Professor N. Piers Ludlow

Professor N. Piers Ludlow

Professor, Head of Department

Department of International History

+44 (0)20 7955 7099
Room No
English, French, Italian
Key Expertise
European Integration, Cold War Transatlantic Relations

About me

Professor Ludlow 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. In the medium term he plans to write a detailed study of the development of transatlantic relations during the Cold War – and in particular of the way in which the Americans sought to balance their bilateral and multilateral dealings with their Western European allies, and the way in which the European allies jostled for the ear of the Americans. A first taste of this research appeared in his Journal of Cold War Studies article in 2013.  But the initial research priority will be a book assessing and analyzing Britain’s 40 plus years as member of the European Community/Union – from beginning until 2016. This will hopefully add depth and perspective to the current debate about Brexit and allow a clearer appreciation of how membership affected both the UK itself and the EC/EU more widely – and hence how both will be altered by the imminent end of this membership.

Other titles: Head of Department

Expertise Details

Western Europe since 1945; European Integration; Cold War Transatlantic Relations; Britain in the EC/EU

Teaching & supervision

Professor Piers Ludlow usually teaches the following courses in the Department:

At undergraduate level:

HY206: The International History of the Cold War, 1945-1989

At Master's level:

HY411: European Integration in the Twentieth Century (taught jointly with other members of staff in the Department)

Professor Ludlow also supervises the following PhD students

 Research Student  Provisional Thesis Title
Arnaud Balner Robert Marjolin, European civil servant (1948-1967)
 Stavros Diamantopoulos  The Greek problem and the EC in the 1980s
Bernard Gordon Case studies on the UK and the European Investment Bank (EIB) - 1973-2019

Recently graduated PhD students include:

 Research Student  Provisional Thesis Title
 Hamish McDougall (2021)  Staying Alive: New Zealand, Britain and European Integration, 1960-85
Benjamin Heckscher (2021) The Socialist Movement for the United States of Europe: transnational socialism and the launching of the early European institutions   
Alexandre Dab (2021)  Going beyond declaratory diplomacy: France, Britain, transatlantic relations, and the European Community’s diplomatic initiative to the Middle East, 1978-1982
Bastiaan Bouwman (2019) Universal Rights in a Divided World: The Human Rights Engagement of the World Council of Churches from the 1940s to the 1970s
Eline van Ommen (2019) Sandinistas Go Global: Nicaragua and Western Europe, 1977-1990


Professor Piers Ludlow has written three books: Dealing with Britain: The Six and the First UK Membership Application (Cambridge University Press, 1997) The European Community and the Crises of the 1960s: Negotiating the Gaullist Challenge (Routledge: 2006) and Roy Jenkins and the European Commission Presidency, 1976-1980: At the Heart of Europe (Palgrave, 2016), and (jointly) edited six more, Les administrations nationales et la construction européenne: une approche historique (1919-1975) (Peter Lang, 2005); European Integration and the Cold War: Ostpolitik-Westpolitik, 1965-1973 (Routledge, 2007); Europe and the End of the Cold War: A Reappraisal (Routledge, 2008); Visions of the End of the Cold War in Europe, 1945-1990 (Berghahn, 2012), The European Commission 1973-1986. History and Memories of an institution (Luxembourg: Publication Office of the EU, 2014) and The European Commission, 1986-2000: History and Memories of an Institution (Publications Office of the EU, 2019).

Other recent publications include:


News and media


Interview with EU Radio

Professor Ludlow was interviewed for a French based radio station to mark the 50th anniversary of Britain’s entry into the EEC. In it, he sheds important historical light on this strange anniversary. 


New piece in the International History blog

Professor Piers Ludlow penned a blog post titled 'Kwarteng, Barber and Europe' for the International History blog in September 2022. In it, he parallels the audacious mini-budget, with its extensive tax cuts and its focus on boosting investment and growth with Anthony Barber’s ill-fated ‘dash for growth’ budget in 1972. 


Thesis award for former PhD student

Dr Eline van Ommen won the British International History Group’s Michael Dockrill Memorial Thesis Prize for 2021. Her thesis, "Sandinistas Go Global: Nicaragua and Western Europe, 1977-1990", was supervised by Dr Tanya Harmer and Professor Ludlow. The Michael Dockrill Thesis Prize is awarded annually to the best doctoral thesis on any aspect and any period of International History.


New article in The International History Review

“Solidarity, Sanctions and Misunderstanding: The European Dimension of the Falklands Crisis” discusses the success of foreign policy coordination amongst EC member states during the Falklands crisis. However, despite this success, the support received by Britain did not translate into any increase in British public or elite enthusiasm for European integration. Read more


New pieces by Professor Piers Ludlow

Professor Ludlow wrote a piece for the “Europe and the Rhetoric of Crisis” Forum on H/Soz/Kult. He discusses the basic pattern of the EU’s recurrent flirtation with the numerous disasters which have afflicted it since 2009 and suggests that only by invoking imminent doom can a system as cumbersome and risk-averse as the EU be spurred into action. Read the piece here.

