Using the case study of Brigl & Bergmeister, a pulp and paper–producing company located in the southern part of Austria, this article explores the impact of the European Recovery Program (ERP) on the pulp and paper industries’ interaction with water resources. The invention of technology to use wood for pulp and paper production in the nineteenth century created a strong interaction between material arrangements and the practices of pulp and paper production. The ERP could build on an existing network of production sites and changed their interaction with their environment in several ways. This is shown by using the concept of the socio-natural site. Concerning organizational structures that were created by the ERP and the impact of decisions that were made at the time, the article takes several things into account: The goals of the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) that coordinated the financing of the investment projects and how these translated into changes in the interaction of practices and material arrangements, knowledge exchange that was facilitated by the ERP, and awareness of pollution and possibilities for measuring pollution at the time. The export-oriented economic goals of the ERP, together with a favorable natural resource situation, prioritized pulp and paper production, and therefore strengthened a resource-intensive industry. While some aspects of water use in pulp production became more efficient, the investments also created path dependencies that fixed existing polluting practices for the following decades.

The European Recovery Program (ERP), which is also known as the “Marshall Plan,” and its role for the development of Austria after the Second World War is subject to an ongoing scientific discussion that has taken several turns during the last decades. Discussions have focused on the political as well as economic impact. This article will explore the ERP’s impact on the environment and the interactions between society and nature initiated by it, focusing on the changes from 1948 until 1952 and their effect on the following decades.

To achieve this requires using the concept of the socio-natural site, which looks at “practices” (human actions) and “material arrangements” (physical structures). Four modes connect practices and material arrangements in a co-evolutionary development: perception, representation, programs, and work. “Co-evolutionary” means that changed material arrangements impact the scope of human action and therefore change the practices that again change material arrangements. While social practices intend a certain change in material arrangements, unexpected interactions with physical structures can occur, as well as unintended interaction with changes caused by other social practices that impact the same physical structures. As a co-evolutionary process, the changes are open-ended and cannot be planned.1

The River Mur can serve as a socio-natural site to investigate the ERP’s impact on Austrian nature, as rivers are pivotal for the ecological and economic realms alike. Using the ERP`s investment project of the Brigl & Bergmeister pulp and paper factory in Niklasdorf, Styria, I will describe a socio-natural site the pulp and paper industry created in the late nineteenth century.

Water—be it rivers, ground water, process water, wastewater—has been from the beginning and still is an essential part of the arrangements of the pulp and paper industry, and therefore this article will focus on aspects of water use and water pollution.2 It will explore how practices in the pulp and paper industry were shaped by the ERP and what practices were available to deal with water quality and how this could potentially change the existing interaction between practices and material arrangements.

The concept of the socio-natural site allows including the role of material arrangements into the analyses. To better understand the changes in social practices I will also consider institutional changes and path dependencies that were created by the ERP.3 The ERP and the organizations that were set up created a new set of rules and put the pulp and paper industry in a very specific geopolitical setting. This created new opportunities and enabled the implementation of new technologies, but also created path dependencies that led to decades-long use of economically inefficient and environmentally harmful technologies.

The ERP in Austria

The European Recovery Program (ERP) was an aid program with political and economic goals. It ran from 1948 to 1952 and provided aid to sixteen European countries. Participating countries had to play an active part in planning this aid program by formulating projects to be funded. For coordination, the sixteen countries formed the CEEC (Committee of European Economic Cooperation) in 1947. This committee developed a plan and estimated the financial needs and material supplies that the European countries would require for recovery and modernization. These estimates were the basis for the aid package that was then evaluated by US officials. The United States undertook its own research and formed committees that evaluated the report by the CEEC. The budget was approved based on these reports.4 In 1948 the CEEC was transformed into the Organization for European Economic Co-operation (OEEC), which continued the coordination of the European participation in the ERP.5

A similar approach was used at the local level of the program. This gave participating countries as well as the participating economic units an active role in shaping the program. The companies drafted their investment programs, often with support of industry representatives, to apply for financing. To support the participants, the ERP introduced the Technical Assistance Program, which provided opportunities for knowledge exchange. These exchange programs were coordinated by the Austrian Productivity Center and promoted by the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA) and the OEEC. The Technical Assistance Program aimed at management personnel, union representatives and agricultural workers. Between 1950 and 1960 1,477 persons took part in trips to the United States and more than 1,000 traveled within Western Europe.6

The total financial volume of the ERP was US$12.5 billion, of which Austria received approximately $1 billion. The main mechanism of the financial help of the European Recovery Program had several steps. The United States sent goods to Austria. These goods were sold at domestic prices and the money was paid into an account called ERP-Counterpart Fund (ERP-Sonderkonto). Companies and other economic entities could apply for loans from this account to help finance their investment projects. The loans had to be repaid to the ERP-Counterpart Fund.7 The ECA was in charge of administering the budget of the ERP and of approving loans.8 As will become clear from the Brigl & Bergmeister case study, ECA’s experts evaluated these investment projects and often demanded changes to their technical and financial design. This made the ECA an important player within the ERP.

To show some aspects of the distribution of ERP aid and its goals in Austria, I want to focus on the status of industry within the ERP-program. Of the releases from the ERP Counterpart Fund between 1948 and the first quarter of 1953 55 percent (5,171 Mio. Schilling) were directed to Austrian industries. The biggest receivers of this money were the electric energy sector (21%) and metal and steel production (9.8%). With 7.8% of ERP counterpart funds that equaled 734.1 Mio. S, the pulp and paper industry received the third-highest funding of the industry sectors.9

One main incentive for the United States to initiate the ERP was the so-called Dollar-Gap. Due to high requirements of European countries for materials for reconstruction during a time of recovering production levels, European countries were importing more than they were exporting. Because of the negative trade balance, these countries were lacking foreign currency, especially dollars. This posed a problem for the United States, which had become a major exporter of goods and needed buyers for its products.10 It was important to enable European countries to earn foreign currency, so that these countries could afford the goods they had to import.11

How was this reflected in the Austrian investment program? Austrian officials explained the high percentage of investments into production of energy and mining during the first years of the program with a shortage of energy and raw materials that hindered production efforts.12 The focus on basic industries and relatively small investments into consumer goods caused friction with the ECA and also within the Austrian community of economists.13 Kurt Tweraser has analyzed this conflict in context of the Austrian steel industry.14 Within the consumer goods industries the pulp and paper industry received exceptionally high funding during the first active part of the ERP program from 1948 until 1952.15 In the negotiations concerning the financing of the projects the possibility of exporting the produced products, both pulp and paper, and therefore earnings of foreign currency were a strong reason for the ECA to approve these investments. In the case of Brigl & Bergmeister the ECA saw an internationally connected company and a strong export market for their pulp production, to supply paper producers as well as for military uses like producing explosives and high tenacity string.16 The availability of wood in Austria was another factor in the pulp and paper industry that might have increased the chances of getting high funding.17 The European Recovery Program also financed an investment program for the forestry sector to increase the wood supply in Austria. The ECA and representatives of wood-processing industries were actively involved in the planning of these investments, like acquisition of new machinery, education of forestry workers and construction of forest roads.18

Interaction of the Pulp and Paper Industry with the Hydrological Cycle

The Mur itself had been part of many industrial material arrangements already before the investments of the European Recovery Program. These arrangements included the extraction of coal from mining areas as well as material arrangements to produce iron, foodstuff, textiles and other industrial products like pulp and paper.19 To understand the impact of the ERP investment program it is important to understand certain aspects of material arrangements of the practice of pulp and paper production.

