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Encyclopedia > Reichstag fire
The Reichstag fire was a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany.
The Reichstag fire was a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany.

The Reichstag fire was a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany. At 21:15 on the night of February 27, 1933, a Berlin fire station received an alarm call that the Reichstag building, the assembly location of the German Parliament, was ablaze. The fire was started in the Session Chamber[1], and by the time the police and firemen arrived, the main Chamber of Deputies was in flames. Inside the building, the police quickly found a shirtless Marinus van der Lubbe. Van der Lubbe was a Dutch insurrectionist council communist and unemployed bricklayer who had recently arrived in Germany, ostensibly to carry out his political activities. The fire was used as evidence that the Communists were beginning a plot against the German government. Van der Lubbe and 4000 Communist leaders were arrested. Then-chancellor Adolf Hitler urged President Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree in order to counter the "ruthless confrontation of the KPD". Consequently, habeas corpus was suspended, the death penalty was reintroduced and concentration camps were set up. Image File history File links Reichstagsbrand. ... Image File history File links Reichstagsbrand. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... Nazi Germany, or the Third Reich, commonly refers to Germany in the years 1933–1945, when it was under the firm control of the totalitarian and fascist ideology of the Nazi Party, with the Führer Adolf Hitler as dictator. ... is the 58th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... This article is about the capital of Germany. ... The Reichstag is a phenominal building. ... The Reichstag (German for Imperial Diet) was the parliament of the Holy Roman Empire, the North German Confederation, and of Germany until 1945. ... Chamber of Deputies is the name given to a legislative body, which may either be the lower house of a bicameral legislature, or the name of a unicameral one. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Council communism was a radical Left movement originating in Germany and the Netherlands in the 1920s. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Hitler redirects here. ... In common law, habeas corpus (/heɪbiÉ™s kɔɹpÉ™s/) (Latin: [We command that] you have the body) is the name of a legal action or writ by means of which detainees can seek relief from unlawful imprisonment. ... A concentration camp is a large detention centre created for political opponents, aliens, specific ethnic or religious groups, civilians of a critical war-zone, or other groups of people, often during a war. ...


Meanwhile, investigation of the Reichstag Fire continued, with the National Socialists eager to uncover Comintern complicity. In early March 1933, three men were arrested who were to play pivotal roles during the Leipzig Trial, known also as "Reichstag Fire Trial," namely three Bulgarians: Georgi Dimitrov, Vasil Tanev and Blagoi Popov. The Bulgarians were known to the Prussian police as senior Comintern operatives, but the police had no idea how senior they were: Dimitrov was head of all Comintern operations in Western Europe. The Nazi party used a right-facing swastika as their symbol and the red and black colors were said to represent Blut und Boden (blood and soil). ... The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... The Leipzig Trial, also known as the Reichstag Fire Trial, involved three Bulgarian men: Georgi Dimitrov, Vasil Tanev and Blagoi Popov. ... Georgi Dimitrov Georgi Mikhailov Dimitrov (Георги Михайлов Димитров, also known as Георгий Михайлович Димитров- Georgiy Mikhailovich Dimitrov) (June 18, 1882, Kovachevtsi, Pernik Province - July 2, 1949, Moscow) was a Bulgarian Communist leader. ... Motto Suum cuique Latin: To each his own Prussia at its peak, as leading state of the German Empire Capital Königsberg, later Berlin Government Duke1  - 1525–68 Albert I (first)  - 1688–1701 Frederick III (last) King1  - 1701–13 Frederick I (first)  - 1888–1918 William II (last) Prime Minister1,2... World map showing the location of Europe. ...

