This survey outlines the characteristics and drivers of the phases of European industrial policy over the last century and attempts some conclusions about policy impacts. The first liberal phase and the second, ultimately autarkic, phase were ended by war. The third phase terminated with the oil price shocks of the 1970s at the high tide of interventionism. These shocks, and the associated economic growth retardation, contributed to the financial stringencies in the fourth phase that eventually prompted both privatisation policies and more modest policy aspirations. The historical record is consistent: policies that encouraged openness to trade and investment, by creating an environment favourable to competition, also enhanced industrial productivity.