Analysis Of Otto Wels Speech

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In this source analysis, I will look into the speech given by German Social Democrat, Otto Wels on March 23, 1933. It should also be mentioned that Thomas Dunlap translated this speech into English, which will be the primary source for this essay. The speech given by Wells was in protest to Hitler’s Enabling act; a law that would help provide Hitler and his followers with a legal path towards a dictatorship. The vote for the enabling act and the speech given by Wells, were held in the Reichstag on the same day, but as history has shown, Hitler’s Nazi Party prevailed, and the democratic makeup of the Weimer Republic was washed away. The significance of this speech is quite prevalent today, in retrospect to the grisly past of the Third Reich,…show more content…
For one, I’m sure many who held the same political opinion as Wells thought he was insane, as Hitler was purging the government of anyone who didn’t align with his ideologies. Secondly, many probably considered him brave and heroic, as all 94 SPD member voted to against the act. Today, I would imagine this is the sentiment that follows, considering the repercussions that followed within the next seven years. On the other hand, the opposing parties, such as the NSDAP and the old elites, more than likely considered this propaganda to halt their “socialist” revolution. With that being said, Wells went into exile, like many other of his fellow social democrats, and were in fact deprived of their…show more content…
However, since the context of the speech deals with such a controversial time in history, I think its best viewed as a relic of the Weimar Republic. This relic is a symbol of the crisis faced during the Weimar experimentation of democracy, and what many will view as a battle of good vs. evil. What makes this document so sentimental and powerful, is the destruction that follows. Obviously Otto Wells couldn’t not have knows everything that was to follow this speech, but, since we have the luxury it makes this speech all the more powerful; arguably more powerful today, then at the time. In the end, a short analysis of Wells speech provides the reader with a unique perspective of the tumultuous times leading up to Hitler dictatorship. When understanding the context and function of the speech, it opens up new avenues into Germany history, and a deeper appreciation of its merit. By understanding these elements of the source, it allows the reader to have a clearer interpretation of the text as a whole, and a better understanding of the environment in which it was
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