The Reichstag Fire Essay Research Paper The

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The Reichstag Fire Essay, Research Paper The Reichstag Fire ??????????? One of Hitler’s first actions was to organise another election.? He hoped the Nazis would win enough seats to form a government on their own, rather than leading a "Coalition" with other parties.? Then, one week before polling day, a strange thing happened? ??????????? February 27 1933; a very cold night in Berlin.? A man walking past the Reichstag building was showered with glass.? When he looked inside he saw someone holding a torch.? The man called the police. ??????????? The same evening, Hitler was having dinner with another leading Nazi, called Goebbels, when there was a message that the "Reichstag" was on fire.? At first Goebbels did not believe it but after more phone calls

it was certain that it was on fire and it was due to arson.?? Hitler said: ??????????? "This is a signal from God.? If this turns out to be the work of the communists, then there is nothing stopping us from crushing out the murder pests with an iron fist.”??????????? The very next day, Hindenburg signed an emergency decree, which took away the basic rights of the German people.? Newspapers could be censored and meetings were limited.? Even private letters and phone calls could be checked.? This one Law was all Hitler needed to cripple his opponents.? This Law stayed in force until 1945. ??????????? Hitler himself began a last minute tour of Germany saying that the communists were planning a revolution.? Many people believed him.? In the election, the Nazis won 43.9% of the

votes.? It was enough to give Hitler the chance he wanted. ??????????? Yet the Fire itself remains a mystery.? Inside the building, the police found a Dutchman, Marinus Van der Lubbe, aged 24.? He was half naked, but in his pockets were matches and fire lighters. ??????????? He admitted to the police that he had been a Communist Party member, and after the election, he was put on trial with four other Communists. ??????????? From the start Van der Lubbe told the police one story and stuck to it.? He said he had acted alone.? He had burned the Reichstag as protests against the Nazis. ??????????? The Nazis told a different story.? They said the fire was part of a huge Communist plot.? It was a signal for a general reign of terror. ??????????? Others, including the communists, gave

yet another version.? They said it was all a Nazi plot so that Hitler had an excuse to blame the Communists.? One story went round that, although Van der Lubbe may have started one fire, the SA helped it along by starting others. At his trial Van der Lubbe acted strangely.? Mostly, he just stared at the floor; sometimes, he slept; he said very little.? After eleven months, the other Four were found innocent.? Van der Lubbe had admitted his guilt all along: he was found guilty.? Soon afterwards, he was beheaded. ??????????? The arguments still go on today.? There was evidence at the trial that large amounts of petrol and chemicals had been used to start the fire.? It began in at least twenty different places at once and was so fierce that the firemen could do nothing to stop it.

??????????? However, there has never been any firm evidence to prove that either the Nazis or the Communists were involved. ??????????? This is a picture of Van der Lubbe on trial: