The world stage

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The world stage
Cover of the Weltbühne from March 12, 1929
description magazine
Area of ​​Expertise Politics, art and economics
language German
head office Berlin
First edition September 7, 1905
attitude 1993
founder Siegfried Jacobsohn
Frequency of publication weekly
ISSN (print)
The Schaubühne (1906)
The new world stage (1936)

The Weltbühne was a German weekly magazine for politics, art and business. It was founded by Siegfried Jacobsohn in Berlin under the name ' Die Schaubühne ' as a pure theater magazine and appeared for the first time on September 7, 1905. On April 4, 1918, the Schaubühne , which had opened up to economic and political issues since 1913, was renamed Die Weltbühne . After Jacobsohn's death in December 1926, Kurt Tucholsky took overthe management of the paper, which hepassedon to Carl von Ossietzky in May 1927. The National Socialists banned afterReichstag fire set the world stage , which could appear for the last time on March 7, 1933. In exile, the magazine was continued under the title Die neue Weltbühne until 1939 . After the end of the Second World War , the world stage reappeared under its original name in East Berlin , where it lasted until 1993. In 1997 the magazines Ossietzky and Das Blättchen followed the tradition of the famous role model.

With its little red notebooks, the world stage in the Weimar Republic was considered the forum for the radical democratic bourgeois left. Around 2500 authors wrote for the magazine from 1905 to 1933. In addition to Jacobsohn, Tucholsky and Ossietzky, this also included prominent journalists and writers such as Lion Feuchtwanger , Moritz Heimann , Kurt Hiller , Erich Mühsam , Else Lasker-Schüler , Erich Kästner , Alfred Polgar , Robert Walser , Carl Zuckmayer and Arnold Zweig . Some of the journalists who were somewhat forgotten, such as Rudolf Arnheim , Julius Bab , Erich Dombrowski , Axel Eggebrecht , Hellmut von Gerlach , Hanns-Erich Kaminski , Richard Lewinsohn , Fritz Sternberg , Heinrich Ströbel and Richard Treitel, were also among the important contributors to the paper. Furthermore, the first female journalist for the People's Watch (Freiburg im Breisgau) , Käthe Vordtriede .

Even in its peak phase, the Weltbühne only had a small print run of around 15,000 copies. Nevertheless, it penetrated the media. Examples of this are the uncovering of the femicide within the Black Reichswehr as well as reports about the secret arming of the Reichswehr , which later led to the so-called World Stage Trial . The sentence “ Soldiers are murderers ” coined by Tucholsky also led to an indictment against the then editor Ossietzky.

Origin and development of the Schaubühne

The founding of the Schaubühne was the result of a plagiarism affair in which the 23-year-old theater critic Siegfried Jacobsohn was involved. On November 12, 1904, the Berliner Tageblatt drew attention to parallels between reviews by Jacobsohn and Alfred Gold . At that time, Jacobsohn was the theater critic of Welt am Montag , who no longer wanted to keep her controversial and therefore sometimes hated employees in press and theater circles because of the public outrage. Jacobsohn, who had initially failed professionally, embarked on a journey of several months through Europe and decided to start his own theater magazine. He described this phase of life, from the beginning of the plagiarism affair to the founding of the Schaubühne , in the work Der Fall Jacobsohn published in 1913 . In retrospect, he described his affair as “a sensational piece of the first order, for which it was worthwhile, the Berlin advertising pillars with giant posters - Jacobsohn's exposure; Plagiarist Jacobsohn; Siegfried's death - to be glued for weeks ”(p. 50). According to recent studies, the case found little coverage in the capital's press. Jacobsohn's pamphlet also contains a passage from a letter expressing his ideas about future work as a publisher and editor (p. 47):

"I think it's wonderful to build a house every week to my liking, so to speak, that will always have a different and yet always the same physiognomy, to work with ever new, always valuable human material - director of a printed stage."

Theater phase: 1905 to 1913

During its existence from 1905 to 1933, the magazine went through several phases of development. Until 1913 it concentrated on "the entire interests of the theater", as it was called in its subtitle until then. Jacobsohn was convinced that “the spirit of a people and of a certain time is more vividly expressed in the drama than in the rest of the literature” - so it says in his contribution Zum Geleit , with which he opened the first issue of the Schaubühne .

Head of the first Schaubühne page

The first four numbers were preceded by a quote from Friedrich Schiller's essay The Schaubühne viewed as a moral institution as the motto: "As clearly visible representation has a more powerful effect than dead letter and cold narrative, the Schaubühne certainly has a deeper and more lasting effect than morality and laws". That was an indication of how Jacobsohn wanted his company to be understood: as an enlightenment in the spirit of the classical period. The great importance attached to artistic debates at that time, however, was also due to the fact that art in the German Empire under Kaiser Wilhelm II was subject to less repression than politics and journalism.

The most important employees in the early stages of the Schaubühne included the theater critics Julius Bab , Willi Handl and Alfred Polgar , and in the following years writers such as Lion Feuchtwanger , Robert Walser and Harry Kahn as well as the theater critic Herbert Ihering joined them. In November 1908, Feuchtwanger's magazine Der Spiegel was merged with the Schaubühne after only 15 issues .

As a theater critic, Jacobsohn was an antipode to Alfred Kerr . Unlike the latter, he was a staunch critic of naturalism and, in contrast to Kerr, also valued the achievements of Max Reinhardt as a theater director and director far higher than that of Otto Brahm . Reinhardt's turn to mass theater in circus arenas, which began in 1910 and ultimately led to the construction of the Great Playhouse in Berlin, was disapproved by Jacobsohn.

Opening up to politics: 1913 to 1918

On January 9, 1913, a contribution by law student Kurt Tucholsky, who turned 23 on that day, appeared for the first time in the Schaubühne . In the first year of his collaboration with Jacobsohn, Tucholsky became his most important employee.

