Forward (Germany)

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Forward: The newspaper of the German Social Democrats
Title page of Forward dated October 1, 1876
description Party newspaper
publishing company Berliner vorwärts Verlagsgesellschaft (Germany)
Headquarters Berlin
First edition October 1, 1876
founder Wilhelm Liebknecht and Wilhelm Hasenclever
Frequency of publication bi-monthly
Widespread edition 361,966 copies
( Media data forward )
Range 0.8 million readers
( Media data forward )
Editor-in-chief Karin Nink
editor Lars Klingbeil
Web link
ISSN (print)

The Vorwärts is a newspaper founded in 1876 ​​as the " Central Organ of Social Democracy in Germany" . Up to the present day the forward is part of the newspaper of the Social Democratic Party of Germany .


Foundation and first setbacks

The first edition of the newspaper, which was founded in Leipzig as the central organ of the Socialist Workers' Party in Germany , appeared on October 1, 1876 and replaced the previous party newspapers Der Volksstaat and Neuer Social-Demokratie . The forward (Subtitles Central Organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany ) was published under the direction of Wilhelm Liebknecht , and Wilhelm Hasenclever initially three times a week.

From January 3, 1877 to July 7, 1878, a series of articles by Friedrich Engels were published, which were later published collectively as the Anti-Dühring and are considered to be one of the most important and best-known works of Marxism .

As a result of the Socialist Law , the Vorwärts had to cease publication on October 26, 1878; it appeared illegally in Zurich in 1879 under the title Der Sozialdemokrat .

On January 1, 1891, the year after the Socialist Act was repealed, the newspaper was re-established in Berlin under the title Vorwärts - Berliner Volkszeitung, Central Organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and now served as the central organ of the SPD, which became the Socialist Workers' Party in 1890 had been renamed. Editor-in-chief was again, and until his death in 1900, Wilhelm Liebknecht. The forward now appeared as a daily newspaper. In 1895 Vorwärts published the private, so-called pyre letter (dated August 14, 1888) from court preacher Adolf Stoecker to the editor-in-chief of the Kreuzzeitung Wilhelm Joachim von Hammerstein , in which targeted intrigues were submitted to overthrow Bismarck . In 1902, Vorwärts Friedrich denounced Alfred Krupp as homosexual, allegedly in order to attack paragraph 175 of the time . The latter is unbelievable, as Krupp is described in an article from November 15, 1902 as “perverse”. This publication earned the editors around Kurt Eisner severe criticism from within the party.

Eisner was his successor from 1900 - previously recruited by Liebknecht himself - until he and other editors came into conflict with the official line of the party executive and its press committee in 1905 because of their positions in the revisionism dispute and left Vorwärts .

In October 1902 the editorial team and the publishing house moved to the building at Lindenstrasse 3, where the headquarters of Vorwärts was located until 1933.

First World War and Revolution

From around 1910 Rudolf Hilferding headed the editorial office. He rejected the truce policy pursued by the party executive since the beginning of the war . The Vorwärts now undertook "a tightrope walk between independent reporting and adaptation to the censorship regulations". When 20 members of the Reichstag of the SPD distanced themselves from the “war policy” in a declaration in December 1915, the party organ adopted this position. As in Eisner's time, it was in opposition on this point to the majority of its own party and its parliamentary group in the Reichstag. This situation ended in 1916 when the party executive assigned Friedrich Stampfer to the editorial team as controller. Shortly afterwards, on November 9, 1916, Stampfer became editor-in-chief. Hilferding was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army in 1915. This direct influence of the party executive on the content orientation and personnel composition of the editorial team caused a stir far beyond Berlin as a "forward robbery". It was not only explosive that a number of critical editors such as Ernst Däumig had now been dismissed. In addition, the military commander of Berlin had also participated. As a result, the newspaper lost a considerable number of its Berlin readers.

