Declassified Documents Online: Twentieth-Century British Intelligence, An Intelligence Empire

Scan of a Telegraph. Security Liaison Officer, Trinidad: security reviews of Eastern Caribbean and British Guiana. (January 1, 1955-December 31, 1956). CO 1035/16. The National Archives (Kew, United Kingdom).

│By Clem Delany, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources

The twentieth century was an era of global conflict and careful diplomacy, of the rise and fall of political extremes, of great strides in technology and vast change in the everyday lives of people around the world. Britain began the century with an empire that straddled the globe, and ended it with just a handful of small overseas territories. Warfare moved from trenches and bayonets, to weapons of mass destruction and long-distance drones. The global population skyrocketed. The internet came to be.

The scope and geographical spread of the interests of the British government over this century was vast. It reached beyond the UK and the mandates, protectorates and colonies of the British Empire, to the affairs of the self-governing Dominions and the later Commonwealth, as well as those of allies and enemies. British interests and British intelligence reached every corner of the globe from Aden to Zanzibar.

Declassified Documents Online: Twentieth-Century British Intelligence, An Intelligence Empire makes available online over half a million pages of British government papers relating to security and intelligence work in the twentieth century. It brings together files from the Security Service (MI5), the wartime Special Operations Executive (SOE) and Ministry of Economic Warfare, the Intelligence and Security Departments of the Colonial Office in the twilight of Empire, communications and intelligence records of the Ministry of Defence, and material from the Cabinet Office, including Joint Intelligence Committee reports, documents from the Special Secret Information Centre of WWII, and papers of the Cabinet Secretary relating to intelligence and espionage matters.

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Humanity and Courage: Refugees and the Memory of Those Who Saved Them

Refugees leave a life boat

│By Rebecca Bowden, Associate Acquisitions Editor, Gale Primary Sources

By the end of 2018, the UN reported that an unprecedented 70.8 million people had been forced from their homes by conflict and persecution. Since its start on 15 March 2011, the Syrian Civil War has caused nearly 6.7 million Syrians to become refugees, with another 6.2 million people displaced within Syria. At the same time, the number of refugees from across North Africa increased significantly with the Arab uprisings of 2011. Additional refugee crises arose throughout the 2010s – although there has been little reporting on the subject, such as the over four million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2014. Most recently, there has been the much better covered flight of 900,000 Rohingya to Myanmar. Modern warfare, internecine strife, economic disruption and now climate change have both accelerated the number and exacerbated the breadth of refugee crises, impacting governments and straining international relations.

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