The "Rundschau" published its first issue on 1 August 1945 short after the end of World War II. It was the first newspaper published in the US sector in occupied Germany and the second newspaper in post-war Germany. The licence was handed over to the first team of editors consiting of Emil Carlebach, Hans Etzkorn, Wilhelm Karl Gerst, Otto Grossmann, Wilhelm Knothe, Paul Rodemann and Arno Rudert, a progressive thinktank of social democrats, political katholics and communists, who had spent years in the resistance and nazi concentration camps or in exile. With the upcoming of the cold war the american occupation authority forced all communist members of the editorial team to leave the paper two years later. Today the newspaper boasts a circulation of around 180,000.
On May 30, 2007 the "Rundschau" changed its format to the awardwinning smaller tabloid size (see link below).
In 2003, the paper had financial difficulties and was supported by a guarantee from the federal state of Hesse. In May 2004 the DDVG acquired ninety percent of the shares of the Druck-und Verlagshaus Frankfurt am Main (DUV). The social democrats emphasized, that they wanted to assure the future of one of the few left-liberal daily newspapers in Germany and asserted they would not exert influence on the articles. The social democrats also announced that they wanted to reduce their share to under fifty percent until 2006. In order to save the paper from insolvency, the DDVG soon drastically cut back expenditures. By means of dismissals and outsourcing, the number of employees shrank within the last three years from 1700 to 750.
Amid speculation on DDVG's complaints about too friendly articles on the new left party "Die Linke" and its plan to sell the majority of its shares (see article in the newspaper Junge Welt from August 30, 2007) Dr. Wolfgang Storz's term as editor-in-chief ended abruptly on May 16, 2006. The appointed next editor-in-chief was Dr. Uwe Vorkötter (effective July 1, 2006). Only a few days later, on July 18, 2007, the DDVG announced that it would sell 50 percent plus one share to the independent publishing company DuMont Schauberg based in Cologne, Germany. Today, DuMont Schauberg holds 50 percent plus one share, the DDVG owns 40 percent and the Karl-Gerold-Foundation holds 10 percent of the newspaper.
Emil Carlebach: "Zensur ohne Schere, Die Gründerjahre der 'Frankfurter Rundschau' 1945/47" (English: "Censorship without scissors, The founding years of the 'Frankfurter Rundschau' 1945/47". Frankfurt 1985, ISBN 3-87682-807-4
Wolf Gunter Brügmann : "1968 - 2008. Vom Aufstieg und Niedergang der Frankfurter Rundschau" ("1968 - 2008: The rise and fall of the Frankfurter Rundschau")