Hendrik de Man and Social Democracy: The Idea of Planning in Western Europe, 1914-1940

Hosted by the Department of International History

Online Public Event, United Kingdom


Dr Tommaso Milani

Dr Tommaso Milani

Professor Martin Conway

Professor Martin Conway

Dr Dina Gusejnova

Dr Dina Gusejnova


Professor Piers Ludlow

Professor Piers Ludlow

Book Talk

Dr Tommaso Milani’s new book, Hendrik de Man and Social Democracy: The Idea of Planning in Western Europe, 1914-1940 (Palgrave Macmillan 2020) investigates the intellectual and political trajectory of the Belgian theorist Hendrik de Man (1885-1953) by examining his impact on Western European left-wing parties and trade unions between the two World Wars.

Based on multinational archival research, the book shows how de Man’s rise to prominence – both as a thinker and as a party leader – was made possible by the serious practical and theoretical challenges faced by the socialist movement in the aftermath of the First World War. Neither a traditional reformist nor a revolutionary, de Man developed a new doctrine and a pioneering plan for action that were, however, largely resisted by an older generation of socialist politicians. The author contends that studying de Man’s ultimately unsuccessful attempt to recast socialist thought and practice sheds new light on the interwar crisis as well as on the Left’s tribulations after 1945.

Meet our speakers and chair

Dr Tommaso Milani is a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute.  He received his PhD from the LSE in 2017 and has subsequently taught at Balliol College, University of Oxford, and Sciences Po Paris. His research interests include the transnational history of socialism during the Twentieth Century and different models of economic planning in Europe and the United States.

Professor Martin Conway (Balliol College, University of Oxford) has  published a number of books on the history of Belgium and on the wider history of Europe in the 20th century. His most recent book on Belgium, The Sorrows of Belgium (2012), was a study of the reconstruction and subsequent crises of the Belgian state after the Second World War. His most recent collective project is a study with colleagues of post-war periods in European history entitled Europe’s Postwar Periods – 1989, 1945, 1918 (Bloomsbury, London, 2018). He has recently completed a history of democracy in Europe after 1945, focusing on the rise, and subsequent crises, of democratic structures, practices and ideas in Europe, Western Europe’s Democratic Age 1945-1968 (Princeton University Press, 2020).

Dr Dina Gusejnova is Assistant Professor in International History at LSE. Her research interests centre on modern European political, intellectual and cultural history of transitional periods, especially the revolutions of 1918-20 and the two World Wars. She is currently interested in ideas of citizenship and nationality which emerged in the context of forced displacement and internment in the Second World War. Her first major research project sheds light on ideas of European integration after the First World War. In European Elites and Ideas of Empire, 1917-1957 (Cambridge University Press, 2016, pbk 2018), she reconstructs the intellectual lifeworld of three fading empires, Germany, Austria-Hungary and Russia, through the eyes of a group of German-speaking authors whose social lives traversed the three societies. The book maps out how ideas of Europe emerged in response to the decline of the continental empires.

Professor Piers Ludlow is Head of the International History Department at the LSE. He studied for his undergraduate degree at Trinity College, Oxford before moving on to St Antony's College Oxford to study for his D.Phil. He was then a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Balliol College, Oxford until he joined LSE in 1998. Professor Ludlow’s main research interests lie in the history of Western Europe since 1945, in particular the historical roots of the integration process and the development of the EU. He recently completed a monograph looking in some detail at Roy Jenkins’ presidency of the European Commission, which was published by Palgrave in April 2016. He also works on the Cold War, and in particular West-West relations during the East-West struggle. His initial research priority will be a book assessing and analysing Britain’s 40 plus years as member of the European Community/Union – from beginning until 2016.

More about this event

The Department of International History (@lsehistory) teaches and conducts research on the international history of Britain, Europe and the world from the early modern era up to the present day.

Sponsored by the Department's Conflict and Identity in Europe since the 18th Century research cluster.


Listen to the podcast. Find podcasts and videos of other past events in our website.