Professor Neil Forbes

Research Interests

My research focuses on the interaction of foreign policy with the practices of business, especially those of multinational enterprise, in the context of the interwar, international crisis and the coming of the Second World War. I examine, for example, how the liberal capitalist system was almost fatally undermined by the trauma and shocks brought about by the Great Depression, Financial Crisis and the rise of extremist ideologies. Such research can offer insights that help to inform not only a range of disciplinary experts but also those with general interests in the subject.

I also study the relationship between Europe’s rich cultural heritage and its peoples, particularly how the tangible and intangible legacies of conflict and war underpin the multiple identities of Europe and its nation states. My work seeks to reveal that which has been hidden, neglected or only partially recognised in terms of individual memories, institutional representations, and societal practices, and to show how cultural heritage can be of benefit to an increasingly diverse society.

Professor Neil Forbes profile photo.

Professor of International History; Project Co-ordinator


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I am a Professor of International History, and I have held several senior academic posts at Coventry University. As Principal Investigator or Co-ordinator, I have led several international research projects funded by national and pan-European agencies. I am a member of several professional and advisory bodies, and act in this capacity for UK Research and Innovation and European bodies such as Europe’s Joint Programming Initiative.

Selected outputs

  • Niall G. MacKenzie, Andrew Perchard, Christopher Miller and Neil Forbes (eds.) (2023) Varieties of Capitalism Over Time Routledge
  • Takafumi Kurosawa, T, Forbes, N, and Wubs, B (2020), ‘Political risks and nationalism’, in The Routledge Companion to the Makers of Global Business. Ed. by Teresa da Silva Lopes, Christina Lubinski, Heide J.S. Tworek. Routledge
  • Forbes, N, and Colella, S. (2019) ‘Embedding Engagement: Participatory Approaches to Cultural Heritage’. Scientific Research and Information Technology, Vol 9, Issue 1
  • Forbes, N, Takafumi Kurosawa, T, and Wubs, B. (eds.).(2019) Multinational Enterprise, Political Risk and Organisational Change: From Total War to Cold War Routledge
  • Forbes, N (2019) ‘Museums, European Society and the Legacy of 1918’, in Museums, Borders and European Responsibility – One Hundred Years after the First World War. Ed. by Deborah Tout-Smith. ICOM Deutschland, Beiträge zur Museologie, Band 8,
  • Forbes, N (2017) ‘The Foreign Office, foreign policy and commerce:
    Anglo-German Relations in the 1930s’, in The Foreign Office, Commerce and British Foreign Policy in the Twentieth Century. Ed. by John Fisher, Effie G. H. Pedaliu, Richard Smith
  • Borowiecki, K. Jan, Forbes, N, and Fresa, A. (eds.) (2016) Cultural Heritage in a Changing World. Springer
  • Forbes, N (2016) ‘The Flows of International Finance after the First World War: the Bank of England and Hungary, 1920 – 1939’, in The Impact of the First World War on International Business. Ed. by Andrew Smith, Kevin D Tennent, Simon Mollan. Routledge
  • Forbes, N (2014/2) ‘Democracy at a disadvantage? British rearmament, the shadow factory scheme and the coming of war, 1936-40’. Jahrbuch für Wirtschaftsgeschichte/Economic History Yearbook, De Gruyter 
  • Forbes, N (2013) 'Family banking in an era of crisis: N M Rothschild & Sons and business in central and eastern Europe between the World Wars'. Business History, 55,6
  • Forbes, N., Page, R., and Perez, G. (eds.) (2009) Europe's Deadly Century: Perspectives on 20th-Century Conflict Heritage. Landscapes of War. Swindon: English Heritage
  • Forbes, N (2009) 'The History of Banking: a New Bridge Between Disciplines? A Reply to Håkan Lindgren'. In Weiner Zeitschrift zur Geschichte der Neuzeit. Ed. by Eigner, P., and Štefanová, D
  • Forbes, N (2007) 'Multinational Enterprise, ‘Corporate Responsibility’ and the Nazi Dictatorship: The Case of Unilever and Germany in the 1930s'. Contemporary European History 16 (2)

Selected projects

  • VolkswagenStiftung - Historical Tensions between International Business and National Taxation: A Challenge for Europe Today (2022 -2026), Partner, €1,200,600
  • CEF-TC-2017-3 – Europeana – Fifties in Europe Kaleidoscope Project (2019-2020), Partner, €111,000
  • EU H2020 CULT-COOP-06 – REACH Project (2017 – 2020), Re-designing access to CH for a wider participation in preservation, (re)use and management of European culture: Lead Partner/Co-ordinator, €1,500,000
  • RICHES (2013-16)
    Renewal, Innovation and Change: Heritage and European Society
    Framework Programme 7 Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities Research
  • Civic Epistemologies (2014-15)
    Development of a Roadmap for Citizen Researchers in the age of Digital Culture
    Framework Programme 7 Infrastructures 
  • BT - New Connections (2012-13)
    BT Digital  Archive - Mass Digitisation
    e-Content Capital Programme
 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023