Memorial plaque at the editorial office in Dernburgstrasse

In order not to let the sheet appear too “Tucholsky-heavy”, he took on three pseudonyms as early as 1913, which he kept until the end of his journalistic work: Ignaz Wrobel, Theobald Tiger and Peter Panter. Under the influence of Tucholsky's collaboration, the character of the Schaubühne was also to change rapidly. The first "Answers" appeared as early as March 1913, a section in which the magazine should comment on real or fake letters to the editor in the future. More important, however, was Jacobsohn's decision to open his paper to topics from politics and economics. On September 25, the business lawyer Martin Friedlaender reported under the pseudonym "Vindex" on monopoly structures in the American tobacco industry. Jacobsohn commented on this in a bogus "answer":

"[...] If the theater and only the theater has been considered here for nine years, I have not yet forfeited the right to have other things looked at and to look at. Plowing a field apart from all others has its charms and advantages, but also its dangers. [...] "

During the war, Jacobsohn succeeded in getting his magazine published regularly despite difficult conditions. From August 1914 on, he opened every issue with a political lead article in which a “patriotic” point of view was represented. In November 1915, the journalist Robert Breuer started a series of articles under the pseudonym "Cunctator" which dealt critically with the politics of the Reich government and the political state of the Reich. The series culminated on December 23 with the contribution The Crisis of Capitalism , which ended with the statement: "Only the international of the proletariat can overcome the crisis of nationally disguised capitalism."

Because of this article, the Schaubühne was initially banned. However, Jacobsohn was able to ensure that the paper would appear again by agreeing to prior censorship. Converted to Germanicus , Breuer returned to the paper as a commentator in January 1916 and, despite his name, led a permanent fight against the annexation demands of the Pan-German Association . From 1916, Jacobsohn, who had made a passionate pacifist commitment at the front after the death of his youngest brother in 1915, regularly printed advertisements for the subscription of war bonds. It has not yet been clarified whether these advertisements were paid for and thus possibly made a decisive contribution to securing the magazine's existence. The overall by no means pacifist, politically at best can be described as lavish appearance of the paper was later criticized by Jacobsohn, which was not unjustified, among others. by Franz Pfemfert and Karl Kraus .

The change from a pure theater sheet for "Journal of Politics, art, business" was Jacob's son finally on April 4, 1918 with the renaming of the stage in world stage bill.

The name was changed to Weltbühne - for revolution and republic: 1918 to 1926

After the initial successes of the German spring offensive in 1918, Jacobsohn's lead article writer Robert Breuer moved away from his previously anti-annexionist position and left the previous line of the paper in other areas as well. The differences between the MSPD supporter Breuer and Jacobsohn, who came closer and closer to the position of the USPD , finally led to the departure of "Germanicus". During the November Revolution, the world stage did not allow itself to be tied to a party course. From March 1919 to October 1920 the social democrat Heinrich Ströbel wrote the political leading articles.

Memorial plaque on the house at Wundtstrasse 65 in Berlin-Charlottenburg

On November 21, 1918, Jacobsohn published the program of the "Council of Intellectual Workers", to which he himself belonged for a short time, but which he left because he did not want to steal the editorial work for a "debating club". Soon the world stage was critically concerned with the cooperation between social democracy and the old army as well as the inadequate purification of the judiciary and administration of monarchist and anti-republican officials.

In March 1919, in the programmatic text "We Negatives", Tucholsky defended himself against the accusation that the new republic was not viewed positively enough:

“We cannot say yes to a people who, even today, are in a constitution which, if the war had happened to end happily, would have led to fears of the worst. We cannot say yes to a country that is obsessed with collectivities and where the corporation is far above the individual ”

- “We Negatives”, in: Die Weltbühne , March 13, 1919, p. 279

In the years that followed, the world stage took a strictly pacifist and anti-militarist course, demanded a tough reaction from the republic to the numerous political murders and, during the war against the Ruhr , pushed for the peace conditions laid down in the Versailles Treaty to be fulfilled .

Editorial office (1921–1927) on the former Königsweg, Berlin-Charlottenburg

That is why the paper also resolutely advocated reconciliation with the war opponents. A particular achievement of the Weltbühne was to have drawn attention to the fememicides within the Black Reichswehr . Although Jacobsohn knew that he was exposing himself to great personal danger, on August 18, 1925, he published corresponding notes by the former volunteer corps member Carl Mertens .

The engagement of the political journalist Carl von Ossietzky, who was employed by Jacobsohn as editor and political lead article from April 1926, was also groundbreaking for the further development of the magazine. With the sudden death of Jacobsohn on December 3, 1926, the continued existence of the Weltbühne , which at that time had a circulation of around 12,500 copies, was called into question.

Fight against National Socialism: 1927 to 1933

After the death of his mentor Jacobsohn, Tucholsky gave up his life as a correspondent in Paris, returned to Berlin and became - as he mockingly called it - the “head editor” of the Weltbühne . Jacobsohn's widow Edith Jacobsohn took over the management of the publishing house in 1927. It soon became apparent, however, that Tucholsky did not like the position of editor. Therefore, Ossietzky took over the editing in May 1927 and was officially named as editor from October 1927, "with the collaboration of Kurt Tucholsky", as it was called on the title page until 1933. Although Ossietzky was a completely different editor from Jacobsohn in type, the continuity of the journal was preserved. From Tucholsky's letters to his wife Mary Gerold , however, it emerges that in 1927 and 1928 he was anything but satisfied with the way his successor "Oss" worked. Typical passages of letters read: "Oss does not answer at all - does not respond to anything - and certainly not out of meanness, but out of laziness" (August 14, 1927); “Oss very far away. I have the vivid impression that I am disturbing. He doesn't like me and I don't like him anymore. Treats me with too little respect for the crucial nuance. Got Upside Down ”(January 20, 1928); “Oss is a hopeless case - he doesn't even know how boring he makes everything. He is lazy and incompetent. ”(September 25, 1929) It was only in the years to come that the two journalists should come closer both personally and personally, so that in May 1932 Tucholsky finally admitted that Ossietzky had given the paper a“ tremendous boost ”.

