The political basis of the Bretton Woods system was the combination of two key conditions: the common experience of two world wars and the feeling that the absence of economic problems after the first war had led to the second; and the concentration of power in a small number of states. The Atlantic Charter, developed during the meeting between U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill on a North Atlantic ship in August 1941, was the most important precursor to the Bretton Woods Conference. Like Woodrow Wilson before him, whose „Fourteen Points“ had sketched the United States. After World War I, Roosevelt set a series of ambitious goals for the post-war world even before the United States entered World War II. Britain, then the world`s second-largest financial power after the United States, initially kept the pound-dollar exchange rate at $4.03 (where it had been since 1940), but with strict exchange controls to relieve other Europeans of their own dollar shortages by converting sterling`s foreign exchange reserves into dollars. In 1947, under pressure from the United States, it abolished exchange controls that allowed foreign bookholders to convert them into dollars. After only six weeks, the UK has re-established exchange controls to protect the remaining reserves of dollars and gold. Economists and other planners understood in 1944 that the new system could only begin after a return to normality after the interruption of the Second World War.
It was expected that after a short transition period, the international economy would not recover for more than five years and that the system would be operational. In early 1945, Bernard Baruch described the spirit of Bretton Woods as follows: „If we can put an end to labour subsidies and southerly competition in export markets“ and prevent the reconstruction of war machines, „… Oh, my boy, my boy, what long-term prosperity we`re going to have.  The United States therefore uses its position of influence to reopen and control the [rules] of the global economy, in order to allow unfettered access to markets and materials of all nations. The Bretton Woods Agreement remains an important event in the history of global finance.