he was promoted to a chair in 1972 and became Stevenson Professor in 1981. He published widely in contemporary history, emphasising the roles played by key individuals, for example by exploring decision-making within the various levels in the British foreign policy-making elite. His magnum opus, How War Came: the Immediate Origins of the Second World War 1938–1939, appeared in 1989 and won him the Wolfson History Prize in 1990; his other books included Personalities and Policies: Studies in the Formulation of British Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century (1965) and Britain and the Suez Canal (1956).

Posted to Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the British Academy, XVIII

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