Memorial plaque at the editorial office in Kantstrasse
In front of the prison in Berlin-Tegel. V. l. right: Kurt Großmann, Rudolf Olden, both German League for Human Rights; Carl von Ossietzky, apple, lawyer; Rose field

This boost was also reflected in the circulation, which reached its maximum of 15,000 copies in the early 1930s. Among other things, testify to the importance of the world stage . the reader circles that formed in numerous German cities and even in South America. The legal disputes that the Weltbühne almost permanently conducted with the Reichswehr Ministry due to its anti-militarist educational work also attracted attention beyond the circle of readers . The climax of these conflicts was the so-called Weltbühne trial , as a result of which Ossietzky and the journalist Walter Kreiser were sentenced to 18 months in prison for espionage .

The fight against the "journey to the Third Reich " (Tucholsky) was the focus of the paper towards the end of the Weimar Republic, although the cultural life was not completely ignored. However, by the beginning of 1932, Tucholsky had already given up and only published his own texts sporadically. In May 1932 Hellmut von Gerlach temporarily took over the management because Ossietzky had to serve his prison sentence. During this time, the journalist Walther Karsch acted as the so-called seat editor , i.e. he was the responsible editor in terms of press law . In the summer, Ossietzky was also charged with the Tucholsky sentence “ soldiers are murderers ”. A court acquitted the prisoner who was finally released on Christmas 1932 due to an amnesty.

When the National Socialists came to power on January 30, 1933, it was foreseeable that the world stage would be banned . On the night of the Reichstag fire from February 27 to 28, 1933, Ossietzky and other employees were arrested. After Hellmut von Gerlach's escape, Walther Karsch, who later co-founded the Berliner Tagesspiegel , also took on the role of editor-in-chief of the Weltbühne . The edition planned for March 14th could still be printed, but no longer delivered. The last edition of the Weltbühne appeared on March 7th, 1933 (No. 10) and ended with the defiant assurance: “Because the spirit will prevail”.

Successor magazines

Eventful years in exile: 1933 to 1939

The Weltbühne publishing house was not unprepared for the ban on the magazine. An offshoot of the paper had already appeared in Vienna on September 29, 1932 , the Wiener Weltbühne . Various emigrants from Berlin wrote for the numbers 11–13 1933 (2nd year). The journalist Willi Siegmund Schlamm , a student of Karl Kraus and Leon Trotsky , acted as head of the Vienna branch . The editorial contract between Schlamm and Edith Jacobsohn provided that Carl von Ossietzky would also take over the editing of the exile paper in the event of emigration. But it did not get to that.

Edith Jacobsohn managed to escape to Switzerland together with her son Peter . From there she tried to continue to exert influence on the magazine, which had to relocate its editorial offices to Prague after the Austrian parliament was ousted by Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss . Since the Berlin original had also been banned in the meantime, the magazine changed its name to Die Neue Weltbühne . Between April 6, 1933 (No. 14) and August 31, 1939 (No. 35) almost 4,000 articles were published. The editor-in-chief was mud. Mud did its job well. In a letter to Heinz Pol, Tucholsky particularly praised him , saying that he thought Schlamm's articles were “great”.

In 1934, Schlamm was taken out of control of the paper. Schlamm spoke of "blackmail and a targeted coup by the communists". The events surrounding the change in the reaction from Schlamm to Hermann Budzislawski are, according to the historian Alexander Gallus, controversial. Gallus considers Schlamm's conjecture to be plausible. At first, such takeovers were not uncommon in Stalinist communism. In addition, Schlamm had made himself unpopular for harshly criticizing both the Communists and the Social Democrats for their role in the Nazis' seizure of power . Under the influence of the business journalist Budzislawski, who was close to the Communists and who had been a sporadic employee of the Weltbühne in Berlin , Jacobsohn let it come down to the break with mud. From March 1934 on, Budzislawski took over the editorial office in Prague. Although he immediately changed the political line of the magazine, he could not increase the circulation significantly. This was also due to the fact that important sales areas for the exile magazines were lost with Austria and soon also the Saar area . As a result, Edith Jacobsohn was forced to sell the publishing house and title rights in June 1934.

The buyers were the physicist Albrecht Seidler-Stein (60 percent shares), the lawyer Hans Nathan-Ludwig (31 percent) and the former Weltbühne employee Heinz Pol (nine percent). In July 1935, Nathan-Ludwig sold his shares to Helene Reichenbach, a friend of Budzislawski, daughter of a Chinese diplomat and businessman. Pol also gave up his stake in November 1935, so that Seidler-Stein finally owned two thirds of the shares and Reichenbach one third. Since Seidler-Stein tried to replace Budzislawski with another editor, he was eventually pushed out of the publishing house by Budzislawski. Although Budzislawski had no financial reserves at his disposal, Reichenbach, who lives in Moscow, agreed to a contract in August 1936 that guaranteed the two of them equal shares in the publishing house. Under these conditions the magazine could exist for another three years. In June 1938 the editorial team moved from Prague to Paris , as Die neue Weltbühne in Czechoslovakia had already been confiscated several times for articles critical of Germany. In France , the authorities finally also banned the paper, which was last published on August 31, 1939.

