Mosse, Rudolf

(1843-1920)
   publisher; founder of the Berliner Tage-blatt, one of the Weimar era s premier newspapers.* One of fourteen children, he was born in Gratz, southwest of Posen, to a cultured and modestly prosperous Jewish family doctor. He left school at fifteen, apprenticed with a bookseller, and then followed two brothers to Berlin.* In 1865, upon his father s death, the entire Mosse family moved to Berlin. Meanwhile, Rudolf joined the Leipzig publishing firm of Robert Apitsch, where in 1866 he induced the owner to include an advertising section in his newspaper. The concept was so successful that he went to Berlin to form his own advertising agency, the Zeitungs-Annoncen Expedition, in 1867.
   The Berliner Tageblatt was founded in 1871. A commercial as opposed to a political venture, BT only slowly reflected Mosse's progressive leanings, and then only after the 1881 addition of Artur Levysohn as editor. In 1889 Mosse launched the popular Berliner Morgenzeitung; he added the Berliner Volkszei-tung in 1904. Embedded in his liberal politics was support for the free-trade imperialism of the 1880s and 1890s. But when Germany s colonial policy as-sumed an anti-British slant, he withdraw his support. Under Theodor Wolff,* Mosse s cousin and the paper s brilliant editor from 1906, BT evolved into one of Germany s leading liberal papers. Advocating free trade, political reform, and a balanced foreign policy, the paper was increasingly anathema to nationalists who favored a vigorous, naval-based expansionism. Paul Reusch,* managing director of the Gutehoffnungshutte steel concern, recorded his fear in a 1913 letter that Mosse might extend his influence by acquiring the troubled publishing empire of August Scherl.
   Although Mosse was a demanding owner, he rarely interfered with the con-tents of his papers. Retaining his faith—he belonged to a reformed congrega-tion—he rejected Zionism and despised baptized Jews.* In 1913 he was awarded an honorary doctorate at Heidelberg, and 302 individuals—including Walther Rathenau* and Oscar Tietz*—contributed to a special volume in celebration of his seventieth birthday. (While he accepted civic dignities, he declined the honor of ennoblement from the Kaiser.) During the war BT, which boasted a circula-tion of a quarter of a million, opposed annexationist policies and censured the declaration of submarine warfare. Occasionally banned, BT never wavered in its ideals. When the war was lost, its boardroom was used to found the new DDP. Thereafter, the newspaper was a principal support of the Republic.
   Mosse passed most of the burden of his publishing empire to his son-in-law, Hans Lachmann-Mosse, who became principal business partner in 1910. Hor-rifled by the November Revolution*—the Spartacists* used the Mosse villa as their headquarters in January 1919—he was unable to adapt to Germany s changed circumstances. By the end of his life, with his well-appointed palace on Leipziger Platz and a combined fortune (including extensive real estate) in excess of 45 million marks, he was among the wealthiest men in Prussia.*
   Lachmann-Mosse was, meanwhile, a poor businessman. Bad investments led the firm into a financial morass that deepened with the depression.* Moreover, bitter disputes with Wolff, who complained of the owner s want of political conviction, spawned tension in BTs offices. By January 1933 the firm had an 8.8-million-mark debt, and influential writers had been fired by the owner. Liv-ing in Paris, Lachmann-Mosse released the family's shares in the firm in 1934. Joseph Goebbels* then purchased the Mosse Verlag from creditors.
   REFERENCES:Eksteins, Limits of Reason; Werner Mosse, German-Jewish Economic Elite and "Rudolf Mosse"; Runge and Stelbrink, George Mosse.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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