After the end of the war, Stampfer took a militant, pro-parliamentary course; The Vorwärts supported the election of the constituent German National Assembly and fought against the aims and methods of the Spartakusbund , whose January uprising in 1919 also had the editorial and publishing buildings in Lindenstrasse 3 of the newspaper, which now appears several times a day, as the scene. There are six extra issues on November 7, 1918. On January 10th, the Potsdam Freikorps stormed the building to end the communist occupation. Stampfer remained editor-in-chief until 1933 , with a brief interruption in protest against the signing of the Versailles Treaty , and also in Karlsbad during the subsequent emigration phase .

Shortly after the National Socialists came to power , Vorwärts was banned like numerous other newspapers. The last edition for the time being appeared on February 28, 1933 with the lead story "Riesenbrand im Reichstag".

The Forward in Exile

As early as June 18, 1933, the party executive, who had fled into exile in Prague , published a weekly newspaper under the title Neuer Vorwärts . Because of the growing pressure from the National Socialists on the Czechoslovak government, the headquarters of the editorial office was relocated to Paris in 1938 , where the Neue Vorwärts was published until the German troops marched in in May 1940.


The first edition after the war appeared on September 11, 1948, now again as the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, albeit not under the old title Vorwärts, but under the name Neuer Vorwärts , which arose in exile . The old title appeared from April 9, 1946 with the subtitle "Berliner Volksblatt", initially as a daily newspaper of the so-called Organizational Committee for Greater Berlin of the SPD and KPD , which prepared the compulsory unification of the SPD and KPD to form the SED - after its completion as an evening newspaper of the Berlin SED -Bezirksleitung - and was then used from 1950 to 1958 for the Monday edition of New Germany . The actual newspaper has only been called Vorwärts since January 1, 1955. With this renaming, it also parted with the name Zentralorgan and henceforth was called the Social Democratic Weekly Newspaper . In the same year the headquarters of the editorial office was relocated to Bonn , and Josef Felder became editor-in-chief.

Change to membership newspaper and monthly newspaper for social democracy

The Vorwärts could no longer build on the successes of the pre-war and exile periods . As a result, a change in concept or even an attitude was repeatedly discussed. In 1976 a new format was used, and in 1986 the Vorwärts was fundamentally converted into a magazine . But the changed editorial concept and the switch to the smaller format did not bring about any upswing either. On January 31, 1989, the SPD party executive decided to discontinue the weekly Vorwärts for cost reasons. But its editors and employees wanted to continue. In 1989, after the circulation had fallen below 50,000 copies for a long time, the weekly magazine came to an end: The Vorwärts was merged with the Social Democrat magazine to form a member magazine and was now published monthly under the title Vorwärts / Sozialdemokratisches Magazin .

In 1994 Vorwärts, which as a member magazine had a circulation of over 800,000 copies, was again fundamentally revised. The concept of the publisher Jens Berendsen and the journalist Frank Suplie , both from Elmshorn , still provided for a monthly publication, but again in newspaper format and with a more modern, colorful presentation. The new concept was successful. The number of readers rose within three years from 0.8 to 1.2 million readers per issue, and the advertising business also increased. Frank Suplie ran the publishing house until shortly before his fatal accident in 2002. The newspaper's 125th anniversary fell during his time and he initiated the presentation of the newspaper's history in the form of a special section in Vorwärts .

Since January 2007 the newspaper has been available in a new form for 2.50 euros at selected kiosks under Uwe-Karsten Heye . In addition to content-related additions, in particular a large cultural section, the layout was also revised. The aim was to develop the newspaper from a free membership paper into an open forum for external authors with controversial opinions. In November 2006, the circulation was 515,000 copies. The aim of the new strategy was to gain new readers from among the sympathizers and voters in addition to the members. In February 2012 the circulation of the Vorwärts was only 455,436 copies.

Since 2015 the paper has only appeared six times a year.


The Vorwärts has lost circulation in recent years . Error in expression: Missing operand for> Error in expression: Missing operand for < Error in expression: Missing operand for = It is currently copies. This corresponds to a decrease in errors in the expression: Missing operand for - piece.

Development of the number of copies sold


In the time between Liebknecht's death and Stampfer's entry, there was officially no personal, but collective editorial management (s); Eisner, Hilferding and Ströbel are the de facto leading editors.

