It was founded in Hamburg in 1946 by the British occupying forces, aiming to provide a "quality newspaper" modelled on The Times. It originally carried news and British-viewpoint editorial content, but from 1947 it adpoted a policy of providing two leading articles on major questions, one British and one German. At its peak in the occupation period, it had a circulation of around a million.
The modern paper takes a self-described "liberal cosmopolitan" position in editing, but Die Welt is generally considered to be a conservative newspaper.
The average circulation of Die Welt is currently about 209,000 and the paper can be obtained in more than 130 countries. Daily regional editions appear in Berlin and Hamburg, and in 2002 the paper experimented with a Bavarian edition. A daily regional supplement also appears in Bremen. The main editorial office is in Berlin, in conjunction with the Berliner Morgenpost.
Die Welt is the flagship newspaper of the Axel Springer publishing group. Its leading competitors are the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the Frankfurter Rundschau. Financially, it has been a lossmaker for many years.
Die Welt was a founder member of the European Dailies Alliance (EDA), and has a longstanding co-operation with comparable daily newspapers from other countries, including the Daily Telegraph (UK), Le Figaro (France) and ABC (Spain).
The newspaper currently publishes a compact edition entitled Welt Kompakt, a 32-page cut-down version of the main broadsheet. Welt Kompakt has a fresher look and is targeted to a younger public. The paper does not appear on Sundays, but the linked publication Welt am Sonntag takes its place.
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