Since the end of the eighteenth century several major changes in the practice of pulp and paper making occurred. The invention of the paper machine increased production capacity significantly, and as a result the demand for textile fibers that were used for paper production could no longer be satisfied. In the nineteenth century new technologies allowed the pulp and paper industry to switch from textile fibers to wood.20 This marked an important change in the arrangements the pulp and paper industry used for their production. It moved from the vicinities of the cities (like Graz along the Mur) that provided textiles, to material arrangements that provided wood, water, and coal, often very similar to material arrangements of iron production. Brigl & Bergmeister even used former iron-production infrastructure, when the iron production became less profitable due to the missed opportunity to switch from wood to coke as an energy source.21 The introduction of new chemicals during the nineteenth century to separate the cellulose from the other properties of wood further changed the material arrangements the pulp and paper factories were part of.22

In Styria in the southeast of Austria, pulp and paper companies had built an extensive network of production sites and supply chains along several rivers, including the Mur, during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The river was part of multiple practices, including transport, energy production, and waste disposal. The ERP could build on these already existing networks, composed of social networks and material arrangements.

After the First World War, the pulp and paper industry had to focus on export due to the new geopolitical situation, but many Austrian pulp and paper factories had already established themselves on the world market. In the 1930s, however, they lost their competitive edge due to a lack of investments during the economic crisis and the Second World War.23

Being part of the Third Reich’s economy put the Austrian pulp and paper industry into a difficult situation. Pulp and paper production was not prioritized within the war economy, and it was difficult for Austrian companies to compete with the bigger German companies. Rising prices for raw material and state-ordered reduction of selling prices put significant strain on the companies’ finances. To rationalize the Austrian pulp and paper production, several enterprises were ordered to shut down.24 However, only few factories had been damaged during the war and production was at prewar levels by 1950.25 Therefore, the aim of the ERP investment projects was mostly to modernize these factories through increased production capacity and energy and resource efficiency.

When analyzed more closely it becomes clear that these investments had varying effects on socio-natural sites—both on material arrangements and practices. Water was used by the factories in multiple ways. The factories used nearby rivers for power production by means of waterpower plants. Some factories also used the river for wood-rafting. For the factory’s caloric power plants, the river water was used as a cooling agent. In the factories the water was used in several ways in the production process. At the back end of the factory the water was discharged back into the river containing substances that changed the ecology of the surrounding waterbodies.

These uses impacted the river regarding its speed, temperature, and composition, thereby changing the ecology of the river.26 In addition, the seasonality of water supply influenced the production capacity of the factory, and the factories were searching for ways to balance the fluctuating water and energy supply.27 Additionally, some of the factories used groundwater for processes that required clean water. In the case of Brigl & Bergmeister, this was achieved by using nine wells.28 Using groundwater could possibly influence the groundwater table in the surrounding area. If river water was used, it had to be cleaned, which was especially challenging when it carried higher amounts of materials during flood events.29

Different production sites can be differentiated by their impact on the material arrangements. Wood grinding mills and cardboard producers used mainly mechanical processes. Except for the bark, all parts of the tree trunk became part of the produced cardboard and paper. Those production sites emitted mostly organic fibers into the river that lead to changes in the physical properties of the river along with a lack of oxygen in the water due to the breakdown of the organic fibers as well as the occurrence of algae, and other changes in the flora and fauna of the river. The severeness of these changes depends on the characteristics of the river, like the seasonal water levels of the river, its speed, and the form of the riverbed.30

Figure 1

Pulp and paper production along the Mur. Triangle and diamond symbols: mechanical wood processing; Hexagon symbols: chemical wood processing. Double line: ERP financed companies. Graph produced by the author based on: Industrie-Compass: Österreich. Vienna: Compass-Verl., 1955; “Das Investitionsprogramm der österreichischen Papier-, Zellulose-, Holzstoff- und Pappen-Industrie und die ERP-Hilfe.” Bericht über den Zeitraum vom 1. Juli 1952 bis zum 30. Juni 1953. Vienna: Vereinigung österreichischer Papier-, Zellulose-, Holzstoff- und Pappenindustrieller, September 1953. Data source: basemap.at.

Figure 1

Pulp and paper production along the Mur. Triangle and diamond symbols: mechanical wood processing; Hexagon symbols: chemical wood processing. Double line: ERP financed companies. Graph produced by the author based on: Industrie-Compass: Österreich. Vienna: Compass-Verl., 1955; “Das Investitionsprogramm der österreichischen Papier-, Zellulose-, Holzstoff- und Pappen-Industrie und die ERP-Hilfe.” Bericht über den Zeitraum vom 1. Juli 1952 bis zum 30. Juni 1953. Vienna: Vereinigung österreichischer Papier-, Zellulose-, Holzstoff- und Pappenindustrieller, September 1953. Data source: basemap.at.

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Factories that used chemicals to separate the cellulose from the other parts of the trunk added several new elements to the material arrangements of the factory. These arrangements needed to provide enough heat and needed a chemical process, able to break down the very stable structure of the tree trunk (mostly spruce at the time) into its parts. The tree trunk consists of cellulose (40–50%), hemicellulose (15–30%), lignin (20–30%), sugar, starch, protein, fat, wax, and resin (together 5–10%) and 0.3% inorganic components. Chemical processing has two stages, the cooking process, which separates the different parts of the trunk, and the bleaching process that further purifies the cellulose from other materials, which would otherwise reduce the quality of the paper.

Several chemical mixtures could be used for the cooking process. These can be distinguished into acidic and alkaline processes. During the 1940s and 1950s the acidic calcium bisulfite process using calcium (lime) and sulfur was most common and was used in all cellulose factories along the Mur. As only 40 to 50 percent of the trunk consists of cellulose, about 50 to 60 percent of the material was dissolved and formed the spent cooking liquor together with the used chemicals. Large parts of this chemical concoction were often discharged directly into the rivers. These substances have several different effects on the river ecology. To name but two, hemicellulose causes a high amount of degradable substances that increase biological oxygen demand (= BOD5) in the wastewater of a pulp factory, whereas lignin sulphonic acid is hardly degradable and causes a high chemical oxygen demand (= COD).31

Some Austrian factories were extracting byproducts of the cooking process if they could be used economically at the time. These included spiritus produced from the sugars in the spent cooking liquor. This process was introduced in several factories by the National Socialist regime as part of the war effort, including the Brigl & Bergmeister factory. This potentially reduced the amount of chemicals discharged into the river.32

This shows that one of the most important connections between practices and material arrangement the investment program could potentially impact was the emission of pollutants into the water. The choice of mechanical and chemical processes together with the production capacity had a significant impact on the pollution of the river, as the composition of wastewaters depends on the production process of the factory. Because of the cheap chemical ingredients used in the calcium bisulfite process, in the 1950s all chemical pulp factories at the Mur used this process to separate the cellulose from other properties of the tree trunk like lignin and hemicellulose.33 Brigl & Bergmeister had been using this kind of process since 1890.34 Although it was known and mentioned in the investment application that this process was a major cause of stream pollution, the investment projects did not change the chemical process that was used.

Looking back at the development of the pulp and paper industry, it becomes clear that this industry impacted the hydrological cycles it was located at for a long time before the investment program of the European Recovery Program by making them part of their material arrangements.

Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA)

When companies applied for loans through the ERP, negotiating and securing these loans was a process that involved several parties: The Austrian companies had to design investment projects that had to be submitted to the ECA. Different departments of the ECA were in charge of evaluating and approving financing for these projects. In the case of the Austrian pulp and paper projects, external experts from American pulp and paper companies were hired to help the Pulp and Paper Branch of the ECA evaluating the proposals.

