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Teacher Guide to Student Interactive:

Bretton Woods 60th Anniversary Exhibition


This site from the Joint IMF and World Bank Library comprises nine brief segments with information about the Bretton Woods meeting of 1944.


High School (Honors and Advanced Placement Economics) and College


A Time of Crisis and Change

  • explains how Bretton Woods was an outgrowth of the recognition of the need for international monetary stability
  • a brief time line of events, 1939 - 1944

Atlantic city to Bretton Woods

  • the importance of the Bretton Woods meeting is demonstrated in quotes from J.M.Keynes and a local train worker, June and July, 1944

The Founding Fathers

  • brief backgrounds about John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White

From Around the World

  • photos and brief captions about attendees from the U.S., China, Cuba, the Soviet Union, India, Greece, and Belgium

Breaking the Mold

  • some important women at the conference

Laying the Foundation

  • displays Article I of the Articles of Agreement establishing the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (links to the complete articles are provided)

Setting the Pace

  • lists the locations of meetings of the IMF and World Bank from 1947 - 2003

Toward the Future

  • a reaffirmation of the importance of monetary stability for peace and prosperity in the world

Links of Interest

  • dozens of Internet links with more information

National Economics Content Standards

Standard 10 — Role of Economic Institutions
Institutions evolve in market economies to help individuals and groups accomplish their goals. Banks, labor unions, corporations, legal systems, and not-for-profit organizations are examples of important institutions . A different kind of institution, clearly defined and well-enforced property rights, is essential to a market economy.

Standard 16: — Role of Government
There is an economic role for government to play in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also redistribute income.

Standard 17: — Using Cost/Benefit Analysis to Evaluate Government Programs
Costs of government policies sometimes exceed benefits. This may occur because of incentives facing voters, government officials, and government employees, because of actions by special interest groups that can impose costs on the general public, or because social goals other than economic efficiency are being pursued.

Standard 20: — Monetary and Fiscal Policy
A government's budgetary policy and its monetary policy influence the overall levels of employment, output and prices.

Warm-up Activities
  1. Develop interest in the activity by reviewing the history of the Bretton Woods meeting and brainstorming monetary issues relating to the World War II era. If necessary, have students use history texts or other resources to find information.
  2. Engage the class in a discussion of what they already know about the impact of the Bretton Woods meeting on worldwide monetary policies.

Lesson Applications

Divide the class into eight groups, and have each group view one segment of the exhibition (not including #9, "Related Links."). Have each group develop a creative way to convey what they learn to the rest of the class (poster, skit, song, discussion, commercial, etc.)

Have students write a short essay entitled, "The Legacy of Bretton Woods Today."

Go to the Bretton Woods 60th Anniversary Exhibition

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