Dr Daniel Larsen

Assistant Professor in US Foreign Policy, Department of POLIS (fixed-term)
College Lecturer in History, Trinity College (fixed-term)

I am a historian of American and British foreign policy and intelligence in the first half of the twentieth century, including an interest in its political, economic, and legal dimensions.

I have focussed especially on Anglo-American relations and British war policy in the First World War era, with an emphasis on the role of British intelligence. My first book, Plotting for Peace (Cambridge University Press, 2021), re-examines American peace diplomacy and the British diplomatic and political response to it during 1914 to 1917, alongside an exploration of the Anglo-American economic relationship.  I am especially interested in the role of codebreaking and economics in shaping foreign policy, cultures of secrecy in government, and the history of ideas concerning the conduct of foreign policy.

I previously held a fixed-term University Lectureship in International Relations at the University of Cambridge, and a Junior Research Fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge. My MPhil and PhD degrees are from Christ's College, Cambridge, and I completed my BA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I am a co-convenor of the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar.


I currently supervise history papers 6 (British Political History since 1880), 11 (British Economic and Social History since 1880), and 24 (American History since 1865), as well as politics paper POL14 (U.S. Foreign Policy).

American and British diplomatic, intelligence, political, economic, and legal history


Tags & Themes


Trinity College, Cambridge, CB2 1TQ


Key Publications


Plotting for Peace: American Peacemakers, British Codebreakers, and Britain at War, 1914-1917 (Cambridge University Press, 2021)


“Before ‘National Security’: The Espionage Act of 1917 and the Concept of ‘National Defense’”, Harvard Law National Security Journal 12/2 (2021), pp. 329-372.

“Creating an American Culture of Secrecy: Cryptography in Wilson-Era Diplomacy”, Diplomatic History 44/1 (2020), pp. 102-132.

“British Signals Intelligence and the 1916 Easter Rising in Ireland”, Intelligence and National Security 33/1 (2018), pp. 48-66.

“British Codebreaking and American Diplomatic Telegrams, 1914-1915”, Intelligence and National Security 32/2 (2017), pp. 256-263. 

“Intelligence in the First World War: The State of the Field”, Intelligence and National Security 29/2 (2014), pp. 282-302.

“Abandoning Democracy: Woodrow Wilson and Promoting German Democracy, 1918-1919”, Diplomatic History 37/3 (2013), pp. 476-508.

“War Pessimism in Britain and an American Peace in Early 1916”, International History Review 34/4 (2012), pp. 795-817.

“British Intelligence and the 1916 Mediation Mission of Colonel Edward M. House”, Intelligence and National Security 25/5 (2010), pp. 682-704.

     Book Chapter

“A Missing Dimension No Longer: Intelligence Studies, Professor Christopher Andrew, and the University of Cambridge”, in Liam Gearon (ed.), The Routledge International Handbook of Universities, Security and Intelligence Studies (Abingdon: Routledge, 2020), pp. 243-249.

Other Publications

“The Espionage Act Has Become Dangerous Because We Forgot Its Intention”, Washington Post, 21 June 2022.

“What Happens if Neither Trump Nor Biden Concedes?”, New York Times, 1 November 2020.

“How U.S. Foreign Policy from Iran to Ukraine Became Shrouded in Secrecy: the Rise of National Security, and Why It Means a Lack of Accountability”, Washington Post, 7 January 2020.