Andrew Roberts

Andrew Roberts

Biography: 

Andrew Roberts is an honorary senior scholar at and has a PhD from Caius College, Cambridge. He is a Visiting Professor at the War Studies Department of King’s College, London, and the Lehrman Distinguished Fellow at the New York Historical Society. His thirteen books include Salisbury: Victorian Titan (1999), which won the Wolfson History Prize and the James Stern Silver Pen Award; Masters and Commanders (2010), which won the Emery Reves Prize; and The Storm of War (2012), which won the British Army Military Book of the Year Award. His latest book, Napoleon: A Life (Penguin), appeared in October 2014 and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a director of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, where he is presently chairman of the judging panel for its Military Book of the Year Prize. His website is at www.andrew-roberts.net.

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Recent Commentary

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Passchendaele At 100

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Monday, July 31, 2017

The centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele, also known as the Third Battle of Ypres, has been the big military history story in the news this week, with the British press covering it far more extensively than any other Great War centenary story, except perhaps that of the first day of the Somme Offensive last year. With over 1.5 million soldiers from almost every part of the British Empire having taken part in the battle—which lasted from July 31 to November 6, 1917—it has also been extensively covered in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere. The French also contributed six divisions of 180,000 men.

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A Fake False Flag

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

An article in the British Daily Mail was entitled “Did the British plant a bomb at the 1940 World’s Fair to kill two NYPD officers and bring the U.S. into World War II?” It was one of those classic newspaper headlines to which the answer is “No,” but which helps sell papers anyhow. The bomb that went off on July 4, 1940 was originally planted in the British pavilion of the World’s Fair in New York, which also contained the Crown Jewels and an original copy of the Magna Carta, and a member of the pro-Nazi Bund organization was deported over the incident.

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Feminine Spycraft

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Times of London report that Mata Hari, the notorious World War One double agent, owed her downfall to MI5 rather than to the French secret service comes at a time when the British domestic security service could do with some good news, even if it is one hundred years old. Still reeling from the shock of three terrorist attacks in two months in London and Manchester this year—two of them perpetrated by Islamic fundamentalists who were known to the organization—perhaps MI5 can learn something from the superb professionalism of their forebears in 1916.

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Stalin’s Greatness?

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Tuesday, July 11, 2017

“The Red Army could have defeated Nazi Germany without Allied help,” records The Times of London, “according to two thirds of Russians, who are adopting an increasingly positive view of Joseph Stalin’s wartime leadership despite the enormous casualties suffered under his command.” This worrying sign of increased ultra-nationalism under Vladimir Putin was based on findings from a poll conducted by the respected Levada Center in Moscow. 

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Interests First: Discarding Bad Agreements

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Monday, November 21, 2016

The news that General Mike Flynn has become National Security Advisor has worried some Americans but delighted others, not least (for both groups) because of his stated objections to the Iranian nuclear deal signed by the Obama administration on July 14, 2015. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is just that, a plan of action. It is not a treaty, which would never have won the two-thirds Senatorial approval necessary, but merely a presidential “executive agreement,” which could therefore be reneged upon merely on a nod from the future President Trump.

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Lest We Forget Lithuania

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Friday, November 18, 2016

“Russia is not a superpower, it’s a super problem,” the Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Linas Linkevičius, said on November 18, ten days after Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States. “As a child I still remember the sound of the tanks rolling through the streets of Vilnius, so even my generation—and I’m 34—still remembers when the Russians were here as a Soviet army. But they were Russian troops and they were invading us, so the last thing we are on this subject is naïve.”

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Out Of The Gate And Into The Fire

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Friday, November 11, 2016

When a new American president is elected, the world likes to test him within the first few weeks or months of taking power. The witness of history is almost universal in this, so much so that the phenomenon cannot be accidental. It is likely, therefore, that Donald Trump will be tested by one of the major foreign powers fairly soon after Inauguration Day 2017.

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Russia’s Meddling In The U.S. Elections

by Andrew Robertsvia Military History in the News
Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The 2016 American presidential election, which has just produced the greatest political upset in living memory, is hard to find precedents for in recent history, but that is not true of the intervention in the American political process by Russia. The decision taken at the highest levels of Moscow’s decision-making apparatus first to hack into the Democratic National Committee’s emails and then to make the spoils public via WikiLeaks, was a deliberate attempt to interfere in domestic American politics.

Related Commentary

Cleaning Up The Mess

by Andrew Robertsvia Strategika
Monday, October 31, 2016

It is one of the glories of the U.S. Constitution that although presidential administrations must abide by the laws made by previous ones until they are repealed, foreign policy initiatives that are unworthy of a great nation can be discarded almost immediately. This is what will happen in November next year; indeed, the Obama administration’s keenness to argue that the Iranian nuclear deal did not constitute a formal treaty—in order to prevent the Senate from debating and perhaps refusing to ratify it—will make it all the easier for an incoming administration to denounce it. 

Related Commentary

Snake Charmers and Snake Killers

by Andrew Robertsvia Strategika
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The immediate result of an Israeli strike—assuming it were successful in destroying or at least very significantly degrading the Iranian nuclear program—would be a collective exhalation of breath across the Middle East and Europe. One of WikiLeaks’ most telling revelations came when the King of Saudi Arabia was heard urging the Americans “to cut off the head of the snake,” and if the Israelis undertook the identical action the Sunni Arab leadership would be cock-a-hoop with pleasure and relief (while of course publicly reserving the right to denounce Israel for aggression and war-mongering).

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