Systemic antagonism and the origins of the cold war

Ponsonby, Nicholas Ashley Curzon (2022). Systemic antagonism and the origins of the cold war. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

Text - Accepted Version
Available under License All rights reserved.

Download (974kB) | Preview


Systemic Antagonism between the United States and the Soviet Union was based on functional opposition and irreconcilability because American-style Capitalism was not convergent with Soviet Socialism. They occupied different ends of a systemic spectrum and their inseparably intertwined ideological, political, economic, cultural and legal elements were systemically not adaptable to the other. Each systemic whole exceeded the sum of its elements, so altering one affected the others: amending ideology to include other parties, representative of class interests, inherently compromised the Communist Party’s single party proletarian status; assimilation of private enterprise would vitiate the state’s planned economy, embodying workers’ rather than private/ class control of productive means.

Pre-war Soviet-American co-existence was possible because Systemic Antagonism remained latent, while joint involvement in the anti-Nazi alliance subordinated their differences. Peace made Systemic Antagonism actively real as irreconcilable reconstructive templates associated with conflicting political agendas projected systemic divisions onto a weakened Europe which had forfeited the management of its destiny to the dominant European-based super states. Importantly Soviet-American war-time respective advances from the East and West largely configured the geography of the Cold War. This conflict proved a stress test ultimately exposing Soviet systemic weaknesses. The U.S. emerged the victorious survivor by unwitting default.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama, American & Canadian Studies, Department of American and Canadian Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DK Russia. Soviet Union. Former Soviet Republics
E History America > E151 United States (General)


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year