THE PAST HAS A FUTURE: LAUNCHING BASF ANEW
Operationally, January 30, 1952, was a day like any other at the Ludwigshafen and Oppau plants of IG Farbenindustrie. Thoughthe trust was being dissolved, production had been running at full capacitysince the beginning of a worldwide boom triggered by the Korean War. The plant's 26,415 employees were completely occupied trying to meet the rapidly burgeoning domestic and international demand and to eliminate the last production obstacles remaining from war damage, the catastrophic explosion in July 1948, and the postwar program of industrial dismantling in Germany. The number of personnel still lagged behind the peak of 37,400 reached in 1943, but it already clearly exceeded the prewar level of 23,500 recorded in 1938. Turnover had soared accordingly, with exports accounting for one-third of the company's sales. When the “founders” and the members of the supervisory board designated by them toured the complex before notarization, they could not fail to see that it was already well onthe rise again and thoroughly capable of participating in the expected expansion of the markets. Like other veterans of the old BASF, Alwin Mittasch, Carl Bosch's former colleague and long-standing director of Oppau's ammonia laboratory, was visibly overwhelmed by all the evidence “of the irrepressible vitality inherent in our beloved Badische Anilin- & Soda-Fabrik.”
Against this background, Carl Wurster, too, found it difficult to adequately describe the complexity of breaking up the trust and of observing proper protocol when greeting the founders and supervisory board members who had appeared for there-establishment of BASF.