In the past, Budzislawski has often been accused of merely taking over the world stage as a communist agent in order to be able to continue it in the interests of the KPD and the Communist International . More recent research using the editorial archive rather assumes that Budzislawski wanted to take over the management of the New World Stage for reasons of personal reputation and as a determined opponent of Hitler . Nevertheless, it can be said that German communists such as Walter Ulbricht and Franz Dahlem who emigrated to Moscow found a forum in the paper. In addition, Budzislawski avoided reporting on the so-called Stalin Purges . Kurt Hiller , who has worked at the Weltbühne since 1915 , appealed in vain to Budzislawski in 1937 to restore the magazine's characteristic balance and freedom of movement (cf. his critical work Rote Ritter. Experiences with German Communists , Gelsenkirchen 1951).

Party paper after the war: 1945 to 1993

The world stage 1982 edition

In 1946 the Weltbühne was re-established by Maud von Ossietzky and Hans Leonhard and published by the Weltbühne publishing house in East Berlin. From the USA, both Peter Jacobsohn and Budzislawski objected to the new establishment.

In the years after the war, the magazine also found many buyers in the western occupation zones. In the 1950s and 1960s, the world stage was therefore seen as a bridge to intellectual circles in the West, as well as an opportunity to influence these circles. In an application for the reissue of a license document in 1962 it was therefore stated:

“It should be particularly emphasized that, for these reasons, influencing the intelligentsia at home and abroad, and especially in West Germany, was seen and accepted as one of our tasks. The signatory of this application received a corresponding directive from the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany soon after the monetary union. "

When in doubt, the editorial team decided in favor of the current political requirements and against the tradition of the magazine, as can be seen from an internal characteristic from the mid-1950s:

“In the past - before 1933 - the world stage, especially under the direction of Carl v. Ossietzky's and Kurt Tucholsky's, unfortunately unreservedly paying homage to pacifist tendencies. Since our weekly magazine bears the name “Weltbühne” and also the name Carl v. Ossietzkys leads, it is important to use the nimbus of these names and the tradition of the world stage as far as possible for the progressive endeavors of today outlined at the beginning without slipping into unconditional pacifism: The world stage of 1954 supports the politics of the German Democratic Republic, which means that it naturally and consistently represents the efforts of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany without, for example, being externally recognizable as a party organ. "

"If the Weltbühne was always a bit more intellectual than other GDR magazines, it was basically true to the line," is the summary of Petra Kabus. However, at 170,000 copies, the edition reached an order of magnitude that exceeded that of the original Weltbühne by more than ten times.

From 1967 to 1971 Budzislawski acted again as publisher and editor-in-chief of the Weltbühne . From December 1989 until the paper was discontinued in July 1993, Helmut Reinhardt took on these two tasks. The magazine also had to be discontinued because Peter Jacobsohn asserted the rights to the magazine title after reunification . However , Jacobsohn lost an initial trial before the Frankfurt am Main regional court . The meanwhile owner of the publishing house, Bernd F. Lunkewitz , tried to reach an out-of-court settlement with Jacobsohn in the subsequent appeal proceedings before the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court . Since this agreement failed, he discontinued the high-deficit magazine on July 6, 1993. His reason:

“However, I don't want to argue with Mr. Peter Jacobsohn, heir to the publisher's founder. He was racially persecuted in Germany, dispossessed and had to emigrate. In order to save the company, I had offered it to him for sale for DM 1. He refused. Then I proposed a settlement that should reconcile the morally sound solution of Mr. Jacobsohn's claims and the interests of the readers and staff of the magazine. (...) He decided not to take the publisher, but only the title rights, so the magazine can no longer appear. "

The Weltbühne publishing house had fully recognized Jacobsohn's claims as an advance payment for the settlement, which was no longer reversed. Editor Helmut Reinhardt had assumed until the end that the trial would be won before the Higher Regional Court. The editors of the paper were therefore completely surprised by Lunkewitz's unauthorized action and added their own statement to his statement:

"The ensemble of the Weltbühne stands stunned at the ramp, takes off their hats, bows to the loyal audience and explains: We can't think of anything else to do with this nasty game!"

By acknowledging the claim , it was never legally clarified whether the title rights had actually been granted to the Jacobsohn heirs. Although Jacobsohn secured the title rights in the meantime, these were never used afterwards. This is not permanently compatible with securing trademark rights (see: Term of protection in trademark law )

In August 1993 Lunkewitz finally sold the publisher and its subscriber list to Peter Großhaus, who at that time also published the former FDJ newspaper Junge Welt . In December 1993 the publisher changed hands again and was renamed Webe Verlag und Beteiligungsgesellschaft. Three years later, in November 1996, Titanic publisher Erik Weihönig bought the publishing house. On November 29, 2001, the weave was finally deleted from the commercial register.

Two resuscitation attempts in 1997

In 1997 resuscitation attempts were made both in Berlin and in Hanover . Both groups of authors shied away from a legal dispute over the right to the name Weltbühne . Not only Peter Jacobsohn, but also the new owners of the former Weltbühne-Verlag wanted to stop the use of the name. The project from Hanover was therefore called Ossietzky and is published by the publisher of the same name. The editorial team moved from Hanover to Berlin in 2000. The editor is Eckart Spoo , formerly a correspondent for the Frankfurter Rundschau . The East Berlin Zwillingsblatt took on the editorial nickname of the original world stage Das Blättchen and was published as a printed edition by a circle around Jörn Schütrumpf until September 2009 . Das Blättchen has been published as a purely online magazine since 2010 .

Reception and effect

The fact that the Weltbühne was able to develop such a great effect despite its small number of copies can only be explained by the person of Siegfried Jacobsohn. Over a period of two decades he had succeeded in binding important representatives of the intellectual left to his newspaper and in ensuring consistently high quality of the texts. "The man was the most ideal editor our generation has seen," wrote Tucholsky after Jacobsohn's unexpected death in December 1926. In contrast to Karl Kraus ' Fackel and Maximilian Harden's future , however, the editor's texts did not dominate the Weltbühne from the start . Jacobsohn always saw himself as the “director of a printed stage”, as he wrote in a letter in May 1905.

