Professor Jonathan Boff FRHistS

Professor Jonathan Boff

Department of History
Professor of Military History

Contact details

Arts Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

As a historian, I am primarily interested in how institutions and individuals respond to the challenges of war. I believe that this is best studied using an approach which is both comparative and cross-disciplinary.


  • PhD War Studies, King’s College London 
  • MA History of Warfare, King’s College London 
  • BA PPE, Merton College, Oxford University


I joined the University of Birmingham in September 2011 after completing my PhD at King’s College London. Before returning to academia in 2005 I spent twenty years working in the private sector, much of the time in Asia.



  • First Year: Practising History
  • Second Year Core: Introduction to Strategy and Operational Art 
  • Second Year Option: Britain and the Second World War 
  • Second Year Option: Britain and France at War, 1793-1815
  • Third Year Core: Writing the History of War 
  • Third Year Option: Warfare at Sea from the Armada to D-Day 
  • Third Year Option: Britain and her Soldiers
  • Third Year Special Subject: The British Army on the Western Front 
  • Third Year Special Subject: The Weary Titan: Britain, her Empire and the World, 1897-1919


Postgraduate supervision

I am keen to supervise projects on Economic Statecraft, past and present, the military history of the two world wars, British strategy from Gladstone to Churchill, and morale and combat motivation. I am particularly keen to encourage projects with a comparative/international dimension.

Past PhD students include Dr Aimee Fox-Godden, 'Inter-Theatre Learning in the British Army during the First World War' and Dr Andrew Duncan, 'The Training and Ethos of British Officers before the First World War'

Current projects include 'Photographic Reconnaissance and Data Management in the First World War' (Nicole Chicarelli) and 'Pilot Training in the Luftwaffe before and during the Second World War' (Frank Gerards)

Find out more - our PhD History  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research centres on Applied History and the use of the past to provide empirical evidence for, and shed light, on the dilemmas of the present.

My current research focusses on Economic Statecraft and the use of money as a weapon of war. This brings together This brings together my previous empirical work with my earlier twenty-year career in the City. Funded by an AHRC Fellowship in Research Leadership (2020-23), this project has already spun off articles in important edited collections and academic journals and will inform a monograph to be published by Oxford University Press in 2025: 'The Age of Mammon and Mars: Money and War in the Modern World'.

I have written two prize-winning books on the First World War, Haig's Enemy (OUP, 2018) and Winning and Losing on the Western Front (CUP, 2012) as well as over a dozen peer-reviewed articles. 

Other activities

Jonathan has written for newspapers and magazines including The Spectator, The Daily Telegraph and History Today. He has worked as a consultant for the British Government and Army on institutional adaptation, strategy, and economic statecraft, and has briefed the heads of the NATO armies as well as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the USA. He serves on the councils of the National Army Museum and Army Records Society, and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. 


Recent publications


Boff, J 2018, Haig's Enemy: Crown Prince Rupprecht and Germany's war on the Western Front. Oxford University Press. <>

Boff, J 2012, Winning and Losing on the Western Front: the British third Army and the Defeat of Germany in 1918. vol. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.


Boff, J & Philpott, W 2019, 'Introduction: Transforming War, 1914-1918', British Journal of Military History, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 1-18.

Boff, J 2019, 'Two Battles at Le Cateau, 1914 and 1918: The Transformation of War', British Journal of Military History, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 19=39.

Boff, J 2014, 'The morale maze : the German Army in late 1918', The Journal of Strategic Studies, vol. 37, no. 6-7, pp. 855-878.

Boff, J 2012, '‘Logistics during the Hundred Days Campaign, 1918: British Third Army’', Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, vol. 89.

Boff, J 2010, 'Combined Arms during the Hundred Days Campaign, August-November 1918', War in History, vol. 17, no. 4, pp. 459-478.

Boff, J 2009, 'Air/land integration in the 100 Days', Royal Air Force Air Power Review, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 77-88.

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Boff, J 2024, Keynes, the economic consequences of the peace, and popular perceptions of the First World War. in P Clavin, G Corsetti, M Obstfeld & A Tooze (eds), Keynes's Economic Consequences of the Peace after 100 Years: Polemics and Policy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 421-442.

Boff, J 2023, War Finance. in H Strachan (ed.), The British Home Front and the First World War. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 241-258.

Boff, J 2018, Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria, the German Command and Kaiser Wilhelm II in 1914-1915. in M Glencross & J Rowbotham (eds), Monarchies and the Great War. 1st edn, Palgrave Studies in Modern Monarchy, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 67-85.

Boff, J 2018, The British Army in 1918. in M Strohn (ed.), 1918: Winning the War, Losing the War. Osprey Publishing, Oxford, pp. 97-127.

Boff, J 2017, Vorsprung durch taktik? Das britische Heer und die Materialschlacht 1916. in C Stachelbeck (ed.), Materialschlachten 1916: Ereignis, Bedutung, Erinnerung. Zeitalter der Weltkrieg edn, Verlag Ferdinand Schoningh, Paderborn, pp. 97-110.


Boff, J 2013, ‘Command Culture and Complexity: Third Army during the Hundred Days’. in G Sheffield & P Gray (eds), Changing War: The Genesis of Modern Warfare . Birmingham War Studies, Bloomsbury Academic, London. <>

View all publications in research portal



  • Armed forces policy
  • Commemoration
  • Military archives