U of T news

#UofTGrad17: Three things you should know about honorary grad Margaret MacMillan

Historian Margaret MacMillan, now a professor at Oxford, has many ties to the University of Toronto (photo by Colin McPherson/Corbis via Getty Images)

Historian Margaret MacMillan has written extensively about international relations, imperial India and a variety of aspects of Canadian and world affairs.

The professor of international history at St. Antony's College at the University of Oxford is best known for her international bestseller Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World, which won the 2002 Samuel Johnson Prize and the 2003 Governor General’s Award. 

MacMillan has strong ties to the University of Toronto. She completed a B.A. in Modern History at U of T as well as a B.Phil. She also served as a former provost of Trinity College and a professor of history at the university.

She returns to the university today to receive a Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, “for her outstanding service for the public good, as a public intellectual who brings history alive for the general public, both in Canada and around the world.”

She is among 16 people being recognized with honorary degrees by the University of Toronto in 2017.

Below are three things you should know about MacMillan.


On Brexit 

In the aftermath of the Brexit vote, MacMillan, a great-granddaughter of former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, spoke to the CBC about how the vote will be remembered in history books.

“I think it might be one of those moments that we look back, and we say this was a turning point, that something changed. The United Kingdom became a smaller place,” she told the CBC.

“I think England may end up as England – they're going back to the size they were in the sixteenth century.”

And she wondered about whether the European Union would survive the U.K. departure.

“We may all look back and regret this moment.”

On Trump and Mussolini

She's described Trump as more Mussolini, than Hitler.

“He’s not a Hitler – he doesn’t head a fascist party – and the Republican Party is more and more divided by the day,” she told Oxford Today. “But I think he’s like Mussolini in wanting public attention and portraying himself as the great strong man, making grand gestures and searching for enemies. He’s a lot like some of the Latin American dictators like Chavez or Castro or Perón – claiming to speak for the people; loving the crowds… Making promises: ‘I will give you money and jobs’ – then blaming ‘our enemies’ when they aren’t delivered.”

Her Books

MacMillan has written Women of the Raj; Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World, for which she was the first woman to win the Samuel Johnson Prize; Nixon in China: Six Days that Changed the World; The Uses and Abuses of History; and The War That Ended Peace.

From 1995 to 2003, MacMillan co-edited International Journal, published by the Canadian Institute of International Affairs (CIIA).

Her most recent book is Historys People: Personality and History.