The small number of copies does not contradict, but can rather serve as a justification for the special position of the world stage . In contrast to larger papers, Jacobsohn did not have to take into account the interests of the publisher, party or advertising. Jacobsohn also cared little about the demands of his readers. “You only have one right: not to read my sheet,” Tucholsky quoted his mentor's credo several times. A characteristic of this was an answer that Jacobsohn gave to a reader towards the end of the First World War :

" Quiet . Are you complaining about the tone of my paper? I know a sure way to do this: free me from your readership, and do so as quickly as possible. (...) But if the mess should ever end, and should I experience this end, a sound will be whistled here, a little sound that will make you lose sight of and hearing. "

- "Answers", in: Die Weltbühne , October 21, 1918, p. 424.

This independence was also one reason why an author like Tucholsky, despite the not exactly lavish fee, kept coming back to the world stage and published texts there that he was unable to include in bourgeois newspapers such as the Vossische Zeitung or the Berliner Tageblatt . One result of the radicalism were allegations that the paper had to put up with at the beginning of 1919 and which Tucholsky then summarized as follows:

“We employees of the 'Weltbühne' are accused of saying no to everything and not being positive enough. We refused and only criticized and even soiled our own German nest. And we fought - and that was the worst - hatred with hate, violence with violence, fist with fist. "

- Kurt Tucholsky: "We Negatives", in: Die Weltbühne , March 13, 1919, p. 279

The background to this criticism was probably that the world stage in the Weimar Republic could not be tied to a particular party-political position from the start and none of the parties saw their ideas of a democratic and social Germany realized. Up until the end of the Weimar Republic, the SPD in particular had to be held responsible for betraying the ideals of the November Revolution and not having broken energetically enough with the traditions of the empire.

The radicalism and openness of the world stage positions were, however, at the same time a reason why they were perceived very attentively within journalism and politics. This readership of the paper thus fulfilled a multiplier function and ensured that the Weltbühne positions were disseminated in other papers, even if they were often shortened and falsified. “The 'world stage' has always had two weighty opposing poles: the parties and the big press,” said Tucholsky in “Twenty-five Years”.

The following answer , which reflects the criticism of a social democratic newspaper on the world stage , is characteristic of the reception and impact of the world stage as well as the tone and content of the debates at that time:

Volksblatt for Halle. You were annoyed with us and now write: “In the 'Weltbühne', which calls itself the“ Wochenschrift für Politik, Kunst, Wirtschaft ”a certain Carl von Ossietzky polemics against the Kiel party congress. Although he feels compelled to assert that the party cannot be shaken, he calls it unspiritual out of revenge. Even if we do not take the individualistic-anarchistic coffee-house literacy that is spreading in this magazine for politics, it is nevertheless important to occasionally draw attention to the accusations against everyone and everything that are spreading there as a result of astonishing intellectual indecency Strangely enough, the sheet is also read here and there in a circle of organized people. The democratic member of the Reichstag, Erkelenz, recently characterized “Die Weltbühne” very correctly when he wrote: Whatever kind of men may rule in Germany at any given time, in the shortest possible time, regardless of the party, they will be so tired of the “Weltbühne” made sure that no dog takes a piece of bread from them. The introduction to the following article. ”But the following article begins:“ The Social Democrats as the greatest intellectual movement of our time… ”There is nothing you can do about that.”

- "Answers", in: Die Weltbühne , June 7, 1927, p. 920

Despite this constant criticism of the SPD, it was always clear to the world stage that the real enemies of the republic were to be found on the other side of the political spectrum. In a poem by Tucholsky at the end of 1919 it was said:

“Now I get up. I know:
after that tiny, great time
, this is the verdict of the sexes:
The enemy is on the right! The enemy is on the right! "

- Kaspar Hauser: "Morgenpost", in: Die Weltbühne , November 27, 1919, p. 674

The paper therefore did not shy away from calling on readers to stop spending their vacation in Bavaria in protest against the anti-Jewish policies of the Kahr government . The campaign “Travelers, Avoid Bavaria!” Made waves, as the following reaction of his satirical role model , which was marked by extreme anti - Semitism , shows in an editorial:

“Travelers, avoid Bavaria! That is the inscription of a Schmotzes, which wrote the Chaim Wrobel, alias Teiteles Tucholsky, alias Isak Achselduft, in the "Weltbühne" in the Spreestadt Berlin. Like all new Berliners, he is from Krotoschin in Galicia, where you scratch your buttocks with your left hand and dig your nos with your right hand. (…) In Berlin Teiteles can write that the “Kahr government is ridiculous”, but if he comes down to us and says something like that, he gets old Bavarian cunts that the whipped cream is turned into butter. That’s a secret that we’re going to tell Teiteles. "

- Anonymous ( Ludwig Thoma ) in: Miesbacher Anzeiger , February 2, 1921

The world stage was not only closely followed and attacked by representatives of the radical political right, but also admired for its conception and language level. The nationalist Franz Schauwecker wrote to Ernst Jünger in January 1926 :

“Don't you know the 'world stage'? U. the very similar 'diary'? Then I strongly advise you to read these two small, excellently managed weeklies of the left-wing democracy. Urgently!"

- Quoted from: Ulrich Fröschle: "Stefanie Oswalt: Siegfried Jacobsohn (rec.)", In: Wirkendes Wort , No. 3, December 2000, pp. 463–466, here: p. 463

In fact, the Weltbühne seems to have served as a model for some nationalist papers.