Documents from the National Archives in Washington, DC, show the overall development, goals, and logic of the ECA, which played an important role in the decision-making of its officials and influenced the impact of the ERP on the environment. They also give an insight into the negotiations between Austrian companies and the ECA. While other authors have focused on the economic and political impact of the ERP and its organizations, this article focuses on how the ECA took material arrangements into account in their decision-making. The economic goals of the ECA translated into decisions that transformed the material flows along and into the river Mur.

The Economic Cooperation Act was signed on April 3, 1948, as the founding document of the ECA. The new organization was assembled quickly and oversaw administering ERP-finances. It consisted of a representation in Washington, a representation in Paris (Office of the Special Representative) and representations in the participating countries, called country missions.35

The act stated political as well as economic and societal goals. These included lasting peace, principles of individual freedom and free institutions, general welfare, sound economic conditions, reduction of trade barriers, stable international relationships, financial stability, and economic cooperation. The act mentioned the promotion of industrial and agricultural production as one way to reach these goals. The ECA’s decisions had to consider the availability of resources in Europe and the United States. A whole section of the act was dedicated to the protection of the United States’s economy and resources within the program.36 While the ECA scrambled to set up its organizational structure, it could build on experience from the war. The US authorities had already acquired experience in the screening of commodities while giving foreign assistance during the war.37

The overall structure of the ECA included divisions for several economic aspects such as industry, food, labor, and more, which were again divided into branches for special sectors. The Pulp and Paper Branch was part of the Industry Division and responsible for the applications of the pulp and paper industry. Wood and paper experts were explicitly mentioned as an important part of the Industry Division in a statement by Langbourne M. Williams, chief of the industrial branch. The respective experts were supposed to help with making decision as well as providing information.38

An organizational chart from 1953 states the goals of the Industry Division: “Improvement of industrial strength [. . .] for mutual defense from aggression; for domestic economic stability. To deter internal subversion; and for practical application of resources to assure better living standards.”39 Clearly, the ERP followed a complex set of goals that were focused on more than economic aspects. These goals show that the founders of the organization were aware of the role of resources. The Industry Division had to keep several aspects in mind. Industries had to be placed near an able workforce, European total production should satisfy demand and provide a reasonable amount for export. At the same time, the programs should help underdeveloped industries, that provided important goods.40

George Perkins, the deputy chief of the Industrial Branch, spoke on the financing of capital goods in 1948. His remarks show that the logic of the ECA sometimes led to decisions, that are counterintuitive from a business perspective. The most important question was not how much profit a specific capital good could bring, but how much this investment would aid European recovery. This contribution could be in the form of lowering the need for imports or helping exports through production of goods. He emphasized that in this logic, sometimes smaller projects could have a bigger impact than bigger investments.41

Brigl & Bergmeister are an interesting case of how communication within the ECA, but also between the ECA and local representatives, worked. Letters concerning Brigl & Bergmeister available at the National Archives cover the years 1950 and 1951. Together with other related documents they give an insight into who was involved in the negotiations of the pulp and paper projects in Austria. Several different levels and departments of the ECA were involved, as well as external consultants who were recruited from the American pulp and paper industry, Austrian factory representatives, and representatives of the Austrian pulp and paper association. Additionally, Austrian representatives of the ERP were in contact with government officials.

Several branches of the ECA were involved in this project. The most prominent branch in the negotiation process of pulp and paper projects was the aforementioned Pulp and Paper Branch as part of the Industry Division of the ECA. Its main representative, Joseph E. Atchison, was involved in most of the communication. Atchison held bachelor and master’s degrees in chemical engineering and paper chemistry and a doctorate in pulp and paper technology. Before he joined the ECA he had been working at John Strange Paper Co., in Wisconsin, as a technical director.42 The letters show that he was also in personal contact with the representatives of the mills. Additionally, the ECA hired three experts from the United States, who were asked to assess the Austrian pulp and paper investment program as well as to give advice on specific projects.

The Pulp and Paper Branch coordinated its activities with several higher-ranking departments. The most prominent representative was E. G. Rothblum, the chief of the Industry Division at the time. Another subdivision of the Industry Division involved in this negotiation process was the Pulp, Paper and Timber section, which was represented by its assistant chief, Charles M. Koon.43 Atchison also communicated with George H. Knutson, who represented the Projects Committee.44 In Austria the two main offices of communication were the ECA Special Mission to Austria. which was represented by W. H. G. Giblin and the central Bureau for ERP Affairs, which was represented in the letters by Hans Igler. The Central Bureau for ERP Affairs was established in late 1949 and reported to the Austrian chancellor. The special mission to Austria represented the ECA’s views and the Central Bureau for ERP Affairs acted as a representative of the Austrian government. In the negotiations for the Brigl & Bergmeister project these different perspectives of the negotiating parties became most prominent in dealing with the question of granting ERP loans for a new paper machine. While the Austrian government tried to intervene in favor of this new machine through the Central Bureau for ERP Affairs, the ECA’s Special Mission to Austria enforced the ECA’s goal of focusing on pulp production and therefore granted no loan for the paper machine.45

Material Arrangements

Taking a closer look at the investment-application of one of these companies allows insights into several aspects of the material and social network around the Mur. It shows that the availability of resources was important to the ECA and its decisions. It also shows that goals, such as increased efficiency and productivity had an impact on the factory’s material arrangements and therefore its environmental impact.

Brigl & Bergmeister was founded in 1889. It took advantage of the locally available resources and continuously extended its network of material arrangements. The pulp and paper factory located in Niklasdorf had a sawmill connected to the factory. It also owned a iron pyrite mine in the Walchen district close to Öblarn. In Vienna two offices handled business transactions and wholesale of paper. The factory had been expanded several times and included equipment for cleaning wood, grinding wood, producing and bleaching pulp, generating its own energy and chemicals and equipment to process wastes from the pulp production into crystal soda (since 1906) and fixing salt.46 Two investments during the Second World War are worth mentioning. To increase the German Reich’s fuel self-sufficiency, Brigl & Bergmeister, along with several other pulp-producing companies, received loans to enable them to produce sulfite alcohol from spent cooking liquor. In 1942 the company was able to adapt one of the paper machines to produce higher quality paper. While this temporarily improved the economic situation, production numbers dropped during the last phase of the war, due to problems with transport, coal and electricity supply, as well a shortage of workers due to the war effort.47

Brigl & Bergmeister submitted an extensive investment proposal to the ECA that aimed at modernizing and rationalizing several aspects of the factory. The modernization included the installation of new waterpower equipment, enlargement of the capacities to produce cellulose, an extension of the bleaching plant, and the installation of a new paper machine. The company was also planning to install a fiber-collector as well as equipment for concentration and burning of the spent cooking liquor from the pulp production process. This would reduce water pollution while also producing additional energy and saving wood and coal. The main goals of the investments were increased production capacity and an increase in resource and energy efficiency, which would lower production costs per unit.

