‘True knowledge is knowledge of why things are as they are, and not merely what they are.’

Isaiah Berlin

Dr. Helene von Bismarck, F.R.Hist.S.

Helene von Bismarck is a historian, author and political commentator. Her main interest is Britain’s role in international relations during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Helene’s fascination with the past motivates her dedication to the present. She has published numerous essays providing historical context to current affairs, addressed academic and non-academic audiences around the world, and acted as a commentator on radio and television. Helene is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, as well as a Senior Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

What choices will the next UK foreign secretary face?

A conversation with Chatham House director Brownen Maddox, Olivia O’Sullivan, and Shashank Joshi (defence editor of The Economist) about the future of British foreign policy after the next general elections. I argued that a drastically changed geopolitical environment pushes UK and Europeans closer together.

A critical friend: Helene von Bismarck on Britain and the World

I spoke to Podcaster and former British diplomat Arthur Snell about my intellectual journey of discovering the United Kingdom from the outside, British and German blind spots, and why the last few years in UK politics contain a lesson for those of us who are concerned about the future of liberal democracy across Europe and the United States.

In Europe we can’t help laughing at David Cameron’s return – but we welcome it too

In an incredible turn of events, David Cameron is back. The man who gambled his country’s future to end a dispute in his party by calling the Brexit referendum is now in charge of Britain’s foreign policy. Once you stop laughing at the irony of this appointment, it could actually be good news from a European point of view.

Why did it take a murderous war on Ukraine for Germany to wake up to the threat from Russia?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has triggered a public debate in Germany about the future of its security policy, and about its relations with Central and Eastern Europe. Historic arguments about the Second World War and the Cold War play an important role in this discussion.

For Hamburg, devastated by allied bombing, King Charles’ visit is so much more than a photo-op

St Nikolai Church in Hamburg, built by an English architect, was destroyed during the so-called ‘Operation Gomorrha’, a series of allied air raids against Hamburg in 1943. For King Charles III to visit this memorial during his first state visit abroad is a very significant and much appreciated gesture. At a time when politicians all over the world like to pick and choose from history with the sole purpose of suiting their narratives, it matters.

Shutting down parliament is worse than a coup. It’s a mistake.

Boris Johnson’s decision to prorogue Parliament in the middle of a significant national crisis has provoked outrage at home and abroad. Leaving the consitutional implications aside, this article argues that Johnson made a significant strategic mistake with this decision. He may have hoped to bully both the EU27 and Parliament into accepting a deal of his choosing, but, instead, he has united the British opposition against him.