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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:

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