A report by the Austrian representation of the pulp and paper industry from 1953 shows that Brigl & Bergmeister required 88.6 Mio. Schilling, at the time of which it was able to self-finance 22.6 Mio. Schilling. This puts the cost of this investment project in the medium range, with the most expensive projects requiring up to 200 Mio. Schilling. A list of items that Brigl & Bergmeister acquired shows that nearly all aspects of the pulp production were expanded or renewed.48 Such an extensive modernization effort tied up large parts of the company’s capital for the following decades. The application put a strong emphasis on the availability of resources and other material arrangements. Transport-wise, good traffic connections provided a favorable situation for procuring resources such as wood and coal. The company was able to acquire its wood within 60 km of the Niklasdorf factory and owned 564 ha of forest (with an additional 801 ha owned by stockholders). It also detailed the practices the company used to transform these materials into sellable products. The application shows several ways the factory interacted with the surrounding waters. Two hydro-power-plants generated energy (seven turbines, 9.5 Mio. kWh/year) close to the factory. A caloric plant used river-water for cooling purposes. In winter, when the water level of the river was low, the company had to buy additional electric energy. A second link to the river was the transport of wood. In case of transport difficulties, wood could be rafted on the Mur to a factory-owned floating bank, connected to the railway network. The process water was not taken from the river but acquired through nine company-owned wells.49

The experts’ assessment and discussion within the ECA show that the Austrian factories were right to stress this resource level. The experts picked up on several aspects that are described in the application and considered the broader material arrangements on an Austrian as well as a European-American level. They mentioned the availability of wood and waterpower as an asset of the company. They agreed that additional waterpower was justified, considering the larger production capacities through the investment. But they also mentioned the impact of the seasonality of waterpower. They proposed adding storage for wood pulp, as waterpower to produce wood pulp was not available during winter. Regarding the plans for evaporation and burning of sulfite-cooking-liquor the experts acknowledged the potentially positive impact on the river quality.50

One piece of water infrastructure that changed water use of the Niklasdorf factory in several ways is still visible as a symbol of the factory today. In 1952 two new silos stacked on top of each other were constructed for the wood grinding part of the mill. A new 2000-m3 water tank, replacing the existing water tank, was installed on top of this construction. This water tank had several functions. It served for firefighting and was also used to compensate for lack of production water in case of seasonal water availability changes.51 The tower itself has become a symbol of the factory, since it is visible from far away and is featured prominently on pictures of the factory. Therefore, it became a visible symbol of the connection of the factory with its surrounding waters.

The investment project changed the interaction of the company with the Mur. The focus of investments lay on new installations in the pulp section of the factory, aimed at reducing energy and material losses and thereby increasing resource efficiency in the production process. This was achieved through reducing wood waste during wood preparation, a fiber-collector for the collection of fibers that otherwise would have been emitted into the river and installations to recover heat and SO2. Equipment for the evaporation and burning of the spent cooking liquor also had the potential to reduce river pollution. While the company was expecting laws restricting water pollution soon, the applications show that the main incentive for these investments was an increase in resource and energy efficiency and thus profitability.52

While these investments potentially decreased emissions into the river, the increase of production capacity and the extension of the bleaching plant of the factory potentially increased releases of organic, inorganic, and toxic emissions into the river. Due to a lack of testing at the time it is not possible to evaluate the immediate impact of the ERP investments, but it is safe to say that the investments changed the composition and volume of emissions into the river.

The estimates in table 1 show that after the pollution in Austrian rivers by the pulp and paper industry reached prewar levels in the early 1950s, it rose significantly after the ERP-financed projects were finished.53 Factories producing chemical pulp were among the companies that received the highest ERP-loans and were able to increase their production.54 This paved the way for further investments during the 1950s and 1960s, which increased production capacity and with it the amount of emissions. The indicators BOD5 and COD are designed to measure the oxygen consumption through degradation processes of organic and inorganic substances. AOX (adsorbable organic halides) measures show the amount of toxic organic halogen compounds resulting from the bleaching process. Table 1 shows that between 1950 and 1979 all three indicators were increasing; until 1969 the emissions per production unit were only slightly below or above prewar levels. In the 1970s changes in the pulp production process of several factories caused a significant decrease per production unit for both BOD5 as well as COD, and in the 1980s both indicators showed a drastic decrease in absolute terms. The emission of AOX only started to decrease in the 1980s.

Table 1

Estimates of river pollution of Austrian rivers caused by pulp production

YearYearly Production of Chemical Pulp (in tons)Daily Pollution Load (in tons)Pollution Loads per Production Unit (1937 = 100)
1937 250,000 200 900 100 100 100 
1950 250,000 150 850 75 94 100 
1969 600,000 450 1,950 94 90 111 
1979 1,000,000 500 2,100 13 63 58 108 
1989 1,200,000 70 300 11 76 
YearYearly Production of Chemical Pulp (in tons)Daily Pollution Load (in tons)Pollution Loads per Production Unit (1937 = 100)
1937 250,000 200 900 100 100 100 
1950 250,000 150 850 75 94 100 
1969 600,000 450 1,950 94 90 111 
1979 1,000,000 500 2,100 13 63 58 108 
1989 1,200,000 70 300 11 76 

Note: BOD5 = biological oxygen demand; COD = chemical oxygen demand; AOX = adsorbable organic halides.

Source: Wolfgang Lauber, Zellstoffindustrie und Gewässerschutz in Österreich. Informationen zur Umweltpolitik (Vienna: Institut für Wirtschaft und Umwelt, 1989), 35. Adapted by the author.

While the installation of the evaporation and burning equipment for the spent cooking liquor was mentioned in the investment application and in the report on the investments by the Austrian pulp and paper association, it is not clear from the sources if this part of the factory operated successfully, as it was not mentioned in later assessments of Austrian pulp and paper factories.55 A survey in 1967 was skeptical whether the collection, evaporation, and burning of calcium bisulfite cooking liquor could be done cost-effectively.56 Reports on other factories also show that devices in the 1940s and 1950s for the evaporation and burning of spent cooking liquor were not able to deal with the air pollution they caused, since the chemicals could not be recovered and were emitted into the air. This caused severe damage for forests in the vicinity of the factories.57

The factories were not the only players changing the material arrangements of the Mur. Another factor was the construction of waterpower plants, which changed important characteristics of the river. Through these large structures, the speed of the river was changed, and this affected the mixing of the water with oxygen. This likely led to changes in the river’s capacity to break down organic and inorganic materials.58

Negotiation Process—Company Level

In the general report written by the consulting experts between July 12 and August 10, 1950, they gave their opinion on various aspects of pulp and paper production as well as on matters of resource supply and resource efficiency. This report reflects the goals of the ECA and the new geopolitical situation. In their assessment the experts focused on the Austrian pulp and paper industry and its situation with respect to the pulp and paper market in North America and Western Europe. Many of their recommendations aimed at increasing the competitiveness of Austrian companies. In their assessment of Brigl & Bergmeister’s investment program, they recommended focusing on pulp production. They saw a market for this product in Italy and other neighboring countries, and advised against building a new paper machine, because “there are already too many machines in this class in Austria.” They welcomed investments that were aiming at higher pulp-production capacity, such as an adaption of the cookers that dissolve the wood chips into their chemical constituents. This included the rebuilding of the waterpower plant and installing new turbines to increase the energy supply. The experts acknowledged that the plan to burn concentrated spent cooking liquor could alleviate stream pollution, but they were skeptical about the financial benefits of the installation. They also recommend building the before-mentioned silo for groundwood to account for low water periods when there was not enough energy.59

The consulting experts, as well as Atchison and Rothblum, visited the mills and had close contact with the mill representatives. Several letters show that different departments of the ECA and the external consultants were in close contact about the negotiation with the mill representatives; in the case of Brigl & Bergmeister, that was mostly Ferdinand Wultsch, who oversaw the technical management of the mill.60

Letters between ECA officials and the companies show the evolution of the ECA’s opinion on the Brigl & Bergmeister project. The project was given priority status for several reasons. Atchison, the chief of the Pulp and Paper Branch, argued to Knutson, the chief of the project committee, that the factory represented a fully integrated pulp and paper factory that could increase its production capacity. The factory’s equipment was old and obsolete, and the company would likely not be able to compete on the world market much longer. It had been able to survive because of good availability of resources, cheap energy, and an existing qualified workforce. Through an increase in efficiency, the project promised to increase its output without using more resources. Brigl & Bergmeister planned to increase its cellulose production from 26.000 to 30.000 tons and its paper output from 10.000 to 18.000 tons per year. Brigl & Bergmeister also promised to expand export possibilities, which was important, since a lack of foreign currencies, especially US dollars, was a constant problem for European countries.61 Negotiation of other investment projects shows that Austria’s wood resources were an important reason for the ECA to fund pulp producers. Still, the ECA was cautious not to stretch the Austrian wood demand above its supply.62 In May 1950 Atchison suggested approving the project, but cautioned, that the technical design had to be reviewed by experts first.63