Editors at Vorwärts were, among many others, Georg Gradnauer , Rosa Luxemburg (for eight weeks), Ernst Däumig , Rudolf Wissell , Franz Klühs , Erich Kuttner , Friedrich Ebert (junior) , Ernst Reuter , Victor Schiff , Paul Löbe , Paul Hertz , Erich Rinner , Michael Scholing and Hartmut Urban; Kurt Tucholsky wrote as a freelancer .


  • Volker Schulze : Forward 1876–1933. In: H.-D. Fischer (Hrsg.): German newspapers from the 17th to the 20th century. Verlag Documentation, Pullach 1972, ISBN 3-7940-3602-6 , pp. 329-348.
  • Hermann Schueler: Despite all that. The forward chronicler of the other Germany. Berliner vorwärts Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86602-790-7 .
  • Jens Scholten: Between the market and party arguments. The corporate history of "Vorwärts" 1948-1989 , publications by the Institute for Social Movements , Series A, Representations, Volume 40, Bochum 2008, ISBN 978-3-89861-863-2
  • Axel Weipert: The Red Berlin. A history of the Berlin labor movement 1830–1934. Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-8305-3242-2 .
  • Andreas Karmers: Audio book for the edition of February 28, 1933. ISBN 978-3-9817439-0-6

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Franz Osterroth , Dieter Schuster : Chronicle of the German Social Democracy. JHW Dietz Nachf., Hannover 1963, p. 50. (2nd, revised and expanded edition 1975)
  2. Friedrich Engels: Mr. Eugen Dühring's upheaval in science .
  3. Theo Stammen , Gisela Riescher , Wilhelm Hofmann (ed.): Major works of political theory (= Kröner's pocket edition . Volume 379). Kröner, Stuttgart 1997, ISBN 3-520-37901-5 , pp. 137-140.
  4. ^ Franz Osterroth, Dieter Schuster: Chronicle of the German Social Democracy. JHW Dietz Nachf., Hanover 1963, p. 76.
  5. ^ Hermann Schueler: In spite of all this. The forward chronicler of the other Germany. Berlin 2006, p. 263 f .: “The waves of scandal shook the Reich. The Kaiser raced, because Krupp played a major role in his fleet plans [...] Mehring accused the central organ that Vorwärts had 'exposed the party to the extreme' with its 'stupid sensations' à la Krupp and Kaiserinsel. "See also Friedrich Alfred Krupp .
  6. ^ Franz Osterroth, Dieter Schuster: Chronicle of the German Social Democracy. JHW Dietz Nachf., Hanover 1963, p. 103.
  7. ^ William Smaldone: Rudolf Hilferding. Bonn 2000.
  8. On the events see Axel Weipert, Das Rote Berlin. A history of the Berlin labor movement 1830–1934 . Berlin 2013, p. 128 f.
  9. a b
  10. "Forward" until 1958 . In: New Germany . April 5, 2016, p. 18 .
  11. Media data ( Memento from February 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  12. according to IVW , ( details on )
  13. according to IVW , second quarter 2020 ( details and quarterly comparison on )
  14. according to IVW , fourth quarter in each case ( details on )
  15. JR Prüß u. a .: 1876–2001 writing history, shaping the future (125 years forwards), special section in Vorwärts from October 2001. -
    This is also the source for the names and periods listed. The article is no longer accessible on the web.
  16. cf. Hermann Schueler: Despite all that. The forward chronicler of the other Germany. Berliner vorwärts Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86602-790-7 , p. 270 f.
  17. ^ Hermann Schueler: In spite of all this. […], See #Literature , p. 555.
  18. ^ Hermann Schueler: In spite of all this. […], See #Literature , p. 556.
  19. ^ Hermann Schueler: In spite of all this. […], See #Literature , p. 557 f.
  20. ( Memento from January 19, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  21. ^ Hermann Schueler: In spite of all this. The forward chronicler of the other Germany. Berliner vorwärts Verlagsgesellschaft, Berlin 2006, ISBN 3-86602-790-7 , p. 271