The fundamental change in the world following the conflict was the emergence of the two superpowers of Russia and the United States. It was the first time that there was little, if any, European presence. Europe was the stage where Communism and Western democracy fought for supremacy. The imperialism and colonization that had defined world politics for so long came apart, as nations in Africa and Asia, for example, had declared their freedom. For their own part, the nations in Europe had been ravaged through two sets of wars and there was little, if any, exertion on world affairs that they could guarantee. The lack of a European stage for geopolitical weight was one fundamental change in how the world was constructed and how political weight was distributed.