Despite this successful start, it soon became clear that some of the ECA’s goals conflicted with the company’s investment plans. The technical experts opposed buying a new paper machine. They had concluded that the factory should focus on cellulose production instead of paper production. When Brigl & Bergmeister was asked to change the project design, they changed smaller details, but still included the paper machine into the project supplements they provided. This caused considerable discord. Communication in November 1950 from the ECA to an Austrian representative of the ERP-office at the Federal Chancellery (Bundeskanzleramt), Hans Igler, expressed discomfort over the evasiveness of the company, which constantly ignored changes requested by the ECA.64 Even Rothblum, the chief of the Industry Division, intervened, mentioning that the Austrian government pressured the ECA to approve the paper machine.65 The final decision to decline the financing of the paper machine showed, that the ECA put the project into a wider context. The ECA officials argued that although it might be more desirable from the company’s perspective to acquire a paper machine, the ECA thought that it was more beneficial in the European context to finance an increase in cellulose production but not in sulfite-paper. While the demand for sulfite paper in Austria was already satisfied, the demand for sulfite cellulose in Europe was high at the time.66

In 1950 the company owned two paper machines. The original plan was to make modifications to paper machine 1 and to replace paper machine 2 with a new paper machine with a wider trim and increased speed, to increase output.67 After the purchase of a new paper machine was finally denied by the ECA, the company had to comply with the ECA’s aim of focusing on pulp production and only adapted the bigger paper machine 1; they did not conduct any changes on the smaller paper machine 2. A new paper machine was not purchased until the 1960s.68

This negotiation shows the intricacies of the communication between the company representatives and the ECA. The ECA’s goal of European recovery collided with the company’s goals of maximizing their profit by selling a more refined product. When the experts first visited the mill, they agreed with the company representatives that it would be beneficial for Brigl & Bergmeister to install a new paper machine. When they were considering the whole pulp and paper investment program, they came to the before-mentioned conclusion, to concentrate on pulp production. Charles M. Koon, the assistant chief of the Pulp, Paper and Timber Sections, gives a description of the delicate situation:

We feel that a certain note of delicacy is introduced by the fact that Brigl & Bergmeister was compelled to contribute its share toward the cost of TA 31-13 [Technical Assistance Project ID]. Even though our experts did an outstanding job, we probably should avoid giving the impression that we consider American opinions infallible in every case. These experts were paid by the Austrian paper industry to give professional advice; in certain instances, we may have to base our policy decisions on this advice to the disadvantage of an individual firm; but we should not lose sight of the contractual relationship which existed at the time the advice was given.69

Another aspect that became more important in 1950 and influenced this decision was the ECA’s reorientation toward rearmament and its transformation into the Mutual Security Agency (MSA). It was argued that the production of cellulose was important for several defense activities such as producing smokeless powder (an explosive), rayon for certain fabrics, and high tenacity cord.70

Awareness of Pollution Problems

As already mentioned, the pulp and paper industry expected tighter regulation of water pollution for the near future. Therefore, some of the investments were justified with the argument that they would reduce pollution. These efforts concentrated mostly on the chemicals from the cooking process as well as filtering of organic fibers. Several sources will be used to examine the state of knowledge at the time and the influence of the ERP on the awareness for pollution processes.

Documentation of the Technical Assistance Program also gives information on pollution problems. Within this program, study trips to the United States were organized for pulp and paper experts from several countries, including Austria. The experiences made during these trips were published in an extensive report where the European experts compared the American with the European state of the art of pulp and paper production. This gives insights into knowledge exchange that was facilitated by the ERP and if there was awareness of pollution problems. Again, I will focus on the chemical pulp production using the acidic sulfite process. Brigl & Bergmeister, like all other sulfite pulp-producing factories along the Mur, used the calcium bisulfite process.71 Since it was already known and mentioned several times in the documentation of this study trip that the calcium bisulfite process was a major cause for stream pollution, an obvious question is why the ERP did not change the cooking process used at the Austrian factories. A change was never mentioned in the letters exchanged between the ECA-officials and the factory owners. It also was not mentioned in an industry report published by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) in 1951.72

The study-trip report gave information on why newly developed processes were not introduced to pulp mills along the Mur within the ERP investment program. Different reasons for adapting or not adapting certain production processes were discussed. The experts mentioned that the problem of spent cooking liquor had not been solved in the United States and that new production processes were explored, such as using NH3-bisulfite (ammonium process), which was also known in Europe (Norway) as well as the magnesium bisulfite process. In the report, the European experts state: “The most important reasons for a change-over from the old established Ca-sulfite process must be looked for in problems of stream pollution.”73 This statement, as along with active experiments with new processes, shows a certain degree of awareness for the problem of pollution on both sides of the Atlantic. The aim of these new processes was recovering energy and chemicals from the pulp cooking process. With the ammonium process, only the recovery of energy through evaporation and burning of the spent cooking liquor was technologically possible at the time.74

The magnesium bisulfite process, which was promising because energy as well as cooking materials could be recovered, was only implemented in one pulp mill in the United States by 1951. The European experts reported that “the Mg-process used at Weyerhaeuser is now running smoothly, but the recovery of MgO is still not up to expectations.”75 It is still worth mentioning that Weyerhaeuser was able to recover 74 percent of MgO and 64 percent sulfur and also thermic energy by using the magnesium process.76 It probably felt too early and risky to transfer this knowledge to other factories in Europe through the investment program.

In the early 1950s the incentives for dealing, or not dealing, with spent cooking liquor were different in Europe and the United States. Both in the United States and Europe, an expectation of stricter laws concerning the emission of cooking liquor existed, but there had been less economic incentive in the United States to apply this process than in Europe, since the available energy sources coal and oil were cheaper. It seems as if utilization of spent cooking liquor to produce byproducts like alcohol or yeast was more common and further developed in Europe. The US sulfite pulp industry invested into research for utilizing spent cooking liquor and therefore reducing emissions. The report mentions European technology to produce yeast was tested at one US pulp mill under the supervision of the Institute of Chemistry (Appleton).77

Research from the 1960s shows, that the Austrian industry had to deal with the problems of the calcium bisulfite process and explored a change of technologies but was reluctant to do so because of the high costs of changing the production system.78 During the 1970s public funds that could help increase the water quality became available. Some of the companies that used the sulfite cooking process started restructuring their production processes. This included changing from the calcium bisulfite to the magnesium bisulfite process and collecting the spent cooking liquor to recover chemicals and thermic energy through burning.79 At Brigl & Bergmeister the calcium bisulfite process was used until 1980, when the pulp production was discontinued, and the company concentrated on paper production.80

