On trial: Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War

Following a request from staff in History the Library has been able to secure trial access to Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War: Intelligence, Strategy and Diplomacy from The National Archives and Taylor & Francis. This 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.

You can access this online archive via the E-resources trials page. Access is available both on and off-campus.

Trial access ends 26th June 2017.

Spanning four key twentieth century conflicts, with a spotlight on the Second World War, the material, sourced from The National Archives, enables 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.

Containing 9 collections altogether 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. The PUSD files can be found in the series FO 1093.

In addition to the PUSD files there are 8 other collections, including papers from the Joint Intelligence Sub-Committee, War Cabinet, Cabinet Office and Ministry of Defence.

One of the highlights of the resource, the HW 1 series, consists of original intelligence reports from German, Japanese, Italian, and other nations’ signals, that were intercepted, deciphered, and translated by the British Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park. Covering the period 1940 to 1945, the HW 1 files include reports derived from high-grade cyphers such as ENIGMA. These reports were delivered to Winston Churchill in batches several times each day throughout the Second World War, and in many cases include Churchill’s own handwritten annotations in red ink.

Screenshot of page from ‘Government Code and Cypher School: Signals Intelligence Passed to the Prime Minister, Messages and Correspondence’, HW 1/1355, 10 February 1943. From Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War.

There are some online tutorials available to help guide you through the key features of the resource and enabling you to make the most of the wealth of tools available to help discover and view your content.

Access Secret Files from World Wars to Cold War via e-resources trials.
Access available until 26th June 2017.
Feedback welcome.
Please note that PDF downloads are not available during the trial.

Access is only available to current students and staff at University of Edinburgh.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for History, Classics and Archaeology