The United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, commonly known as the Bretton Woods conference, was a gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations at the Mount Washington Hotel, situated in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II.
The conference was held from 1 to 22 July 1944, when the agreements were signed to set up the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
The Bretton Woods Conference took place in July 1944, but did not become operative until late December 1958, when all the European currencies became convertible. Under this system, the IMF and the IBRD were established. The IMF was developed as a permanent international body. The summary of agreements states, "The nations should consult and agree on international monetary changes which affect each other. They should outlaw practices which are agreed to be harmful to world prosperity, and they should assist each other to overcome short-term exchange difficulties." The IBRD was created to speed up post-war reconstruction, to aid political stability, and to foster peace. This was to be fulfilled through the establishment of programs for reconstruction and development.
The seminal idea behind the Bretton Woods Conference was the notion of open markets. In Henry Morgenthau's farewell remarks at the conference, he stated that the establishment of the IMF and the World Bank marked the end of economic nationalism. This meant countries would maintain their national interest, but trade blocks and economic spheres of influence would no longer be their means. The second idea behind the Bretton Woods Conference was joint management of the Western political-economic order, meaning that the foremost industrial democratic nations must lower barriers to trade and the movement of capital, in addition to their responsibility to govern the system.