Prof. Dr. Robert Knight

(Universität Wien/University College London)


On Monday, 3rd June 2019, Prof. Dr. Robert Knight held a lecture at the International Institute for Peace titled „Darkest Hour? Churchill Myth-Making and the Great Brexit Fiasco“.

In his lecture Dr Robert Knight argued that an important explanation for the current Brexit crisis lies in Britain’s longstanding myth-making about the Second World War. In particular a cultural memory of the crisis of 1940 has encouraged delusions and self-delusions. One striking example is the false – and absurd – analogy between Britain’s current position in relation to the EU and its war-time isolation. Dr Knight argues that this – supported by the virtual sacralisation of Winston Churchill – has led to a ‘politics of fantasy‘. He illustrated this by examining the recent much-acclaimed film Darkest Hour, exploring the role played in one scene by Thomas Macaulay’s famous poem Horatius and concluding that the film was sophisticated but highly effective Brexit propaganda.

Robert Knight is Sir Peter Ustinov guest Professor at the University of Vienna and honorary fellow of the Institute of Advanced Studies, University College London.