World flags coloured in blue, green, and red. Logo of Cold War Studies Project

Cold War Studies Project

The CWSP is located in the LSE Department of International History, the home of some of the leading scholars of the Cold War in Europe.

The CWSP focuses on the history of the Cold War, which uses primary sources from archives of the West and the East and seeks to comment on contested issues, such as the rise and fall of the bipolarity, the endings of the Cold War in Europe, the Soviet collapse, and the impact of the Cold War on the countries of the Third World.

The CWSP is home to the Cold War History Journal, hosts public lectures and events at LSE, and works with international partners to deliver the International Graduate Student Conference, the European Summer School on Cold War History, and the LSE-Sciences Po Contemporary International History Seminar.


Why Cold War Studies?

In 2004-2021, the Cold War Studies were located in LSE IDEAS, originally under the leadership of Prof Arne Westad and Mick Cox.

The Cold War Studies Project employs LSE's unique potential for cooperation between historians, political and social scientists, theorists of international relations, and others to investigate the creation of the contemporary world through the prism of 20th century international history.

Many of today's policy challenges such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China’s new assertiveness, the volatility in the Middle East, terrorism, ethnic conflict, and threat from weapons of mass destruction originated in the international history of the 20th century, but most analyses lack historical perspective. CWSP aims to help the public better understand the world and assist policymakers around the world - better understanding the Cold War will make us more prepared for the choices we need to make today.



Head of the Cold War Studies programme

Professor Vladislav Zubok

Contact email:


Upcoming Events and Seminars

 None currently - please check back soon!

The LSE Cold War Podcast

The LSE Cold War Podcast tackles the big questions around the conflict that made our contemporary world: The Cold War. Every fortnight, Jack Basu-Mellish interviews scholars from LSE, a leading global centre for the development of Cold War Studies, and beyond. Unpacking the history of the decades-long global conflict, the LSE Cold War Podcast examines the past, present, and future of Cold War history in conversation with some of the leading scholars in the field.

Click here for more information and to listen.

Event Recordings


"Women in Diplomacy - From the Interwar to the Cold War"

Conference hosted by the Department of International History; sponsored by the Cold War Studies Project, The LSE IDEAS Women in Diplomacy, The Centre for Women Peace and Security at LSE, Oxford Centre for Life Writing, University of Sussex Centre for American Studies, University of Westminster, The Global Biography Working Group, and the Women's History Network.

Friday, 8 March 2024

Listen to the recording here


"1983 Remembered: The Most Dangerous Year in the Cold War?" 

Conference hosted by the Department of International History; sponsored by the Cold War Studies Project

Tuesday, 12 DecemberKeynote Lecture 1 ("Reflections on 1983" - David Holloway) 

Wednesday, 13 December: Conference Day 1 

Wednesday, 13 DecemberKeynote Lecture 2 ("George F. Kennan and the End of the Cold War" - Frank Costigliola) 

Thursday, 14 December: Conference Day 2 

Thursday, 14 December: Keynote Lecture 3 ("Nuclear Holocaust and Historical Memory" - Carol Gluck)


"To Run the World: the Kremlin’s Foreign Policy from the Cold War to the post-Cold War", with Professor Sergey Radchenko 

Department of International History Research Forum

Thursday 7 March 2024

Sergey Radchenko will discuss his new magisterial book To Run the World: the Kremlin’s Cold War Bid for Global Power, forthcoming  in the Cambridge University Press in May 2024. In particular he explores how the Soviet and Russian leaders formulated and pursued their foreign policy aims during the Cold War, and in its aftermath. 


The Beginning of the End of the Cold War

Co-hosted with the Department of International History

Tuesday 17 November 2020

Simon Miles discusses how the United States and the Soviet Union decided to move from covert engagement to overt conversation and how this laid the groundwork for the end of the Cold War.


30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall: German historical memory and national identity

Co-hosted with the Department of International History

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Hope Harrison examines the arc of memory politics in Germany since 1989, including the impact of the rise of the far right as well as German plans for the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Wall.


NATO at 70: History, Politics and Challenges

Thursday 23 May 2019

Reflecting on NATO’s 70 anniversary, this round-table discussion reflected on the challenges that the Alliance faces today in light of its long-term history and development.


The Underrated Ally: Italy in the Cold War

Most histories of the Cold War portray Italy as being passive, without its own ambitious foreign policy. This panel discussion challenges that assumption by exploring Italian diplomacy during the Cold War and how Italian foreign policy was shaped by the country's domestic economy and politics.


The Cold War: a world history

Arne Westad and Michael Cox discusses the truly global nature of the Cold War, with East and West demanding absolute allegiance around the world.


Forging Europe: Vichy France and the origins of the European Union 

LSE IDEAS-Open University event

In this lecture, Luc-André Brunet explains continuities from the wartime Vichy regime to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), the forerunner to today’s European Union, and what this means for current debates about Europe.


Gorbachev: his life and times 

LSE IDEAS-LSE Department of International History event

How did a peasant boy rise to the top of the Soviet system and end it? Pulitzer Prize winner William Taubman explains how Gorbachev's biography and background influenced his unique role in world history.


The Balkans in the Cold War: Book Launch Discussion

The edited volume ‘Balkans in the Cold War’ contains 16 contributions from renowned experts and scholars on how the global Cold War manifested in the Balkans. This Q&A with the editors includes introductory comments by Arne Westad and Vesselin Dimitrov.


