Public Enemies

A political thriller from the days when politics and journalism were powered by testosterone. In the shadow of the nuclear arms race, which brings the world to the brink of nuclear apocalypse in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, two powerful personalities of postwar Germany clash in an almost archaic feud: Minister of Defense Franz Josef Strauss, and journalist Rudolf Augstein, editor-in-chief and publisher of Spiegel magazine.

"The SPIEGEL Affair'' - Strauss's raid on the magazine - was Der Spiegel's watershed." (The Global Mail)

"The strands connecting the Spiegel and Snowden affairs are many and instructive - and are a reminder, above all, of why press freedom is worth fighting for. (?) Strauss's angry complaints are fifty years old; they might as well be brand new." (The New Yorker)

"One of the most high-profile political scandals in German history."

Strauss wants to maintain a nuclear balance of power to make war unthinkable. Augstein is sure this kind of sabre-rattling will lead to calamity one day. After the two men meet, Augstein tells his editorial staff: "We can never let that man become Chancellor." Two political world views collide in the Spiegel Affair, both trying to ensure Germany never goes to war again. Augstein diggedly tries to prove Strauss is involved in wrong-doing, to publicly discredit him with his magazine until the Spiegel gets hit with an indictment for treason. Strauss mobilizes his forces to strike back at the gadfly reporters. Attorney General Siegfried Buback sends the police into the editorial office. Journalists are arrested, the offices searched, the print run stopped. Spiegel faces financial ruin.

Augstein is released from custody after 103 days. The case against Spiegel is dropped three years later, marking the end of the Adenauer era, a victory for a free press and the young German democracy over oppression and state control.


Bayerischer Fernsehpreis - Bavarian TV Award (2003)
  Blauer Panther
    won    Other ()

Erich Kästner Fernsehpreis für das beste deutschsprachige Kinder- und Jugendprogramm (2003)
  Erich Kästner Children's TV Award
    won    Other (For the episode "Wie ist das mit dem Tod?")