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Nazism and Free Speech - Essay Example

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Nazism and Free Speech Your Name Student Number Course Number Due Date Nazism and Free Speech Nazism has often been described as the biggest political failure of the twenty first century. It was arguably the cause of millions of deaths and the people of Germany and other parts of the world where it was practised lost their democratic rights for free speech while Nazis were in power…
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Nazism and Free Speech

Download file to see previous pages... The challenges that each posed to the other would be analysed in this paper. Nazism as a form of government and political ideology is detrimental to the flourishing of free speech. This can be seen in the suppression of the power of the press in a country that is under the Nazi regime. The importance of the press in shaping public opinion and rallying the dissent of a nation is well known and the suppression of freedom in this area hits at the very roots of the principles of free speech in a nation. John A. Hess’s article on Nazism and free speech, written while the Nazi regime was still in power in Germany, talks about the different views that were prevalent regarding the success of Nazism and the freedom that the press in different countries enjoyed. The article points on how commentators in Germany talked of the freedom of press in relative terms. According to them, countries like England and France do not provide their press with freedom. The reason that is advanced for this is that the press in these countries, in order to survive, is excessively dependent upon the opinion of the people. The commentator who is referred to in the article points out how the sales of the newspapers in these countries dipped when matters that were not of immediate interest to the people were not published. This is, however, a weak argument as the news that is of importance to the people is what ought to be published in any democracy. In this case, it is the people who have the rights to decide which piece of news is worthy of publication and which one is not. Thus, the supreme authority rests with the people and not with the state functionaries. This is not the case in a Nazi state where the members of the ruling party have the power to be autocratic in deciding the topics that are to be dealt with by the press. This authority of the state subverts the very fundamentals of the idea of the freedom of the press. Hess later in his article points out how the people in democratic countries like America had the right to question the state in which they found the press, a right that was not available to people who were a part of countries ruled by the Nazi regimes. This argument again, strikes at the mistakes of the arguments that were made by apologists of the Nazi regime. The article, thus, demonstrates the hollowness of the arguments that were advanced by such people regarding the freedom that the press enjoyed under the Nazi regime. It also reveals that the freedom to question and protest were the most important rights that a person had under a democracy. Even if the state of things is not perfect in a democracy, as long as the right to protest remained intact, the press of the country could be considered to be free, according to Hess. The article demonstrates how the people of a certain nation, in an attempt to be apologists of the existing regime of the country, can be blind to the obvious. Hess manages to point out clearly the defects of the Nazi regime and the positives of a democratic form of government being opposed to it. Works Cited Hess, John A. “Free Speech and the Nazi Press”. The German Quarterly, 11(4) 1938. Web. 28th Mar. 2012. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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