Also noteworthy is a statement by the young conservative journalist Heinrich von Gleichen-Rußwurm , who combined his criticism of the attitude of the world stage with a sharp disapproval of anti-Semitic rabble:

“We refuse to defame the authors we fight as Jews. We reject this not only because we reject the anti-Semitic agitation as morally unclean and politically unwise. Rather, we believe that we should not be allowed to raise the racial objection to the authors of the 'Weltbühne' because it is quite obvious that their standpoint, chosen beyond all racial struggles, is also taken by members of all races, is a standpoint outside of any responsibility and It is precisely this irresponsibility, which, by the way, Judaism never forgives its racial members, and which is also the object of our criticism. In addition, the authors of the 'Weltbühne' deny us the easier option which the second set of this gender offers, namely the possibility of doing it by pointing out their linguistic inability, in short their 'muddling'; the Peter Panter, Theobald Tiger - alias Kurt Tucholsky - but also the Weinert and Kaminski mumble at most in excitement; otherwise they write a German that we would like to wish the National Socialist press chiefs and study councils with the faculties for German studies. "

- “Kulturbolschewisten”, in: Der Ring , October 30, 1931, p. 830 f., Here: p. 830

The above-cited assessment by the Reichstag representative Anton Erkelenz can also be found in a similar form in texts that deal with the world stage from a historical perspective . Rudolf Augstein criticized the paper's exaggerated demands on politicians:

“In their intellectual and formal aesthetic area, the protagonists of the“ world stage ”were personalities, undoubtedly. But that seduced them to an exaggerated search for personality in the political arena, where the facts are known not to be made of ethereal material. A ruling Social Democrat always had the advantage of failing as a personality. He was then called, for example, "Fountain pen owner Hermann Müller". "

- Rudolf Augstein : “A republic and its magazine”, in: Der Spiegel , 1978, 42, pp. 239–249, here p. 249

However, the Weltbühne cannot be accused of acting from a purely idealistic and aesthetic point of view, without worrying about uncovering specific grievances. So Jacobsohn took a high personal risk when he published the reports on female murders within the patriotic associations in 1925. According Ossietzkys Jacob son shall it his most important journalistic power saw: "And if I had done nothing but uncovering the political assassinations, so I would be enough ..." The response of the national government to the revelations that the world stage process led, showed very clearly that as early as 1929 there was little left of the state that the world stage would have wanted to defend.

And a passage from a letter from Tucholsky to Walter Hasenclever of May 17, 1933 reads like an anticipated answer to the critics of the post-war period:

“I'm slowly going megalomaniac - when I read how I ruined Germany. But for twenty years the same thing has always pained me: that I couldn't get a policeman off his post either. "

- Kurt Tucholsky: Political Letters , Reinbek 1969, p. 24

Judge the world stage

“The 'Weltbühne' is a grandstand in which the entire German left has a say in the broadest sense of the word; we demand clarity, personal cleanliness and good style from our employees. Whether or not this principle is correct is another question; So I took over the sheet from my late teacher Siegfried Jacobsohn and so I passed it on to Carl von Ossietzky, who never deviated from this direction by a finger. The 'Weltbühne' consciously renounces rigid dogma; we have discussions. "

- Kurt Tucholsky: “The role of the intellectual in the party”, in: Die Front , 1929, No. 9, p. 250

“Over the years, the 'Weltbühne' has often found the sharpest and harshest formulations for German affairs. For this she had to accept the accusation of betrayal from the right and that of the irresponsible criticism of aesthetics from the left. The 'world stage' will continue to say what it deems necessary; it will remain as independent as before, it will be as polite or cheeky as the subject in question requires. Even in this country that is trembling under the elephant footsteps of fascism, she will retain the courage to express her own opinion. "

- Carl von Ossietzky: “Accountability”, in: Die Weltbühne , May 10, 1932, p. 692

“The left-wing radical journalists such as Kästner, Mehring or Tucholsky are the proletarian mimicry of the disintegrated bourgeoisie . From a political point of view, their function is not parties but cliques, from a literary point of view, not schools but fashions, from an economic point of view, not producers but agents. For fifteen years, this left intelligentsia has been the agent of all intellectual booms, from activism to expressionism to the new objectivity . Their political significance, however, was exhausted with the implementation of revolutionary reflexes, insofar as they appeared in the bourgeoisie, in objects of diversion and amusement that could be directed towards consumption . "

- Walter Benjamin : "Linke Melancholie", in: Die Gesellschaft 8 (1931), Vol. 1, pp. 181-184

“The NSDAP fought day after day against the 'Weltbühne' and especially against Tucholsky . Tucholsky was a parable for the entire Jewish shamelessness and impudence of the November Republic . "

- Alfred Rosenberg in a letter of January 7, 1937 to Robert Ley . Quoted from: Léon Poliakow, Josef Wulf: The Third Reich and its thinkers. Berlin 1959. Reprint Munich 1978, p. 42

“The lack of tradition of many subjectively convinced democrats is shown by the fact that they for their part made this supposedly exclusively 'Western' character of democracy the basis of their propaganda, their anti-Germanism, their enthusiasm for Western democracy tactlessly and untactically in the foreground and thus in the reaction unintentionally helped their anti-democratic legends. (This ideology is most clearly visible in the circle of the world stage at that time.) "

- Georg Lukács : The Destruction of Reason . Berlin 1954

“The 'Weltbühne' has to reckon with the grave diggers of the Weimar Republic, no mistaking it helps (...). The metaphor 'gravedigger', as it is still in vogue today, needs to be corrected. In the rarest of cases, it is the gravedigger who brings a corpse to death. Rather, they put the corpse, the already dead, underground. (...)
I have no reservations about calling the 'Weltbühne' the most typical periodical production for the Weimar state, even if more than 15,000 copies of this weekly were never printed. "

