Ullstein Verlag

   among the Republic's three largest newspaper* pub-lishers. Founded in 1877 when Leopold Ullstein (an erstwhile reformer) pur-chased a small Berlin* newspaper, it was divided among Leopold's five sons upon his death in 1899. Meanwhile, its liberal editors were repeatedly jailed for lese-majeste, a practice that earned it a growing readership.
   In January 1914 the Ullsteins purchased the Vossische Zeitung (Voss), Berlin's oldest newspaper (founded 1705). Georg Bernhard's simultaneous appointment as coeditor proved a stroke of genius. Aggressive, ambitious, and controversial, this one-time Social Democrat supported Alfred von Tirpitz* during the war, but then bolted his rightist connections to join the DDP and champion the Re-public. Setting the firm's agenda until the Republic's last years, Bernhard edited Voss until 1931, but managed all the Ullstein dailies until 1920.
   The Ullstein firm was a centerpiece of the pro-Weimar establishment, and its readers (known as Ullsteindeutscher) have been characterized as open minded, progressive, and international. Not only did it surpass its principal rival, the Mosse* Verlag, in size, but by the mid-1920s it was the most prosperous pub-lishing house in Europe. With four papers of various types (BZ am Mittag was the most widely read) and numerous magazines (the most popular, the weekly Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung, sold more than two million copies per issue), the firm employed ten thousand people and supported a vast transportation system and a worldwide news service. Its publications included book titles—for ex-ample, Erich Maria Remarque's* Im Westen nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front)—and its writers included Heinz Pol, film* critic for Voss and a frequent columnist for Die Weltbuhne* (under the pseudonym Jacob Links).
   In 1931 the Ullstein Verlag weathered a bitter intrafamily property scandal that pitted brother against brother. When it ended, Bernhard was gone and the firm was permanently damaged. In 1943 Leopold Schwarzschild, editor of Tage-Buch,* recalled the episode as an "extraordinary manifestation of the general decay in Germany." Out of ambivalence or distraction, the firm failed thereafter to use its power on behalf of the Republic. In February 1933 the brothers bowed to Joseph Goebbels's* demand that the NSDAP control editorial policy. Con-vinced that Hitler's* rule would be brief, they failed to foresee that the Nazis would not merely control what the paper published but would own the enterprise. In the spring of 1934 the Ullstein firm, valued at sixty million marks, was sold for twelve million. It was renamed Deutscher Verlag in 1937.
   REFERENCES:Eksteins, Limits of Reason; Schwarzschild, "Rise and Fall of the House of Ullstein"; Ullstein, Rise and Fall of the House of Ullstein.

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

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