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The Ullstein Verlag was founded by Leopold Ullstein in 1877 at Berlin and is one of the largest publishing companies of Germany. It published newspapers like B.Z. and Berliner Morgenpost and books through its subsidiaries Ullstein Buchverlage and Propyläen.
The newspaper publishing branch was taken over by Axel Springer AG in 1956.
On 14 July 1877 Leopold Ullstein purchased the Neue Berliner Tageblatt newspaper, a subsidiary of the liberal Berliner Tageblatt published by Rudolf Mosse, and on 1 January 1878 converted it into the Berliner Zeitung (B.Z.). In 1894 he also acquired the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung weekly, which as technology advanced and permitted heavy use of photographs, became the most successful picture paper in Germany. The B.Z. am Mittag, relaunched in 1904, became Germany's first tabloid newspaper. On the other hand, Ullstein's sons on 1 January 1914 acquired the reputable Vossische Zeitung, a liberal newspaper with a tradition dating back to 1617, while the left-wing Berliner Morgenpost established in 1898 reached a high number of subscribers. From 1927 Ullstein also published Die Grüne Post weekly newspaper under chief editor Ehm Welk.
In 1919 the Propyläen Verlag (cf. Propylaea) was founded as an imprint for non-fiction books especially on history and art history as well as classical editions, but also for novels like Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front first published in 1929. The number of authors working for Ullstein also included Vicki Baum and Franz Blei.
Between 1925 and 1927 the Ullstein Verlag had the new Ullsteinhaus print building erected in Berlin-Tempelhof, with a height of 76 m (249 ft) a "Brick Expressionist" landmark with a bronze sculpture of the "Ullstein Owl" by Fritz Klimsch. In 1934 the Jewish Ullstein family was disseized by the Nazi authorities and the business "aryanized". In 1937 the company was renamed Deutscher Verlag, affiliated with the Franz Eher Nachfolger publishing house of the Nazi Party and editing the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, as well as Das Reich and the Signal magazine from 1940 until the end of World War II.
After the war the publishing house was restored to the Ullstein family, but soon came into financial problems. In 1956 a share of 26% was purchased by Axel Springer, who reached the majority by 1960. Under Springer the remaining West Berlin newspapers Berliner Morgenpost and B.Z. shifted towards a right-wing alignment with a distinct anticommunist stance. The Ullstein book-publishing house was sold to Random House in 2003. The sale, which was subject to the agreement of the Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office), was only approved in part. The Heyne, Südwest and Diana publishing houses became part of Random House, and the remainder of the Ullstein group (Ullstein, Claassen, Econ, List, Marion von Schröder und Propyläen) was sold on to the Bonnier Group.
- Lynda J. King (1 January 1988). Best-sellers by Design: Vicki Baum and the House of Ullstein. Wayne State University Press. p. 50. ISBN 0-8143-2000-7. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
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