ZUKUNFT, DIE ("The Future"), German weekly for "politics, public life, arts and literature," which appeared in Berlin for three decades, every Saturday, from 1892 to 1922 under the editorship of Maximilian *Harden (born Felix Ernst Witkowski, 1861–1927), one of the most controversial figures of the German press. The title seems to have been suggested by Franz Mehring to distinguish the new paper from the journal Gegenwart ("The Present"). Harden's political essays, written under the pen name "Keut," and his theater reviews made the periodical an influential platform for intellectual discussion and the mouthpiece of liberal opposition in the German Kaiserreich. Due to its topicality, the vigor and erudition of its editor, and the fame of its contributors (among them Stefan *Zweig, Heinrich and Thomas *Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Hugo von *Hofmannsthal, Paul *Heyse, and Henrik Ibsen), Die Zukunft soon gained numerous readers. Its circulation quickly rose from 6,000 copies per week (40–50 pages each) to 10,000 around 1900, and some 22,000 by 1914. Between 1915 and 1922, however, circulation dropped to less than 1,000 copies per week.
As a result of Harden's deep veneration of Prussian conservatism expressed in the columns of his paper, the aging Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898) made him one of his closest confidants. Yet Harden attacked William ii and his entourage with irony and courage. In 1906–07, while Harden was supported by Friedrich von Holstein (1837–1909), a series of articles led to the downfall of Prince Philipp zu Eulenburg (1847–1921), the Kaiser's most influential adviser. In 1897, Harden became a friend of Walther *Rathenau, and published his controversial article "Hoere Israel!" in Die Zukunft. Georg *Bernhard, however, who had contributed to the paper as "Plutus" from 1901–1903, withdrew upon the advice of August Bebel, after Harden had criticized the Social Democratic Party.
At the outbreak of World War i in August 1914, Harden's Zukunft was ardently nationalist and even annexationist, but from November 1915, after the first German military defeat, it became pacifist and supported President Wilson's Fourteen Points of January 1918. Due to Harden's political turn and military censorship, Die Zukunft dramatically declined in importance, its readers turning towards papers like Siegfried *Jacobsohn's Weltbuehne after 1918. Harden could never come to terms with the new Weimar system, though he advocated a policy of international cooperation and reconciliation. Accordingly, he was blacklisted by the German right wing as "a destructive Jewish intellectual." On July 3, 1922, nine days after the assassination of his friend Walther Rathenau, an attempt was made on Harden's life, from which he never really recovered. On September 30, 1922, the last issue of Die Zukunft appeared under the title "After 30 years," and Harden, who realized he could not escape his Jewish origin, emigrated to the Netherlands. Later attempts to revive the paper failed. In 1927, Harden died from pneumonia while taking a cure in Switzerland.
Harden, who had converted to Protestantism in 1881, at times revealed an almost hysterical antisemitism, strongly attacked by Karl *Kraus in his satirical magazine Die Fackel (1899–1936). Theodor *Lessing, in his book Der juedische Selbsthass (1930), described Harden as a prototype of Jewish self-hatred, which had been particularly stirred up by the *Dreyfus trial. However, it may also be noted that Harden invited Theodor *Herzl in 1897 to state the Zionist case in Die Zukunft (an offer which Herzl declined because of Harden's hostile attitude towards William ii). From 1917, he maintained friendly relations with the German Zionist Richard *Lichtheim, and the same year stressed the political wisdom of the *Balfour Declaration in his paper.
M. Harden (ed.), Die Zukunft 1–30 (1892–1922; microfiche reprint 2003); Th. Lessing, Der juedische Selbsthass (1930), 167–207; H.F. Young, Maximilian Harden. Censor Germaniae (1959); E. Gottgetreu, in: lbiyb, 7 (1962), 215–46; B.U. Weller, Maximilian Harden und die "Zukunft" (1970); H.J. Goebel, Maximilian Harden als politischer Publizist im Ersten Weltkrieg (1977); H.D. Hellige, in: H.J. Goebel and E. Schulin (eds.), Walther Rathenau – Maximilian Harden. Briefwechsel 1897–1920 (1983), 15–299; F. Albrecht, in: M. Grunewald (ed.), Le discours européen dans les revues allemandes, 1871 – 1914 (1996), 155–76; K. Hecht, "Die Harden-Prozesse" (Ph.D. diss., Munich 1997); S. Armbrecht, Verkannte Liebe. Maximilian Hardens Haltung zu Deutschtum und Judentum (1999); M. Sabrow, Walther Rathenau und Maximilian Harden (2000); H. Neumann and M. Neumann, Maximilian Harden (2003).
[Erich Gottgetreu /
Johannes Valentin Schwarz (2nd ed.)]