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Dr Matthew Johnson

Associate Professor (Modern British History) in the Department of History

(email at

Matthew Johnson works primarily on modern British political history. He is interested in the impact of war on politics and society, and in militarism as a political and ideological phenomenon in Britain during the twentieth century. Recent published work has explored problems in civil-military relations, the politics of national defence, and the relationship between militarism and left-wing politics.

Matthew's current research project, funded in its early stages by an AHRC Research Fellowship and a Research Grant from the British Academy, challenges traditional assumptions about the ‘civilian’ nature of modern British political culture through a study of military involvement in parliamentary and popular politics during the twentieth century. An early article from this project explored the political and constitutional problems raised by the presence of a large number of serving military and naval officers in the House of Commons during the Great War. The wartime blurring of the distinction between the political class and the military establishment had profound implications for the workings of civil-military relations, the operation of party politics, and popular understandings of parliamentary representation, political citizenship, and the authority of Parliament as an institution.

This research project also explores the ways in which ex-servicemen in rival parties seeking election to Parliament in the decades after the world wars sought to negotiate and present their 'military' identities when appealing to the electorate, and how their behaviour within Parliament was influenced by their experience and understanding of war and military service.

Research Groups

Department of History

Research Projects

Department of History

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2017: Excellence in Learning and Teaching Award:


Authored book

Chapter in book

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)


Selected Grants

  • 2015: Ex-servicemen, the legacy of militarization, and liberal politics in Britain after the Great War (£2489.00 from The British Academy)
  • 2012: ‘The 'Service Members' in Parliament, the Armed Forces, and British Politics during the Great War’ (£57,968 from the AHRC)