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By the end of World War II, the defeat of the Axis Powers removed any pretext of unity in the uneasy alliance that had defeated Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito. The Allied Powers included three capitalistic democracies: the United States, Britain, and the newly liberated France. They had an easy alliance with the fourth Allied Power, the Soviet Union, a communist dictatorship. With the fascist threat eliminated, the Western democracies and the Soviet Union quickly returned to their former antagonism. The end of the war found the United States and the Soviet Union scrambling to carve up the post-war world into spheres of influence where they each might have some measure of control. Future flashpoints between them were apparent by 1948 or 1949 when Germany was divided between communist and democratic sectors.