Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Liam Anderson (Committee Chair), Bruce LaForse (Committee Member), Vaughn Shannon (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


The literature proposes that bipolar systems and international systems with nuclear weapons will not have significant issues with alliance pathologies. But are alliance pathologies really insignificant in Bipolar Systems? The problem is that the literature only describes bipolar systems with nuclear weapons, so one cannot discern whether bipolarity or nuclear weapons alone are responsible for the insignificance of these alliance pathologies. So to solve this problem, this paper will examine a bipolar system in Classical Greece during the time of the Peloponnesian War to isolate any possible influence that nuclear weapons may have on alliance pathologies. This will be done using qualitative analysis in the form of an in-depth case study to focus on a total of six allies from the two superpowers - Athens and Sparta. The findings show that alliance pathologies significantly impact alliances in bipolar systems, which better clarifies the role between polarity, nuclear weapons, and alliance pathologies.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Political Science

Year Degree Awarded