- Rudolf Augstein : "A republic and its magazine", in: Der Spiegel , 1978, 42, pp. 239–249 (see web links )

“Every democracy must also be able to tolerate radical journalistic criticism. But the ethics of responsibility of democratic journalists must not allow them to cross the line to state hostility in principle. In his own way, Carl v. With the Weltbühne, however, Ossietzky contributed to weakening the deeply battered republic even further, and even actively discredited it through his criticism from the left, without giving any pardon. From the left world stage went, v. Ossietzky also believe that they will always fight for the republic, ultimately a destructive effect from (...). "

- Hans-Ulrich Wehler : “Leopold Schwarzschild versus Carl v. Ossietzky. Political reason for the defense of the republic against ultra-left 'system criticism' and popular front illusions ”, in: Ders .: Prussia is chic again ... Politics and polemics in twenty essays. Frankfurt a. M. 1983, pp. 77-83

Editorial data

The Schaubühne first appeared in the Schaubühne GmbH, which was founded on August 1, 1905 especially for this purpose. In January 1906 the newly founded publishing house Oesterheld & Co. took over the magazine. From January 1, 1909 to October 1, 1912, the Schaubühne was published by Erich Reiss . After that, the magazine was published by Jacobsohn's Verlag der Schaubühne until it was banned in 1933 (converted into Verlag der Weltbühne in 1918). The magazine's financial situation was rather precarious until the mid-twenties. In addition, Jacobsohn suffered high losses due to unsuccessful book editions of texts by his authors, which he had to cover with the income from his magazine.

The show and world stage almost completely dispensed with photographs and illustrations. Only in some editions of the Schaubühne can you find representations of stage technology. The advertisements on the Weltbühne were mainly limited to book advertisements. In a 1930 edition, which comprises 36 editorial pages, there are twelve pages of book advertisements and one page of classifieds.

year Publisher / Editor-in-Chief Edition Editorial office (Berlin) Scope (editorial) Price per issue
1905 Siegfried Jacobsohn 1,200 Hollmannstrasse 10 approx. 26 pages 20 Pf.
1906 from February 1, 1906:
Lietzenburger Strasse  60
20 to 50 pfennigs
1912 from October 1, 1912:
Dernburgstr. 25th
1913 50 Pf.
1918 60 Pf.
1919 1,200 to approx. 8,000 1 M.
1920 approx. 30 pages 1.50 M.
1921 from March 1921:
Königsweg  33
2.50 M.
1922 4 sts to 50 sts
1923 150 M to 350 billion M
1924 approx. 36 pages 0.35 to 0.50 Rentenmarks
1925 approx. 9,000 to 12,000 0.50 RM
1926 from December 3rd: Kurt Tucholsky
ViSdP i. V .: Carl von Ossietzky
12,600 0.60 RM
1927 from January 25, 1927: ViSdP: Carl von Ossietzky
from October 11, 1927: "With the cooperation of Kurt Tucholsky, directed by Carl v. Ossietzky"
approx. 15,000 from April 1927:
Kantstrasse  152
1932 from May: Hellmut von Gerlach
ViSdP: Walther Karsch
1933 Carl von Ossietzky,
from March: Walther Karsch

Known and important employees (1905–1933)

Self-advertisement of the Weltbühne from 1929
Self-advertisement of the Neue Weltbühne from 1935
  • Name (collaboration from - to, number of articles)
Fero (1905-1923, 27)
Karl Knerz (1931, 2)
Cunctator (1915, 7)
Germanicus (1916-1918, 117)
Ulrich Schweitzer (1933, 1)
Johannes Fischart (1918–1926, 128)
Conrad shoulder (1926, 1)
JL Wetcheek (1926-1927, 2)
Lorarius (1917-1918, 20)
Dr. Balduin (1905–1912, 2)
Heinz Jäger (1929, 2)
Olf (1918-1919, 32)
More (1921-1931, 389)
Celsus (1927-1933, 31)
Thomas Murner (1932, 9)
Lucius Schierling (1927–1928, 16)
KL Gerstorff (1930-1933, 57)
Thomas Tarn (1931-1933, 18)
Paulus Bünzly (1915–1922, 2)
Kaspar Hauser (1918–1932, 183)
Theobald Körner (1926, 1)
Old Shatterhand (1927-1929, 2)
Peter Panter (1913–1933, 525)
Theobald Tiger (1913–1932, 405)
Ignaz Wrobel (1913-1932, 449)

See also



  • The Schaubühne. Complete reprint of the years 1905–1918. Athenäum Verlag , Königstein / Ts. 1978-1980
  • The world stage. Complete reprint of the years 1918–1933. Athenäum Verlag, Königstein / Ts. 1978.
  • The Vienna world stage. Reprint of the original edition. 1st year 1932 . oA
  • The new world stage. Reprint of the original edition. 2nd year of the Wiener Weltbühne, 1st half of 1933 . oA
  • The new world stage. Reprint of the original edition Prague / Paris 4 / 1933–8 / 1939 . Munich / London / New York / Paris 1992.

Editorial correspondence

  • Dietger Pforte (Ed.): Colored signal signs that can be seen from afar. The correspondence between Carl von Ossietzky and Kurt Tucholsky from 1932. Akademie der Künste, Berlin 1985, on the occasion of the exhibition "Germany -? Silence and passing" Kurt Tucholsky in d. Emigration 1929–1935, Akad. D. Künste, December 21, 1985 to February 9, 1986, with an afterword by Pforte
  • Siegfried Jacobsohn: "the best employer for the worst employee". Letters to Kurt Tucholsky 1915–1926. Edited by Richard von Soldenhoff. Munich / Hamburg 1989, ISBN 3-8135-1758-6 .

