Grafted on Oily Roots: The Marshall Plan?s Impact on Austrian Post-WWII Wood Biomass Flows
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
3rd World Congress of Environmental History ? 2019
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In 1945, the U.S.A. found itself on the brink of a recession. The previous years had been characterized by a war-driven economic boom that was fueled by industrial innovation, Middle Eastern oil and mobilization of natural resources. When the boom came to a sudden halt, U.S. politicians became concerned. In reaction, the US launched the world?s largest economic aid operation in history in 1948. While the European Recovery Program (ERP), commonly known as Marshall Plan also dealt with food shortages in central Europe, its transformative impact was a program of loans for the European industry. This would, so the hope, stifle antidemocratic developments by raising the standard of living in Europe. A novel era of development assistance between the US and ?less developed? regions was thus started, but the ERP also proved a powerful tool to accelerate natural resource flows within and among national economies, a dimension not addressed in ERP research to date.
Austria serves as an example for the entanglement of the U.S.A. and Europe through the ERP. We show how the program enabled the fossil-fuel-based acceleration of wood from forestry to the timber processing industry. Within only four years, ERP-officials (1) initiated a huge forest survey, (2) provided loans to release wood transport from seasonal constraints by building forest roads and fossil-fuel based transportation. (3) Species composition was altered to meet future industrial demand. The introduction of new technologies increased the capacities of wood processing industries. Demonstration facilities were built to boost pulp and paper exports. Based on a wealth of archival records, this paper assesses socio-ecological side effects of the ERP but also discusses its role in creating converging natural resource use patterns on both sides of the Atlantic.