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Luke Thrumble

History, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

Finding Britain's place in the New World Order: foreign policy in the Thatcher and Major governments at the end of the Cold War

My thesis will explore the development and implementation of British foreign policy in the final years of the Cold War and its aftermath. Using new archival releases, and reflecting recent developments in the methodology of international history, it will investigate continuity and change in Britain’s world role as the Cold War gave way to a
‘New World Order’. In considering the extent to which Britain was able to reorient itself towards a new and unfamiliar world, this project will challenge superpower-centric narratives of the Cold War and declinist narratives of modern Britain, offering valuable insight into Britain’s position today.

More generally, I am interested in Britain’s role throughout the Cold War, and the impact of Cold War political developments on British society and relations with the wider world. I have previously examined the British role in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, and I continue to take a broad view of this subject in my work. 

Research Area

  • History
  • Political History


  • '‘Ignorantly Arrogant Souls’: Looking Back at US/UN Control over North Korea in the Autumn of 1950', Adam Cathcart and Luke Thrumble, North Korean Review, Spring 2023 issue (forthcoming)


  •  ''An old question answered anew': Continuities in British foreign policy throughout the end of the Cold War and beyond', 18 July 2023, IHR HistoryLab's 'Historia Interrupta' Conference 2023.
  • '‘From ‘the end of history’ to ‘the New World Order’: Developing the intellectual history of the end of the Cold War’, 26 May 2023, Nottingham Trent University History Postgraduate Conference.
  • '‘Ignorantly Arrogant Souls’: Looking Back at US/UN Control over North Korea in the Autumn of 1950', 5 May 2023, Hong Kong University Spring History Symposium 2023.
  • ''Flapping around the Atlantic with our coattails out'? British peacemaking efforts during the Vietnam War', 20 April 2023, Britain and the World Conference 2023.
  • 'Finding Britain's place in the 'New World Order': Strategic continuity in a changing world during and beyond the end of the Cold War', 29 March 2023, University of Leeds PGR Seminar Series.
  • 'The WIP Guide to Co-Authoring: Charting the course of my first publication from undergraduate essay to peer-reviewed article', 22 March 2023, University of Nottingham Works-in-Progress Seminar Series.
  • 'Uncle Sam in Pyongyang: 'Examining the failure of the United Nations occupation of North Korea in the autumn of 1950', 3 March 2023, University of Nottingham Contemporary History and Politics Seminar.
  • 'Harold Wilson's Transatlantic Tightrope: British peacemaking efforts during the Vietnam War, 1965-1968', 18 February 2023, Texas A&M Graduate Student Conference 2023.
  • 'Finding Britain’s place in the ‘New World Order’: Foreign policy and strategic thinking throughout and beyond the Cold War', 14 December 2022, Historical Perspectives presentation series 2022/23. 
  • 'From one 'competitive age' to another? Legacies of Cold War strategic thinking in contemporary British foreign policy', 16 November 2022, University of Nottingham Autumn 2022 Works-in-Progress seminar series.
  • '‘An era of constant competition’: Legacies of the end of the Cold War in Britain’s 2021 Integrated Review and beyond', 31 August 2022, Utrecht University European Summer Symposium on the Cold War.
  • '‘Flapping around the Atlantic with our coattails out’? British peacemaking efforts during the Vietnam War', 02 August 2022, Historical Perspectives twitter conference. 

Public Engagement & Impact

  • I am the Managing Editor of SinoNK.com, an online platform which publishes expert commentary on contemporary East Asian history and current affairs. 

Other Research Interests

  • International History
  • Diplomatic History
  • International Relations
  • Contemporary British History
  • Soviet History
  • American History
  • East Asian History