Secondary literature

István Deák Weimar Germany's left-wing intellectuals 1968 title.jpg
  • Joachim Bergmann: The Schaubühne - Die Weltbühne 1905–1933, bibliography and index with annotations. Saur, Munich 1991, ISBN 3-598-10831-1 .
  • Istvan Deak : Weimar Germany's Left-Wing Intellectuals. A Political History of the Weltbühne and its Circle . Berkley, Los Angeles 1968.
  • Alf Enseling: Die Weltbühne, organ of the intellectual left. Fahle, Münster 1962.
  • Axel Eggebrecht , Dietrich Pinkerneil: The drama of the republic. Two essays on the reprint of the Weltbühne . Athenaeum, Königstein 1979, ISBN 3-7610-9302-0 .
  • Alexander Gallus : home to the world stage. A history of intellectuals in the 20th century . Wallstein, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8353-1117-6 .
  • Friedhelm Greis, Stefanie Oswalt (ed.): Make Germany out of Germany. A political reader on the “world stage” . Lukas, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86732-026-9 ( extensive website ).
  • WB van der Grijn Santen: The World Stage and Judaism, a study of the relationship between the weekly Die Weltbühne and Judaism, mainly concerning the years 1918-1926. Königshausen and Neumann, Würzburg 1994, ISBN 3-88479-953-3 . Read online at google books
  • Heidemarie Hecht: From the "Schaubühne" to the "Weltbühne". The process of creating a political magazine. Dissertation at the University of Jena in 1991.
  • Philipp Heyde: “Die Weltbühne”: A small, radical anger and lust brevier. in: Back then. 5.1993, pp. 64-68.
  • Elmar Holly: Die Weltbühne 1918–1933: a register of all authors and contributions. Introduction Bernd Sösemann + Elmar Holly, Colloquium, Berlin 1989, ISBN 3-7678-0749-1 .
  • Ann-Katrin Silke Horst: A neglected aspect of Berlin's press history. The journalists of the magazine 'Die Weltbühne' in the Weimar Republic. Master's thesis at the University of Munich in 1998.
  • Siegfried Jacobsohn: The Jacobsohn case. Schaubühne publishing house, Charlottenburg 1913.
  • Dieter Lang: State, law and justice in the commentary of the magazine Die Weltbühne. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-631-30376-9
  • Ursula Madrasch-Groschopp: The world stage. Portrait of a magazine. Book publisher Der Morgen, Berlin 1983, Bechtermünz im Weltbild Verlag, Augsburg 1999 (repr.). ISBN 3-8289-0337-1 .
  • Gunther Nickel: The Schaubühne - The World Stage, Siegfried Jacobsohn's weekly and its aesthetic program. Westdeutscher Verlag, Opladen 1996, ISBN 3-531-12810-8 .
  • Stefanie Oswalt: Siegfried Jacobsohn. A life for the world stage. Bleicher Verlag, Gerlingen 2 2001, ISBN 3-88350-665-6 .
  • Oswalt, Stefanie (Ed.): The world stage, on the tradition and continuity of democratic journalism. Röhrig, St. Ingbert 2003, ISBN 3-86110-336-2 .
  • Peter Queckbörner: "Between madness and despair". On the expanded concept of culture in the magazine Die Schaubühne / Die Weltbühne in the First World War. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2000, ISBN 3-631-35701-X .
  • Elke Suhr: Two paths, one goal - Tucholsky, Ossietzky and Die Weltbühne. Weisman, Munich 1986, ISBN 3-88897-026-1 .
  • Toralf Teuber: A strategist in exile. Hermann Budzislawski and “The New World Stage”. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2004, ISBN 3-631-52742-X .

Web links

Commons : The world stage  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Die Weltbühne  - Sources and full texts
Wikisource: Directory of digital copies  - sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Hans-Albert Walter : German Exile Literature - Exile Press. Stuttgart 1972, ISBN 3-476-00385-X . S. VI.
  2. Alexander Gallus: Heimat Weltbühne. A history of intellectuals in the 20th century . Wallstein, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8353-1117-6 . P. 212.
  3. Alexander Gallus: Heimat Weltbühne. A history of intellectuals in the 20th century . Wallstein, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-8353-1117-6 . P. 221.
  4. Quoted from: Petra Kabus : "Would Tucholsky have written for the GDR world stage?" In: Stefanie Oswalt (Ed.): Die Weltbühne: on the tradition and continuity of democratic journalism. St. Ingbert 2003, p. 216
  5. Quoted from: Petra Kabus: "Would Tucholsky have written for the GDR world stage?" In: Stefanie Oswalt (Ed.): Die Weltbühne: on the tradition and continuity of democratic journalism. St. Ingbert 2003, p. 220
  6. Die Weltbühne , July 6, 1993, p. 833.
  7. Captain, we're sinking - brand one online. Retrieved November 6, 2020 .
  8. KTG circular August 2003
  9. Helmut Herbst: Profiled. To the Marbach Tucholsky exhibition. In: Karl H. Pressler (Ed.): From the Antiquariat. Volume 8, 1990 (= Börsenblatt für den Deutschen Buchhandel - Frankfurter Ausgabe. No. 70, August 31, 1990), pp. A 334 - A 340, here: p. A 336.
  10. ^ Joachim Bergmann: The Schaubühne - Die Weltbühne 1905–1933, bibliography and index with annotations. Saur, Munich 1991, and other sources
  11. ↑ on this numerous under a pseudonym, see serial no.74
  12. This attribution is controversial in research. In the Tucholsky Complete Edition, for example, the two texts are not included.
  13. Karl – Heinz Janßen , Die Zeit June 30, 1978: A reprint of a former liberal republican combat sheet is back on the market - the "Weltbühne". Out of the left corner. The magazine of Ossietzky, Jacobsohn, Tucholsky - a German history book