The Cold War era should be regarded as an internal feature of the post-war global order, rather than as an entirely new era, with its end reinforcing the post-war global order. Martin Shaw introduces the Cold War period thus:

from the mid-1940s, state power in the northern industrial world was increasingly configured in a radically different way from the whole of the previous historical period. Before 1939 there had been a large number of more or less autonomous nation-states, of which the major states constituted rival world-empires, and between which competition could ultimately lead to a range of possible wars. Now there were two competing state-blocs, whose rivalry dominated world politics, together with a larger number of essentially secondary and minor centers of state power outside these blocs. A world dominated by two blocs, major Western and minor Soviet, was very different indeed from the previous national-international world based on rival European empires.