Why did officials focus on the issues of spent cooking liquor and seemingly neglected the issues of the bleaching process? Chlorine was the main bleaching agent at the time. Its bleaching properties had been used by the paper industry since the late eighteenth century. Large-scale application became possible after the First World War, when better transport technologies for chlorine were developed. Multistage bleaching was introduced in the 1930s. The bleaching process was the main source for persistent polluting substances. Using elemental chlorine causes the formation of especially harmful organic halogen compounds. In the late 1980s about 300 organic compounds resulting from the bleaching process were identified. Several of these were identified as slightly toxic for fish. Some of these are difficult to break down and accumulate along the food chain. Others had been identified as being carcinogenic. Many substances were still unknown. New parameters showing the pollution with organic chlorine had to be developed and were introduced into Austrian legislation in the late 1980s. But these parameters did not capture the toxicity of these substances. A report of the Austrian Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt) from 1989 suggests why bleaching byproducts came into the focus so late. For a long time, the wastewater of the calcium bisulfite cooking process was the heaviest polluting agent. Only when the companies changed their pulp cooking processes, more attention was paid to the pollution through the bleaching process. In addition to being toxic, due to its chemical properties, this wastewater could not be collected and burnt.81

Measuring and Regulating Pollution

Literature on water pollution gives insight how the interaction of the pulp and paper industry with its environment was perceived, and what kind of pollution industry officials and as state officials were aware of and therefore able to deal with in the 1950s. When evaluating the water quality of a river, many different aspects can be analyzed. These include ecological, toxicological, thermic, and other aspects and vary due to available information and measuring practices. The method and focus of the analyses limit its comprehensiveness.82

In 1945/46 the first extensive analysis of the Mur was conducted by Karl Stundl who became the head of the Institute of Microbiology at the Technical University of Graz in 1964. He used a four-point river water-quality scale. He assessed, that after the war, when production levels were low, all sections of the Mur fell within the categories I and II, representing the best and second-best of the four categories.83 This method estimates the ecological state of a water body using plants and animals as ecological indicators. This approach was first used in the middle of the nineteenth century. Kolkwitz and Marsson refined this approach at the beginning of the twentieth century by defining “wastewater organisms,” which are called “Saprobien,” as indicators for the degree of pollution. They published lists of plant and animal species that could be used for this method.84 This method was further developed in the 1960s by Liebmann, who added several other indices like fish mortality or algae bloom to estimate the quality of the water body.85 Maps that are published regularly since the 1960s showing the ecological quality of Austrian rivers using the four-part scale represented with colors from red to green are still based on this method of water quality assessment. These maps from the 1960s and 1970s show that several sections of the Mur downstream of pulp factories fell into the lowest category, marked in red. This method is well suited to show the impact of easily degradable organic material on the organisms in the water body. If there are other materials impacting the water quality (e.g., heavy metals), the method is prone to mistakes.86 The analysis of certain toxic materials and persistent materials was only added to the analysis of water bodies in later decades.87

The wastewater discharge grew with the recovering and growing industrial production and the rising standard of living. Although the before-mentioned method as well as other indicators that measure the oxygen used during degradation processes of organic and inorganic substances were already known, the Styrian administration had very little available data and therefore could not sufficiently estimate the pollution of the river during the first phase of reconstruction and modernization of the industry. Several reasons can be identified. According to administration officials there was little public awareness of the problems of water pollution and reconstruction efforts were prioritized. Also, no specialized office existed that was able to monitor wastewater pollution and conduct water analysis. Therefore Lothar Bernhart, a civil engineer, started to establish such an office within the Styrian government in the mid-1950s.88

From the analyzed publications it seems as if there were two groups of actors that conducted measurements and estimates of water pollution at an early date. On one hand, the pulp and paper industry itself commissioned the Department of Microbiology at the University of Graz to conduct a survey of the water quality. On the other hand, there were public actors, such as Lothar Bernhart, conducting water quality measurements. Since not all the scientific research was publicly available, a compromise for cooperation was sought between private and government actors. This led to the establishment of the Academic Commission for Industrial Wastewater Issues (Studienkommission für industrielle Abwasserfragen) in 1963. In this commission the chamber of commerce as well as the local government and representatives of local industry companies cooperated. This made the comparison of different water surveys possible.89 These processes also manifested themselves in several visual representations. An important result of the cooperation within the Academic Commission for Industrial Wastewater Issues was a cadaster, the so-called Industrial Wastewater Cadaster (Industrieller Abwasserkataster), which was created between 1964 and 1965.90

Although it was created more than a decade after the official running time of the ERP, the document can be used to show several aspects of estimating pollution and water quality. It consists of three parts. The first part is a qualitative description that gives insight into the challenges of collecting data for the survey. The second part consists of a table that gives information on the amount of industrial wastewater, cooling water and domestic wastewater that was emitted into Styrian rivers. The third part of the survey gives a visual representation of the data, putting it in context with different potential water levels of the river. It shows the amount of water that was emitted into the rivers, categorized as industrial wastewater, cooling water, and communal wastewater. Considering times of low water discharge, the shares of industrial waste and cooling water together with communal wastewater could constitute a significant part of the river discharge (see fig. 2).

Figure 2

Share of wastewater, cooling water and communal wastewater of the Mur at medium low water discharge.

Source: Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung, Landesbaudirektion, Wasserwirtschaftliche Rahmenplanung – Bernhart, Lothar. Industrieller Abwasserkataster Steiermarks. Vol. 15. Berichte der wasserwirtschaftlichen Rahmenplanung. Graz, 1970. (English descriptions added by the author.)

Figure 2

Share of wastewater, cooling water and communal wastewater of the Mur at medium low water discharge.

Source: Amt der Steiermärkischen Landesregierung, Landesbaudirektion, Wasserwirtschaftliche Rahmenplanung – Bernhart, Lothar. Industrieller Abwasserkataster Steiermarks. Vol. 15. Berichte der wasserwirtschaftlichen Rahmenplanung. Graz, 1970. (English descriptions added by the author.)

Close modal

The survey shows several challenges for estimating the pollution of the river at the time. Since it was published in the 1960s, we can safely assume that similar or even bigger challenges existed in the decades before. The authors admitted that it was impossible to present comprehensive data on the pollution situation, since wastewater amounts often were not measured, and their chemical composition was unknown, due to a lack of analysis. Also, some companies were not forthcoming with giving information on the composition of their wastewater. The authors also admitted that they were not able to give an estimate of the damage resulting from the pollution, due to a lack of adequate indicators for Styrian rivers. A registry for pollution rights existed, but this data was only partially useable, since many application processes had not been finished, and many existing pollution rights did not reflect the real emissions. The tables show that a variety of different industrial companies emitted their water into the Styrian rivers, ranging from big metal producers to small breweries. An important distinction was made between industrial cooling water and wastewater since these have different impacts on the river. Another distinction was made between continuous wastewater and wastewater that was only emitted occasionally, for example, when certain parts of machinery were cleaned and the cleaning water was emitted into the river.91

Although the cadaster only gives information on the water amount and does not include specific indicators for the environmental impact of the polluting agents, the wastewater share of the Styrian pulp and paper industry shows its potentially devastating effects. The pulp and paper industry contributed one-third of the industrial wastewater and one-tenth of the cooling water.92


The European Recovery Program made an important difference to the socio-natural sites of the pulp and paper industry in Austria. The program introduced new practices, but even more importantly, it solidified old practices for decades and perpetuated the material arrangements that enabled and required them.

The analysis shows that the existing resources and material arrangements that made use of these resources played a big part in the decision process of the ECA. The Austrian landscape offered wood and rivers, and the pulp and paper industry had incorporated these into their material arrangements, of which the Mur was an important part since before the twentieth century.

Many pulp-producing factories such as Brigl & Bergmeister converted large parts of their pulp production with the help of the investment program.93 Since these installations consisted of large and expensive equipment, this tied up substantial parts of company capital. Because these investments did not change the basic mode of production, they created a path dependency that lasted for several decades in terms of pollution, stabilizing the existing interaction with the river. The increased production capacity also increased the amount of these wastewaters, thereby deepening this interaction. Implementing a new production method was extremely costly. So most Austrian pulp producers only changed their production to cooking with magnesium in the 1970s and 1980s.

