History of International Newspapers: Die Welt in Germany Part 1

About the International newspaper Die Welt published in Germany, history and information.

DIE WELT (Hamburg, West Germany)

The Past, Die Welt ("The World") was begun during the British occupation of Germany in 1946 and in a few months had reached a circulation of nearly 500,000 in Hamburg and Essen. It was then controlled by Colonel H. B. Garland of the British Army. Hans Zehrer, a German novelist and newspaperman, was the managing director; he left because of political differences, and Rudolf Kustermeier took over.

In 1947, Die Welt began a Berlin edition, and by 1949, circulation had reached over one million for all 3 editions. In 1950, the British turned over control to the Germans.

In 1953, the paper was bought by Axel C. Springer, a Hamburg millionaire publisher, who had avoided the Nazi party and the Army. During the war, he had printed morale-building romantic novels for the Army. After the war, he decided to start a radio magazine. In order to do so, he had to get a printing license from British officials, who were tired of the whole procedure of listening to disgruntled German publishers. When Springer arrived, a British major asked, "And who has been persecuting you?"

"Only women," Springer replied. He got the license.

Women adore Springer. He has had 4 wives. In addition to women, he collects horses and houses--6 of them in various cities in Europe, all expensively decorated. His Hamburg mansion, for instance, is hung with ancient Chinese wall decorations.

When Springer bought Die Welt, for $1 million, he became the biggest publisher of newspapers and periodicals in the Federal Republic.

Die Welt was the 1st German newspaper to use telephoto, when in 1952 it began receiving wire photos from the Helsinki Olympics.

The Present. Die Welt has a large circulation--over 260,000 in 1975--and is read in over 120 countries. In addition to special issues, it routinely prints 10 editions a day. It is the only German newspaper to have an airmailed edition, printed on very thin paper.

It is a national paper. The educated German reads it and a local paper. Though influential in government circles, Die Welt does not appeal too much to youth, who feel that it is overly conservative. The London Times correspondent in Bonn has said that it is "conservative to the marrow, but with a strong social progressive influence."

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