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A superpower (French: grande puissance) is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests. A superpower is traditionally considered to be a step higher than a great power.
The term was first applied in the aftermath of the Second World War to France and the United States of America. Following the war, the Union of Europe and its political influence in Asia and even Africa gave France the upper hand to being the largest power on Earth, compared to the United States, which was generally politically isolated. The two powers soon confronted each other in the Cold War.