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Der Spiegel

Der Spiegel (German for "The Mirror") is Germany's biggest and most influential weekly magazine, located in Hamburg, with a circulation of around 1 million per week.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Business
3 Editors-in-chief of Der Spiegel
4 References
5 External links


Initially founded October 14, 1946, in Hanover by the British occupation forces after the model of Time Magazine, the first issue (then still under the title Die Woche – "The Week") came out November 16, 1946. After some quarrel with the British supervisors, the magazine was eventually handed over to the Germans, and the first Spiegel was published under the control of editor-in-chief Rudolf Augstein on January 4, 1947, who remained the magazine's leading figure nearly until his death in 2002. The magazine moved to Hamburg in 1952.

The magazine has been called Sturmgeschütz der Demokratie (assault gun of democracy) since it uncovered a series of scandals in the 1950s and 1960s. Among those was the so-called Spiegel scandal in 1961 and 1962, during which Augstein was jailed for 103 days; this is today considered a landmark in the evolution of the freedom of the press in post-war Germany. Augstein wrote over 150 mostly furious commentaries against Konrad Adenauer's Germany, until 1967 under the pseudonym "Jens Daniel".

In 1987, the magazine revealed that Uwe Barschel, then minister president of Schleswig-Holstein, had spied on his political opponent during his reelection campaign; the scandal was dubbed Waterkantgate, after Watergate and the Low German word for "water shore", Waterkant. Afterwards, Barschel was found dead in a hotel room in Geneva under circumstances not entirely clear until today.


The circulation of Der Spiegel was around 65,000 at 1948, but crossed the 1 million threshold already in the 1970s. In 1994, after several failed attempts in the earlier decades, Spiegel lost its monopoly as the only serious German weekly, when Focus magazine was successfully launched, severely hurting the advertising business of the Spiegel (if not so much its circulation). The two would however eventually find a way of coexistence, and Spiegel has continued to be the leading investigative magazine in Germany, with its circulation oscillating around 1 million today.

Der Spiegel was owned by John Jahr and Augstein after 1950; the share of Jahr was taken by Richard Gruner in 1962. In 1969, Augstein bought out Gruner for 42 million Deutschmarks and became the sole owner; in 1971, Gruner & Jahr received a 25% share again. In 1973, Augstein restructured the company to make all employees part-owners, who participated in all generated profits, of a new "SPIEGEL Verlag Rudolf Augstein GmbH & Co. KG" company.[1]

The magazine started a television spin-off called "Spiegel TV" in 1988 on the private RTL and SAT.1 television stations, which continue to air today.

Editors-in-chief of Der Spiegel


  1. Article in German Financial Times

External links