Britannia and the Bear

Britannia and the Bear

The Anglo-Russian Intelligence Wars, 1917-1929

Victor Madeira

eBook for Handhelds

Boydell Press



Now in paperback, a compelling narrative about how two Great Powers of the early twentieth century did battle, both openly and in the shadows
Decades before the Berlin Wall went up, a Cold War had already begun raging. But for Bolshevik Russia, Great Britain - not America - was the enemy. Now, for the first time, Victor Madeira tells a story that has been hidden away for nearly a century. Drawing on over sixty Russian, British and French archival collections, Britannia and the Bear offers a compelling new narrative about how two great powers did battle, both openly and in the shadows.
By exploring British and Russian mind-sets of the time this book traces the links between wartime social unrest, growing trade unionism in the police and the military, and Moscow's subsequent infiltration of Whitehall. As early as 1920, Cabinet ministers were told that Bolshevik intelligence wanted to recruit university students from prominent families destined for government, professional and intellectual circles. Yet despite these early warnings, men such as the Cambridge Five slipped the security net fifteen years after the alarm was first raised.
Now in paperback, Britannia and the Bear tells the story of Russian espionage in Britain in these critical interwar years and reveals how British Government identified crucial lessons but failed to learn many of them. The book underscores the importance of the first Cold War in understanding the second, as well as the need for historical perspective in interpreting the mind-sets of rival powers.

Victor Madeira has a decade's experience in international security affairs, and his work has appeared in leading publications such as Intelligence and National Security and The Historical Journal. He completed his doctorate in Modern International History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.

An e-book version of this title is available (9781782042464), to libraries through a number of trusted suppliers. See here for a full list of our partners.


12 black and white, 1 line illustrations
343 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
History of British Intelligence
Paperback, 9781783271535, October 2016
Hardback, 9781843838951, May 2014
eBook for Handhelds, 9781782042938, May 2014
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037070, HIS015000, HIS032000
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[A] fascinating and valuable account. AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW

A fascinating and wonderfully researched book. REVOLUTIONARY RUSSIA

Madeira's study is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by piecing together intelligence and diplomatic history, offering at last the "missing dimension" to shed light on many political controversies. JOURNAL OF BRITISH STUDIES

[A]n impressively researched and insightful history that highlights the centrality of the geopolitical rivalry between Britain and Russia -- or, perhaps more accurately, the Soviet Union -- and the importance of understanding the intelligence wars of the early twentieth century. H-NET Reviews

Excellent . . . a pioneering work [that] should also appeal to anyone interested in modern politics, international relations and, as strange as it may sound, in Russia's present-day secret intelligence operations in Britain. THE SPECTATOR

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