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Nationalisation, transfer of control and/or ownership of private enterprises to the state ( (see) Enterprises, State-owned) in line with the economic principles of socialism. From 1918 a serious concern of Austrian Social Democrats, who, while not aiming at complete socialisation along the lines of the Soviet Union, advocated government control of all key industries. Thus, after the end of the First World War, there was a state commission for socialisation in the Austrian Parliament. Its first chairman was O. (see) Bauer, who was succeeded by W. (see) Ellenbogen, but its activities petered out after the Nationalrat elections of 1920 when the Christian Social Party obtained a majority in Parliament. After World War II industries were nationalised; this was done with the approval of the conservatives in order to enable the government to take over the plants and enterprises seized by the Allied powers under the decisions of the Potsdam Conference of August 1, 1945. This only proved possible in respect of enterprises in the zones occupied by the three western allies, but not in the Soviet occupation zone.

Nationalisation was based on two Nationalisation Acts (BGBl. (see) Federal Law Gazette No. 168, of July 26, 1946, and BGBl. No. 81, of March 26, 1947). The First Nationalisation Act covered the largest three Austrian joint-stock banks (Creditanstalt-Bankverein, Laenderbank and Oesterreichisches Credit-Institut) and numerous industrial enterprises in the fields of mining (coal, iron ore, copper, lead and others), iron and steel production, the non-ferrous metal industry, mechanical engineering, industrial plant production, ship-building, and the petrochemical and chemical industries. The Second Nationalisation Act transferred the majority of the electricity generating plants into the ownership of the provinces, while the largest power plants were placed under the control of special organisations in which the Federal government held a majority interest (Oesterreichische Elektrizitaetswirtschafts AG, Verbundgesellschaft). In Austria, nationalisation merely resulted in the takeover of equity interests by the public authorities; the legal structure of the companies was not changed, and former owners received compensation, with the exception of former (see) German Assets, in which cases expropriation was effected without compensation. Nationalisation of (see) USIA enterprises, which were under Soviet administration from 1946-1955, was only possible after conclusion of the State Treaty between Austria and the Allied powers. For several decades, Austria's (see) Nationalised Industry was of utmost importance to the country, and it was only in the 1970s and 1980s that its enterprises slipped into deficit , making (see) Privatisation necessary in many instances.