The desire for economic cooperation stemmed from fear of repeating
the post-World War I mistakes that had led to inflation, financial
instability, and the Great Depression. While World War II still raged,
Allied policy makers debated several plans for international monetary
The U.S. proposal by Harry Dexter White
U.K. proposal by John Maynard Keynes
from France and Canada
called for an International Currency Union, which would function
as a "central bank" for the central banks of each country.
White, on the other hand, called for a fund to which all member
countries would contribute. Both agreed on fixed, but adjustable,
exchange rates based on gold.
to the United States was difficult and treacherous in the midst
of the war, but, incredibly, representatives from 44 countries managed
to gather for a conference at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire. Their
ambitious goal - to design the framework for postwar international
economic cooperation. D-Day had taken place three weeks previously,
giving the delegates hope that the war would soon end.