He also wrote a piece in the LSE Brexit Blog: “Britain needs friends in the post-Brexit era. Alienating EU allies would be counter-productive” argues that the discussion underway should heed not only to how we go on doing business with our neighbours and foreign partners, but also to the type of strong and structured political relationship which will maximize the chance of our preserving some say in the way in which Europe develops. Read it here.


EU publication: The European Commission, 1986-2000

Professor Ludlow has co-edited and contributed nine chapters to a new volume on the history of the European Commission, The European Commission, 1986-2000. A total of 52 academics and researchers from more than 30 universities and research centres in Europe, the United States and around 15 countries took part in the drafting of this work. Professor Ludlow’s chapters cover topics on the Commission and other EC/EU institutions, on fraud and the budget, on the Northern Irish PEACE programme and on former President of the European Commission Jacques Delors. The whole volume, released by EU publications, is available to download for free here.


"Did we ever really understand how the EU works?"

Professor Piers Ludlow penned a blog post to the LSE Brexit Blog in June 2019. He argues that the Brexit negotiations have highlighted the superficial understanding of the system acquired by much of the UK political class during the four decades spent inside the system. Find out why here.


BBC Radio 4 documentary

Professor Ludlow contributed to a new BBC Radio 4 documentary named “Death of the Postwar Settlement”. The three-episode documentary started airing on 29 October and includes commentary from former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair, former Foreign Minister of Poland Radek Sikorski and former US Deputy Secretary for Defense Paul Wolfowitz. The documentary discusses why the international order built after 1945 is now in deep trouble. Listen to the full documentary on the BBC iPlayer (UK only).


LSE Brexit blog post

Professor Ludlow co-authored a blog post based on an event hosted by the Department in June 2018 entitled “British Influence in Brussels: Looking Back and Looking Forward”. Britain had far greater influence in Brussels since 1973 than has been recognised. For decades the UK was a driving and liberalising force when it came to the Single Market, enlargement, competition and trade, as well as foreign policy. Professor Ludlow, Sir Jonathan Faull (Kings College London), and Professor Laurent Warlouzet (Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale) outline the story of this significant and widespread British sway over the EU.


On Brexit negotiations

Professor Ludlow contributed a post to the LSE Brexit blog. He argues that Britain is making the same mistake about the EU now as Harold Macmillan did about the European Community in the 1960s. Only if the UK makes major concessions is progress likely to be made. Read his insights on the Brexit negotiations.



Dr Piers Ludlow was officially promoted to Professor on 1 August 2017.


The European Community and the Crisies of the 1960s listed in 100 Books by European Parliament

Dr Piers Ludlow’s second book, The European Community and the Crises of the 1960s: Negotiating the Gaullist Challenge (2006), was included in a list drawn up by the European Parliament of the 100 books that ought to be read about Europe. See it listed here. The European Community and the Crises of the 1960s was published by Routledge in 2006. The book is a detailed study of the European Community's development between 1963 and 1969, with a special focus on the struggle between France and its EC partners over the purpose, structure and membership of the emerging European Community.


On Brexit Outcome

On 21 October 2016, Dr Piers Ludlow contributed an analysis post to KCL’s UK in a Changing Europe Initiative blog, entitled “An Elite Problem Too”. Dr Ludlow argues that Britain’s political elite, including many of those who voted remain, played a part in the Brexit referendum outcome. Read the full post.


On Brexit for the Politheor

On 29 August 2016, Dr Piers Ludlow was interviewed for the latest issue of Politheor: European Policy Network on the future of the European project. Dr Ludlow shares his views on European integration, Brexit and why he thinks that “Brexit is neither the first nor the worst crisis that the EU has confronted”. Read the interview.


LSE Excellence in Education Awards

In June 2016, Dr Piers Ludlow won an LSE Excellence in Education Award with other members of the Department. Designed to support the School’s aspiration of creating ‘a culture where excellence in teaching is valued and rewarded on a level with excellence in research’ (LSE Strategy 2020), the Excellence in Education Awards are made, on the recommendations of Heads of Department, to staff who have demonstrated outstanding teaching contribution and educational leadership in their departments.


Author interview with Dr Piers Ludlow: Portrait of a President

In Dr Piers Ludlow’s latest book, Roy Jenkins and the European Commission Presidency, 1976 –1980: At the Heart of Europe (Palgrave, 2016), he argues that Roy Jenkins brought great talent to Europe’s top job. He played a key role in re-launching European monetary integration, winning the right to attend the new global summits, and smoothing Greece’s path to EC membership. During his tenure as president of the European Commission, Roy Jenkins helped the institution emerge from a period of crisis and laid the foundations for the European Union (EU). In this interview with Peter Carrol for the LSE Review of Books (11 May 2016), Dr Piers Ludlow discusses Jenkins’s legacy in relation to Europe, British politics and how Jenkins’s gregarious personality was both a help and a hindrance in his political career. Read the full interview. This interview was originally published as a ‘Research Highlights’ feature.

My research