Nixon had a choice: save the international monetary system or win the 1972 election. He chose the latter and through the former down the drain. In this, he was supported by the Rockefellers. From Patrick Newman at mises.org:
August 15 marks a special date in American history: it commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s suspension of Bretton Woods. With this decision, the United States stopped redeeming foreign governments’ and banks’ dollars for gold. Consequently, the world economy transitioned to unconstrained central bank discretionary monetary policy, an unprecedented era in monetary affairs.
The traditional justification for such a momentous decision utilizes highfalutin rhetoric and appeals to the public interest: the gold constraint restricted the ability of wise economic planners to fine-tune the economy. However, as I document in Cronyism: Liberty versus Power in Early America, 1607–1849 (forthcoming, Mises Institute, October 2021), the actual reasons for government policies are due to self-interested politicians rewarding themselves and favored business interests at the expense of the public. Bretton Woods is no exception: Nixon suspended gold convertibility to enhance his 1972 reelection chances and benefit the Rockefeller-dominated Chase Manhattan Bank and other expansionary banking interests at the cost of higher inflation. When it comes to government, privileged interests always come before the public.
Nixon is one of America’s most notorious presidents because of his resignation following the Watergate scandal. This infamous attempt to steal the 1972 election is not the only aberration in Nixon’s career; all his life he was paranoid about elections and wanted to win at all costs. The former vice president was convinced that Federal Reserve contractionary monetary policy denied him the 1960 presidential election against John F. Kennedy. Nixon also insisted that Fed restrictionism contributed to Republican setbacks in the 1970 midterms. He was so concerned about elections that after assuming office in 1969 he candidly told his White House advisers that “political considerations” will often override the “economic standpoint.”1 At the top of his priorities was ensuring victory in 1972. To accomplish this, Nixon wanted the Fed to provide “a rate of monetary expansion sufficient to move the economy up on the desired path.”2