One of the most significant German journalists of the 20th century, Rudolf Augstein began his career around the age of 23 when he founded Der Spiegel, an investigative weekly magazine that is still popular today. In 1972, he joined the legislative body Bundestag for Free Democrats, but resigned in 1973 to focus on journalism. He continued to post commentaries in Der Spiegel until his death, but resigned to a more quiet and private life once Stefan Aust became the editor in chief of Der Spiegel. He also printed several books in his lifetime.
In 1962, Der Spiegel was accused of treason due to an article about the state of Germany's armed forces. Rudolf and his two editors in chief were arrested and jailed for 103 days. It was later found that Straub, the Minister at the time, had performed the duties illegally and Rudolf was released. Straub eventually lost his position and credibility. The case went before the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany, which laid a ruling that helped lay down basics for the freedom of the press used for decades to come.
Rudolf was later recognized for his role in the Spiegel scandal as the one International Press Institute's Hero of the World Press Freedom honorees in 2000. He also given the title Journalist of the Century by 101 German Journalists in 2000. In 2002, he died from pneumonia.
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