Leo Baeck Fellowship awarded to PG Kevin McNamara

Kevin McNamaraThe 2013 Leo Baeck Fellowship, organised by both the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and the Leo Baeck Institute London, has been awarded to Kevin McNamara of the School of History. Mr McNamara will take up the fellowship to work on the doctoral project “In the Service of His Majesty’s Government: The British Consular Network in the Third Reich between 1935-1939.”

Mr McNamara’s doctoral project will focus on the network of British Consulates in the Third Reich in association with their headquarters at the H.M. Embassy in Berlin. The study will analyse the British consular reports on anti-Semitic persecution during the period 1935-1939 and the influence that the dispatches had upon British Foreign policy towards the National Socialist regime. As the project will focus exclusively on the Jewish population from British consular dispatches, this project will be the first of its kind to analyse the reports from Nazi Germany but also Austria and Czechoslovakia in the interwar period as main targets for repression. The information on anti-Semitic activities retrieved from local and regional consular posts has the ability to indicate a clear line of discourse on British appeasement policy.

The fact that the despatches from the H.M. Embassy were highly influential in the Office of the Prime Minister allows this project to ultimately understand how significant the anti-Semitic persecution in the Third Reich was to the British Government in the interwar period. Thus, this project aims to cast a new light on the ‘history of everyday life’ in the Third Reich and will provide a new interpretation of British appeasement policy based on Nazi domestic strategies to which no firm consensus can be found.

As the international Leo Baeck Fellowship programme is designed for doctoral candidates pursuing research into the history of German-speaking Jewry, the regular workshops and common intranet will provide a platform to present research findings and engage in current trends in German historiography.  Furthermore, as this doctoral project will contain a vast quantity of data from the local regions of the Third Reich, the Fellowship programme will allow extensive dialogue with eminent scholars and establish a contextual framework in which consular despatches could be gathered and formulated for the British Government.

Kevin McNamara’s research is supervised by Prof. Conan Fischer.