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Bretton Woods Monetary Conference, July 1-22, 1944

In July 1944, representatives from 44 nations met at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. The United States government selected the Mount Washington Hotel as the site of the now famous Bretton Woods Conference for various reasons: its remoteness offered seclusion from outside interference; the White Mountains scenery was spectacular; and war-time security was more easily managed. The Mount Washington Hotel was closed for business in 1930 and completely refurbished before the conference.

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Historic plaque with the inscription commemorating the Bretton Woods Conference, July 1-22, 1944 The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., addresses the delegates to the Conference, July 8, 1944

“…a prodigious amount of work was done during the three weeks of the Conference. Many persons were assigned to both Bank and Fund committees, which met around the clock, and in addition to committee meetings, there were plenary sessions, where microphones were whisked from speaker to speaker by Boy Scouts…” recalls Shirley Boskey (International Bank Notes, July 1956)

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Delegates in front of the Mount Washington Hotel, July 2, 1944 An informal gathering of the attendees of the Conference, July 1944

More than a year later, representatives of 28 nations gathered at the State Department in Washington, D.C. to sign the Bretton Woods Monetary Agreements preliminary agreed upon at the Bretton Woods Conference.


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Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund and IBRD, July 1944

 "Bretton Woods Recalled" by Shirley Boskey, International Bank Notes, July 1957 

Fred Vinson, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, said at the time of the formal signing of the Bretton Woods Agreements: “History is being written today as we execute these documents and breathe the breath of life into the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. We can be thankful that the history we are now writing is not another chapter in the almost endless chronicle of war and strife. Ours is a mission of peace – not just lip service to the ideals of peace – but action, concrete action, designed to establish the economic foundations of peace on the bed rock of genuine international cooperation.

"If these two great international institutions are to achieve the mission which the world has so hopefully entrusted to their care, it will require the wholehearted and concerted cooperation of each of the member countries and their people" (Treasury Department, Press Release, December 27, 1945)

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Lord Keynes addressing the Conference meeting, July 1944 

U.S. Acting Secretary of State Dean Acheson addresses representatives of 28 nations gathered to sign the Bretton Woods Monetary Agreement, December 27, 1945

Bretton Woods 60th Anniversary Virtual Exhibition

Articles of Agreement

Previously Featured Documents/Photos

This feature is produced by the World Bank Group Archives to highlight the World Bank's contributions to development.

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