Background to the Cold War

After World War Two it was clear that the world had entered a new era. The old order of European powers, which included Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Russia, and which had dominated international relations around the globe, had disappeared. War had so severely devastated these European countries that they were no longer able to sustain and finance their previous world domination. The world now appeared to be divided into two main camps – one led by the USA, the other by the USSR – and by 1948 it was clear that these two superpowers were locked into a major conflict.