While the ERP did not change the pulp cooking method in Austrian sulfite pulp factories, it introduced several new technologies to aspects of the cooking process. These changes aimed at the efficiency of production and decreasing material losses resulting in lower wood demand per production unit. Overall, the program also aimed at increasing the production capacities of the factories, in the case of Brigl & Bergmeister especially focusing on pulp production. These changes reflect the institutional goals of the ECA, which aimed to increase resource efficiency and therefore economic efficiency. The analysis shows that these goals did not translate into significantly lower emissions per production unit. Until the 1960s the indicators for emissions from the cooking process (COD and BOD5) stabilized slightly below the prewar levels per production unit, but since the production volume increased due to this ERP investments as well as further investments in the following decades, the total amount of emitted substances rose (see table 1 above). Only the change to the magnesium bisulfite production method in the 1970s and 1980s caused a significant drop in these indicators.

The analysis also shows that most of the available measures aimed at the cooking process and ignored the emissions of the bleaching process. While knowledge and practices to understand most of the emissions of the cooking process, and how to potentially deal with them were already available or were being developed, little was known about the emissions of the bleaching process and how to deal with these. This meant that the pulp producers were not able to adapt their practices concerning the emission of AOX. This group of substances is toxic and is present in the environment for a long time. In the decades following the ERP-investments these emissions increased in absolute numbers, and did so until the 1980s.

Although changes in legislation concerning water pollution were expected, this case study shows that the availability of measuring methods, the understanding of pollution, as well as the resources and capacity to get data affected government officials’ scope of action and delayed effective measures to achieve a change in sulfite pulp production. The local governments also lacked the organizational infrastructure to deal with the increasing pollution that resulted from the growing industrial production capacities. The personal initiative of Lothar Bernhart, who created an office that was able to monitor water quality, initiated better understanding of pollution processes and cooperation between private and public actors. This initiative can be seen as a reaction to increasing pollution levels due to growing industrial capacities along the Mur.

But the water quality of the river was not only impacted by the discharged waste and cooling water of the factories. Being part of a complex material arrangement, the ecological and physical properties of the river itself potentially increased or decreased their ecological effects. Since multiple socio-natural sites overlapped in a densely industrialized area along the Mur, the ERP interacted with a wide range of social practices as well as with material arrangements that could influence each other. One example was the construction of waterpower plants that changed the river’s speed and dynamic and therefore the introduction of oxygen into the river water. This impacted the river organism’s ability to break down the substances that were emitted by the factories.

Although it only lasted for a short time, the ERP introduced a set of new rules to the Austrian economy. While these companies had been export-oriented before, the ERP put the pulp and paper companies into a new geopolitical setting. The decision-makers at the ECA focused on the Euro-Atlantic area and aimed at introducing principles of free trade and transferring American economic strategies to Western Europe. Financing decisions were made based on the situation within this geopolitical area. The availability of resources and goods within the area played an important role in the decision-making process. The ECA had identified chemical pulp as a commodity with high demand in the Western hemisphere and therefore declared several big pulp producers along the Mur as priority projects. Additionally, pulp was identified as an important commodity for defense. These dynamics allowed a resource-intensive production process with a high environmental impact to become one of the few consumer-good priorities within the Austrian ERP and widened the scope of action for these companies. Due to a lack of investments in the first half of the twentieth century, many of these companies had difficulties competing on the world market. The fact that most of the companies that are still in operation today received ERP funding and several of these companies were prioritized within the investment program shows that these investments most likely laid the foundation for the economic survival of the pulp and paper industry in Austria.94

The transfer of economic strategies to Europe included knowledge exchange. Sources such as the report on the OEEC study trip show how different material arrangements and practices affected priorities in production methods and research. Because of cheaper oil and coal, the US industry had less incentive to use byproducts made from spent cooking liquor, while several methods to extract additional products such as alcohol had already been established in European factories. In the United States, on the other hand, due to a better economic situation, research on pulp cooking methods was further developed than in Europe and higher economic risks could be taken.

Stream pollution was an unsolved issue both in the United States and in Europe. At the time of the study trip, the use of the magnesium bisulfite process had been implemented in only one US factory. Although a transfer of this new practice could have had potentially positive effects on the river ecology and on economic aspects of production, this new practice was not transferred to Austrian factories within the ERP-investment program. The process had been implemented only recently and still needed improvement. This likely prevented this important knowledge transfer.

The ERP had a long-lasting effect on the practices and material arrangements of the pulp and paper production in Austria. The changes together with the perpetuations that were caused by the ERP had unplanned side effects. Getting an insight into the dynamics of decision-making and their material impact and risks is important to evaluate the impact of already completed programs. It might also serve as a guideline for assessing the potential as well as the impact of new “Marshall Plans” and recovery programs.



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Hans Seidel, Österreichs Wirtschaft und Wirtschaftspolitik nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg (Vienna: Manz, 2005), 294–96.


Matthias Schmelzer, The Hegemony of Growth: The OECD and the Making of the Economic Growth Paradigm (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 40–41.


Kurt K. Tweraser, “The Politics of Productivity and Corporatism: The Late Marshall Plan in Austria, 1950–54,” in Austria in the Nineteen Fifties, ed. Günter Bischof and Anton Pelinka, Contemporary Austrian Studies 3 (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1995), 104.


Franz Tinhof, ed., Zehn Jahre ERP in Österreich 1948–1958: Wirtschaftshilfe im Dienste der Völkerverständigung (Vienna: Verlag der Österreichischen Staatsdruckerei, 1958), 54; Ferdinand Lacina, “The Marshall Plan—A Contribution to the Austrian Economy in Transition,” in The Marshall Plan in Austria, ed. Günter Bischof, Anton Pelinka, and Dieter Stiefel, Contemporary Austrian Studies 8 (New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 2000), 11–12.


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WIFO, “Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung des ERP-Counterpartfonds,” 165.


Hans Seidel, “Österreichs Wirtschaftspolitik und der Marshall-Plan,” in “80 Dollar”: 50 Jahre ERP-Fonds und Marshall-Plan in Österreich, 1948–1998, ed. Günter Bischof and Dieter Stiefel (Vienna: Ueberreuter, 1999), 81–82.


Kurt Tweraser, “Der Marshall-Plan und die österreichische Eisen- und Stahlindustrie: Fallbeispiel VÖEST,” in “80 Dollar,” ed. Bischof, 217–48.


WIFO, “Die wirtschaftliche Bedeutung des ERP-Counterpartfonds,” 165. While the ERP-Counterpart-Fund continued to exist and is still active, this article is only focusing on the investments between 1950, when the company applied for financing, and 1952.


Joseph E. Atchison, letter to Mr. Rothblum, December 28, 1950, Country Files 1948–1956, Ind. Spec. Div. Minerals & Processing Inds. Br. [Minerals Processing], Records of the US Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1948–1961, Record Group (RG) 469, Box 3, Country File Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister, National Archives at College Park, MD (hereafter records from this source will be referred to as “Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister”).


K. O. Elderkin, J. J. Harrison, and V. P. Edwardes, “Technical Assistance Project 31-13 Report of the United States Pulp and Paper Consultants on the Investment Program of the Austrian Pulp and Paper Industry,” 1950, Deputy Director for Operations Office of European Operations Austria Division, Subject Files, 1948–1953, RG 469, Box 18, Austria Industry Pulp and Paper-Projects, National Archives at College Park, MD (hereafter NACP).


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“Vom Eisen zum Papier,” Die Brücke—Werkszeitung der Zellulose- und Papierfabriken Brigl & Bergmeister Aktiengesellschaft Folge 2 (1963): 5.