Trump and China in the Asian Century

Part of the Rethinking the Cold War Lecture Series with the University of Sheffield 

The election of Donald Trump as president signals a profound change in US foreign relations. In this lecture, Professor Arne Westad of Harvard University asks what the reactions to the Trump presidency are likely to be in eastern Asia and whether we are facing a fundamental power shift in the region.


The World Reimagined: Americans and Human Rights 

Part of the Rethinking the Cold War Lecture Series with the University of Sheffield

How did the idea of 'human rights' develop in the twentieth century? In this lecture, Mark Bradley explored how changes in US culture and thought in the 1970s reflected a changing global idea of 'universial human rights' and changed the American idea of what it means to be free.


From One Cold War to Another? 

Part of the LSE Literary Festival 2017

A wide ranging conversation with authors and columnists Anne Applebaum, Gideon Rachman, and Jonathan Fenby on if Russia and the West are facing a 'New Cold War', the rise of China, and the future of the international order. 


A Briton at the Heart of Europe: Revisiting Roy Jenkins' Presidency of the European Commission 

LSE IDEAS - LSE Department of International History event 

Forty years ago, a British politician was appointed President of the European Commission. In this lecture Dr Piers Ludlow explored what Jenkins' tenure reveals about the nature of the job and the history of Britain in Europe. 


An Imaginary War? Culture, Thought and Nuclear Conflict during the Cold War 

Part of the Rethinking the Cold War Lecture Series with the University of Sheffield 

Collective imaginations of nuclear warfare were a central battleground of the Cold War, fought through war-games and fictitious scenarios. This panel debate explored the 'imaginary war' and how culture and individuals struggled to comprehend nuclear war.


Stalin's Team

We know a lot about Stalin but less about the team – Molotov, Kaganovich, Mikoyan and the rest of a group whose membership was roughly but never quite equivalent to the Politburo – that surrounded him for 25 years.


25 Years After the End of the Cold War: Its Legacy in a New World Order

Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, how do these events shape the world today? What are the legacies of the Cold War? And are we truly in the midst of a new Cold War?


The Polish Roundtable Talks and the End of the Cold War

The Polish roundtable talks and subsequent elections on 4 June 1989 were a crucial step in ending the Cold War. 25 years later, LSE IDEAS and the Polish Embassy in London hosted witnesses of the Polish Democratic Transition to join academics to discuss the importance of the events for Poland, for Europe, and for the world.


The Cold War and the Culture of Secrecy

Official secrecy in the U.S. during the Cold War altered the culture of government and served many hidden agendas. Matthew Connelly explains how classified information became an institutional asset, security clearances became a way to police behaviour, and senior officials leaked classified information to gain higher office. Select Matthew Connelly on the Philippe Roman Chair page to listen.


The Political Economy of the Cold War

At its heart the Cold War was a competition between two economic systems. Niall Ferguson compares and contrasts the United States and the Soviet Union and asks how far the outcome of the Cold War was economically determined from the outset. Select Niall Ferguson on the Philippe Roman Chair page to listen.


The Third World’s War

The Cold War was waged partly through a series of proxy wars in Third World countries from Guatemala to Korea to Vietnam. Niall Ferguson argues that we need to see the ‘Third World's War’ in perspective. He explains how successful the Soviet Union was in pursuing a strategy of fomenting revolution and how consistently successive U.S. administrations behaved in response. Select Niall Ferguson on the Philippe Roman Chair page to listen.


Nuclear Arms & Human Rights

The decisive breakthroughs in the Cold War occurred in seemingly unrelated fields, nuclear arms control and human rights. Niall Ferguson asks what were the links between these two issues and which mattered more? Select Niall Ferguson on the Philippe Roman Chair page to listen.


Private Events

Star Wars: A View from the Commentariat

Friday 31 May 2019

Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman from King's College London delivered the keynote lecture entitled 'Star Wars: A View from the Commentariat'. This was part of the conference 'Towards an International History of the Strategic Defence Initiative'.


International Graduate Student Conference on the Cold War

Jointly organsied by the Cold War Studies Project at LSE IDEAS, the Center for Cold War Studies and International History at the University of California in Santa Barbara, and the Cold War Group at George Washington University in Washington DC. The annual conference alternates between the three campuses. The 2018 conference took place at LSE on 3-5 May.


Nuclear Diplomacy in the ‘Second Cold War’: New Perspectives on NATO and the Euromissile Crisis

Monday 26 March 2018

This workshop discussed new perspectives on the controversial deployment of nuclear weapons in Western Europe (‘Euromissiles’) in the early 1980s. Drawing on newly declassified sources across different NATO member states and beyond, participants re-evaluated the role of nuclear diplomacy at the height of the so-called Second Cold War.



Reflecting on the End of the Cold War

Founding Co-Director of LSE IDEAS Professor Michael Cox explains why it's important to look at the events of 1989 in order to understand contemporary international issues.

Towards a Global History of the Cold War in Latin America

Dr Tanya Harmer discusses her research and the need for a global history of the Cold War in Latin America.

Greece and Europe

In the context of the Eurozone crisis, many have questioned the rationale behind the decision to let Greece join the European Economic Community (EEC). Dr Eirini Karamouzi discusses this issue and her book Greece, the EEC and the Cold War, 1974-1979. The Second Enlargement.

Why we are not in the midst of a new Cold War

On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mikhail Gorbachev warned that the world is in the midst of a new Cold War. In an interview with CNN, Luc-André Brunet explains why this is not the case. Watch on