'Leipziger Illustrirte Zeitung'

Germany's Leading Newsmagazine


The 'Leipziger Illustrirte Zeitung' (the Leipziger Illustrated Newspaper - not to be confused with the 'Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung') was one of Germany's most prestigidous weekly news magazines and also one of its most expensive. Priced at 1 mark a piece, it was about 8 to 10 times more costly than other illustrated weeklies. For that price however one received a lavishly printed, large sized, glossy papered publication, quite often with large-sized color reproductions of paintings, watercolors and illustrations, most usually having to do with some aspect of the war during the years.

In appearance, style, size and layout it was quite similar to the French news weekly 'Illustration' and British publications such as 'the Illustrated London News', 'the Sphere' and 'the Graphic'. The magazine was published simultaneoulsy in Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Budapest and New York, the contents being more or less the same except for local advertising. When the United States entered the war on the Allied side, New York publication ceased. Although a long existing magazine, once war broke out the 'Illustrirte Zeitung' began renumbering with 'war-issues' and republishing the more successful issues. The publishers also launched a serial history publication called 'Illustrierte Weltkriegschronik', which used illustrative material originally published in the 'Illustrirte Zeitung' with a narative text written by author Paul Schreckenbach. After the war, this serial publication was condensed and republished as a three volume set called 'der Weltbrand'.

News in the 'Leipziger illustrirte' was of course tailored to fit the interests of German and Austro-Hungarian readers and therefore a large porportion of photos and articles was devoted to news of events on the Eastern Front. Fighting, combat and destruction was not the usual subject matter though, for much like the majority of German publications, the 'Leiziger Illustrite' preferred to print scenes of life behind the front-lines or of cozy, comfortable and safe trench dwellings and shelters, with smiling, contented soldiers, as if they were out on a camping holiday and roughing it up in neighboring France or Russia.

Apart from war news, which naturally enough featured predominately in the magazine during 1914-1919, publication of other subjects such as art exhibitions, cultural events (with or without royalty), the latest in women's fashions, travelogues and the serialization of popular novels was continued.

The 'Illustrirte Zeitung' relied heavily on drawings and illustrations, more so than its Allied counterparts. Felix Schwormstaedt and Richard Axmann, among many others were regular contributors, both artists specializing in illustrating news events and battle scenes in a realistic fashion, much like the British employed artist Fortunino Matania, or the French illustrators J. Simont and L. Sabattier. 'The 'Leipziger illustrirte' also honored its illustrators in the field by regularly publishing photos and short bios, attesting that such work was much appreciated by the readers.

By war's end in 1918, the magazine was somewhat diminished in size, though not in appearance. Many covers were still published in full color, glossy, thick stock paper was still used and the number of illustrations was hardly diminished in proportion to its size.

see a French propaganda article on the 'Leipziger Illustrirte Zeitung' : Les Revues Allemandes

left : a coverpage showing the defense of Tsing-Tao
right : a German soldier in the Balkans


advertisement for binding covers and reprints of war-issues of the 'Illustrirte Zeitung'

see also a collection of illustrations from the 'Illustrirte Zeitung'



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