Franz Hromatka, “Strukturprobleme und Entwicklungstendenzen in der österreichischen Papierindustrie” (diss, Universität Wien, 1971), 7.


Peter Melichar, “Arisierungen und Liquidierungen im Papier- und Holzsektor,” in Ökonomie der Arisierung. 2. Wirtschaftssektoren, Branchen, Falldarstellungen (Vienna: Oldenbourg, 2004), 470.


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Joseph E. Atchison, letter to Mr. Koon, January 3, 1951, Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister.


Joseph E. Atchison, letter to Mr. Knutson, May 17, 1950, Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister.


W. H. G. Giblin, letter to Mr. Igler, November 17, 1950; Igler (for the Federal Chancellor), letter to ECA Mission Vienna, March 5, 1951; and E. G. Rothblum, letter to Mr. Atchison, November 27, 1950, Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister; Seidel, Österreichs Wirtschaft und Wirtschaftspolitik nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg, 296–97.


Brigl & Bergmeister AG, “Projekt about the Extension of the Cellulose- and Papermills Brigl & Bergmeister AG.”


Lube, “Brigl & Bergmeister AG 1912–1976,” 18, 49–53.


“Das Investitionsprogramm der österreichischen Papier-, Zellulose-, Holzstoff- und Pappen-Industrie und die ERP-Hilfe,” Bericht über den Zeitraum vom 1. Juli 1952 bis zum 30. Juni 1953 (Vienna: Vereinigung österreichischer Papier-, Zellulose-, Holzstoff- und Pappenindustrieller, September 1953).


Brigl & Bergmeister AG, “Projekt about the Extension of the Cellulose- and Papermills Brigl & Bergmeister AG.”


“Brigl & Bergmeister A.G. Niklasdorf,” n.d., Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister.


Lube, “Brigl & Bergmeister AG 1912–1976,” 68.


Brigl & Bergmeister AG, “Projekt about the Extension of the Cellulose- and Papermills Brigl & Bergmeister AG.”


Lauber, Zellstoffindustrie und Gewässerschutz in Österreich, 35.


“Investitionsprogramm Papierindustrie.”


Isabella Kossina et al., “Studie zur Abwasserreinigung der Hallein Papier AG,” Umweltbundesamt, Vienna, 1987; Lauber, Zellstoffindustrie und Gewässerschutz in Österreich.


Walzel-Wiesentreu, “Abwässer in der Zellstoff- und Papierindustrie und ihre Behandlung,” 47.


Kossina et al., “Studie zur Abwasserreinigung der Hallein Papier AG,” 192; Lothar Bernhart, “Sanierungsmaßnahmen an der Mur,” Wasser und Abwasser (1974): 90.


Lauber, Zellstoffindustrie und Gewässerschutz in Österreich, 37; H. Ertl, E. Pescheck, and B. Stabinger-Leopold, “Die Güte der Fließgewässer des Landes Steiermark im Jahre 1965,” Wasser und Abwasser (1966): 92.


Elderkin, Harrison, and Edwardes, “Technical Assistance Project 31-13.”


Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister.


Atchison, letter to Mr. Knutson.


E. G. Rothblum, letter to Mr. Joseph E. Atchison, May 25, 1950, Austria Pulp and Paper Project Nettingsdorfer, Country Files 1948–1956, Spec. Div. Minerals and Processing Inds., Records of the US Foreign Assistance Agencies, 1948–1961, RG 469, Box 4, NACP.


Atchison, letter to Mr. Knutson.


Giblin, letter to Mr. Igler.


Rothblum, letter to Mr. Atchison.


Joseph E. Atchison, letter to Mr. Wultsch, December 22, 1950, Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister.


“Supplement to the Project of the Zellulose- und Papierfabriken Brigl & Bergmeister A.G. of January 1950,” n.d., Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister.


Lube, “Brigl & Bergmeister AG 1912–1976,” 67, 85; “Investitionsprogramm Papierindustrie.”


Charles M. Koon, letter to Mr. Atchison, December 19, 1950, Austria Pulp and Paper Project Brigl-Bergmeister.


Atchison, letter to Mr. Rothblum.


Lauber, Zellstoffindustrie und Gewässerschutz in Österreich, 13.


WIFO, Die österreichische Papierindustrie (Vienna, 1951).


OEEC, The Pulp and Paper Industry in the USA: A Report by a Mission of European Experts (Paris: OEEC, 1951), 102–3.


Ibid., 103; Kossina et al., “Studie zur Abwasserreinigung der Hallein Papier AG,” 28.


OEEC, The Pulp and Paper Industry in the USA, 188, 102.


W. Abele, “Die Zellstoff- und Papierindustrie in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika – Bericht einer Mission europäischer Fachleute,” Wochenblatt für Papierfabrikation, no. 23 (1951): 758–61.


OEEC, The Pulp and Paper Industry in the USA, 102–3; “Sulfitablauge als Brennstoff in amerikanischen Papierfabriken,” Wochenblatt für Papierfabrikation, no. 13 (1951): 421.


Walzel-Wiesentreu, “Abwässer in der Zellstoff- und Papierindustrie und ihre Behandlung.”


Kossina et al., “Studie zur Abwasserreinigung der Hallein Papier AG,” 197–98.


Mathilde Danzer, Anton Hruschka, and Hellmut Fleckseder, Belastung von Fließgewässern durch die Zellstoff- und Papierindustrie in Österreich, vol. 17a, Monographien (Vienna: Umweltbundesamt, 1989), 162.


Ibid., 70–82.


Otto Moog, “Biologische Parameter zum Bewerten der Gewässergüte von Fliessgewässern,” in UVP in Wasserwirtschaft und Wasserbau (Technik und Management), Landschaftswasserbau (Scheibbs: Radinger-Druck, 1991), 238.


Bernhart, “Sanierungsmaßnahmen an der Mur,” 82.


Richard Kolkwitz and Maximilian Marsson, “Grundsätze für die biologische Beurteilung des Wassers nach seiner Flora und Fauna,” Mitteilungen an der königlichen Prüfungsanstalt für Abwasserverschmutzung und Abwasserbeseitigung zu Berlin 1 (1902): 33–72.


Hans Liebman, Handbuch der Frischwasser- und Abwasser-Biologie. Biologie des Trinkwassers, Frischwassers, Vorfluters und Abwassers (Munich: Oldenbourg, 1962).


Moog, “Biologische Parameter zum Bewerten der Gewässergüte von Fliessgewässern,” 241–42, 260–61.


Wilhelm Vogel, Belastung von Fließgewässern durch die Zellstoff- und Papierindustrie in Österreich. 17, B. Ökologie und Immissionen (Vienna, 1989), 21.


Bernhart, “Sanierungsmaßnahmen an der Mur,” 82–83, 86.


Lothar Bernhart, “10 Jahre Gewässergüteaufsichtsdienst in der Steiermark,” in 10 Jahre Gewässergüteaufsicht in der Steiermark: 1959–1969 (Graz: Landesbaudirektion Steiermark, 1969), 2–5, 12.


Lothar Bernhart, Industrieller Abwasserkataster Steiermarks, vol. 15, Berichte der wasserwirtschaftlichen Rahmenplanung (Graz, 1970).


Ibid., 9–12.


Bernhart, Industrieller Abwasserkataster Steiermarks.


“Investitionsprogramm Papierindustrie.”


Ibid.; “Austropapier—Unternehmen,” https://austropapier.at/unternehmen (accessed August 18, 2021).

Author notes

Author’s Note: I want to thank my dissertation supervisors Ernst Langthaler and Verena Winiwarter for their advice in the process of writing this article.

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