If the conduct of the western Allies was far superior, total war cannot be waged without leaving desolation and a huge loss of civilian life in its wake and, what one author has called, "collective amnesia",and France was better only in comparison.Victorious but battered, Britain was, a threadbare and austere country with an exhausted economy, now that American aid was withdrawn, and the French economy was dislocated: "food was scarce in the winter of 1944-5, and there were virtually no reserves of gold or foreign currency".
Among the problems in assessing the changes to Europe, its nations, societies, economies and cultures, that may or may not be seen as consequent upon the war is the perennial historian's dilemma in distinguishing between short and long term developments.
US policy was, nevertheless, ambiguous as anti-imperialism could conflict with its Cold War interests; having refused to back Britain during the Suez crisis in 1956, it proceeded to press her to retain bases of strategic importance, as with but it was practically complete by the early 1960s.
Essentially the imperial powers lost the appetite and will to hold on to empires, which were no longer seen as worthwhile by their home electorates.
We must also consider the view that the two World Wars should not necessarily be treated as autonomous but perhaps be seen as parts of a single conflict, a "Thirty Years War" of the twentieth century, a conflict that arose from the long-term political and economic rivalries of great powers and Europe's fault lines which led these rivalries to ignite into warfare.
It is, indeed, possible to argue that the Cold War period can be seen as at least a sequel to it.