Those European countries that, during the world-wide wave of gold suspensions in 1931-1932, steadfastly clung to the gold standard. Specifically, the term was applied to the seven countries - France (assuming the leadership), Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Poland, and Italy - that during the World Economic Conference at London in June and July, 1933, pleaded for a return to the gold standard by the some 35 countries that had abandoned it, as a prerequisite to discussions on alleviation and removal of existing barriers to foreign trade.
After devaluation of the U.S. dollar in January, 1934, the gold bloc stood almost alone on the old parities and lost gold heavily to the U.S. in the "flight of capital" to the dollar. During World War II, however, foreign countries ceased to lose gold to the U.S., as the result of Lend-Lease and other military expenditures abroad by the U.S. The INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND, established with signing of the Bretton Woods Agreement on December 27, 1945, and initiated in March, 1946, entrenched gold as the common international denominator of members' par values of currencies pursuant to the "pegged" gold content pars of exchange.
With their initiation in 1970, SPECIAL DRAWING RIGHTS (SDRs) have replaced the U.S. dollar as the unit of account of the International Monetary Fund, valued no longer in terms of gold but in terms of a weighted average of major currencies.
See GOLD MOVEMENTS
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