Bretton Woods Conference

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The Bretton Woods Conference established in 1944 the gold standard upon which the leading economic nations, and particularly the United States, would base their financial relations and monetary systems. 44 Allied nations sent delegates to the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, under the auspices of the United Nations, to discuss and sign the Bretton Woods Agreements in July 1944. These agreements established the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which still exists, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which is now part of the World Bank Group.

The essential agreement was to establish a gold standard for the world's leading currencies. Each industrialized nation would adopt a monetary policy to maintain the exchange rate of its currency within a fixed value relative to gold, plus or minus one percent. The role of the IMF was to handle temporary imbalances of payments between nations.

When the United States left its gold monetary standard in 1971 by ending the convertibility from dollars to gold, the system collapsed.

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