HIS343Y0 History of Modern Espionage

How have spies shaped the past, and how will they shape the future? HIS343 explores the rise of modern intelligence over the long 20th century, from Anglo-Russian competition before World War I through to the post-9/11 era. Students will study the contribution of intelligence services to victories and defeats in war, and their role in times of peace. The course will also examine the relationship between intelligence services and their society. What do we really know about espionage – and how do we know what we know? Students will discuss these issues in Oxford and, among other field trips, visit the home of the ultra-secret code-breaking site at Bletchley Park and the sites where Winston Churchill directed the Battle of Britain.

Prerequisites: None
Recommended Preparation: HIS103Y1 or an equivalent introduction to modern international relations
Breadth Requirement = 3
HIS343Y Course Outline – Draft

Field Trips: Excursions to London will include visits to the Imperial War Museum, HMS Belfast and the Churchill War Rooms. Additional trips include a visit to Bletchley Park and the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, Cambridge. The cost of these trips is CAD$355, paid to U of T for all fees and return bus transportation.

Instructor: Timothy Andrews Sayle is Assistant Professor of History and Director of the International Relations Program at the University of Toronto. He is an expert on modern global security and his research focuses on intelligence, nuclear weapons, and national security decision-making. In 2019, he published two books. Enduring Alliance: A History of NATO and the Postwar Global Order, studies the postwar alliance system and was based on research in 18 archives. Another book, The Last Card: Inside George W. Bush’s Decisions to Surge in Iraq, was based on oral history interviews with over two dozen members of the Bush administration. He founded “Canada Declassified,” an online web resource for recently declassified documents, and co-founded the Canadian Foreign Intelligence History Project.