Where a Golden Era Began

For 20 days during July 1944, the West's financial leaders worked on a plan for a postwar world economic order at the rambling Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, N.H. The international money system they developed in that spectacular White Mountain setting was so successful that ten years after its collapse, some economists and politicians still long for a return to Bretton Woods.

The dominant figure at the 1944 conference was John Maynard Keynes, then 61, the leader of the British delegation. Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau led the U.S. contingent, but the real American architect of the Bretton Woods accord was Harry...

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