Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War


Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War: Intelligence, Strategy and Diplomacy provides access to British government secret intelligence and foreign policy files from 1873 to 1953, with the majority of files dating from the 1930s and 1940s. Spanning four key twentieth-century conflicts with a spotlight on the Second World War, the material, sourced from The National Archives, U.K., enables rich research into intelligence, foreign policy, international relations, and military history in the period of Appeasement, through the Second World War, and into the early Cold War.

At the heart of this resource are the files of the Permanent Undersecretary's Department (PUSD). The PUSD was the point of liaison between the Foreign Office and the British intelligence establishment, and these files document intelligence activities and their influence on foreign policy from 1873 to 1951, providing new insights into key moments of twentieth-century history. Topics that can be researched in the PUSD files include:

  • planning for major operations such as Overlord and Torch
  • civilian morale in Axis nations
  • the policies of Vichy France
  • Japanese wartime strategy
  • the plight of prisoners of war
  • the threat of nuclear war
  • Anglo-American cooperation
  • U.K. preparations for war with Soviet Russia