In This Review

Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks: American Economic and Political Postwar Planning in the Summer of 1944
Bretton Woods and Dumbarton Oaks: American Economic and Political Postwar Planning in the Summer of 1944
By Georg Schild
St. Martin's Press, 1995, 254 pp

A solid account of the conferences that constructed the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the United Nations, the institutions intended to foster stable currencies, freer trade, and collective security after World War II. Schild, a scholar affiliated with the University of Bonn, argues that the plans devised by officials in the Treasury and State Departments should not be viewed in isolation from these organizations. The postwar world imagined in 1944 assumed a vital partnership with the Soviet Union in keeping down the Axis powers, an assumption that entered just as much into Bretton Woods, whose architects looked toward a pastoralized Germany, as it did in planning for the United Nations. Though Schild does not compare the conferences as much as he might have, and though the work, given previous exhaustive studies of both conferences, might have been improved by a more thorough analysis of contending interpretations, the author provides a reliable and careful introduction.