Contents

Background

Hitler had been sworn in as Chancellor and head of the coalition government on January 30, 1933. As Chancellor, Hitler asked German President (Reichspräsident) Paul von Hindenburg to dissolve the Reichstag and call for a new parliamentary election. The date set for the elections was March 5, 1933. Hitler's aim was first to acquire a National Socialist majority in order to secure his position and eliminate the communist opposition. If prompted or desired, the President could remove Chancellor Hitler. Hitler hoped to abolish democracy in a more or less legal fashion by passing the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act was a special law which gave the Chancellor the power to pass laws by decree without the involvement of the Reichstag. These special powers would remain in effect for four years, after which time they were eligible to be renewed. Under the existing Weimar constitution, under Article 48, the President could rule by decree in times of emergency. The unprecedented element of the Enabling Act was that the Chancellor himself possessed these powers. An Enabling Act was only supposed to be passed in times of extreme emergency, and in fact had only been used once before, in 1923-24 when the government used an Enabling Act to rescue Germany from hyperinflation. To pass an Enabling Act, a party required a vote by a two-thirds majority in the Reichstag. In January 1933, the Nazis had only 32% of the seats and thus were in no position to pass an Enabling Act. The head of government of Germany is called Chancellor (German: Kanzler). ... A coalition government, or coalition cabinet, is a cabinet in parliamentary government in which several parties cooperate. ... January 30 is the 30th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with President of Germany. ... Paul Ludwig Hans Anton von Beneckendorff und von Hindenburg, known universally as Paul von Hindenburg (2 October 1847 – 2 August 1934) was a German field marshal and statesman. ... The Reichstag (German for Imperial Diet) was the parliament of the Holy Roman Empire, the North German Confederation, and of Germany until 1945. ... An election is a decision making process where people choose people to hold official offices. ... This article is about the day. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... This article is about law in society. ... The Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz in German) was passed by Germanys parliament (the Reichstag) on March 23, 1933. ... Article 48 was a measure in the constitution of the Weimar Republic of Germany (1919–1933) that allowed the President to rule by decree without the consent of the Reichstag (parliament). ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar). ... Certain figures in this article use scientific notation for readability. ...


During the election campaign, the Nazis alleged that Germany was on the verge of a Communist revolution and that the only way to stop the communists was to pass the Enabling Act. The messsage of the campaign was simple: increase the number of Nazi seats so that the Enabling Act could be passed. In order to decrease the number of opposition members of parliament who could vote against the Enabling Act, Hitler had planned to ban the Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands (the Communist Party of Germany or KPD), which at the time held 17% of the parliament's seats, after the elections and before the new Reichstag convened. The Reichstag Fire allowed Hitler to accelerate the banning of the Communist Party. The Nazis capitalized on the fear that the Reichstag fire supposed to serve as a signal launching the Communist revolution in Germany, and promoted this claim in their campaign. The storming of the Bastille, 14 July 1789 during the French Revolution. ... This politics-related article is a stub. ... See Exile (disambiguation) for other meanings. ... 1932 KPD poster, End This System The Communist Party of Germany (German Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands – KPD) was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period. ...


The Fire

At 10:00 PM on February 27, 1933, the Berlin Fire Department received a message that the Reichstag was on fire. Despite the best efforts of the firemen, the building was gutted by the blaze. Only by 11: 30 PM was the fire put out. The firemen and policemen inspected the ruins, and found twenty bundles of flammable material unburned laying about. At the time the fire was reported, Adolf Hitler was having dinner with Joseph Goebbels at Goebbels' apartment in Berlin. When Goebbels received a phone call informing him of the fire, he regarded it as a joke at first, and only after the second call did he report the news to Hitler. Hitler, Goebbels, the Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen and Prince Heinrich Günther von Hohenzollern were taken by car to the Reichstag where they were met by Hermann Göring. Göring told Hitler "This is a Communist outrage! One of the Communist culprits has been arrested". Hitler called the fire a "sign from heaven", and claimed the fire was a Fanal (signal) meant to mark the beginning of a Communist Putsch (coup). The next day, the Preussische Pressedienst (Prussian Press Service) reported that "this act of incendiarism is the most monstrous act of terrorism carried out by Bolshevism in Germany". The Vossische Zeitung newspaper warned its readers that "the government is of the opinion that the situation is such that a danger to the state and nation existed and still exists".[2] Hitler redirects here. ... Paul Joseph Goebbels (German pronunciation: IPA: ) (29 October 1897 – 1 May 1945) was a German politician and Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda during the National Socialist regime from 1933 to 1945. ... Franz Joseph Hermann Michael Maria von Papen (29 October 1879 – 2 May 1969) was a German nobleman Catholic politician, General Staff officer, and diplomat, who served as Chancellor of Germany in 1932. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ...


Political consequences of the Fire

The day after the fire, Hitler asked for and received from President Hindenburg the Reichstag Fire Decree, signed into law by Hindenburg using Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. The Reichstag Fire Decree suspended most civil liberties in Germany. As a consequence of the Reichstag Fire Decree, the Communist Party of Germany was banned on March 1, 1933 under the grounds that they were preparing a putsch. In the March 5, 1933 Reichstag elections, the Nazis increased their share of the vote to 44 percent, which gave the Nazis and their allies - the German National People's Party won 8% of the vote - a majority of 52% in the Reichstag. The Nazis emerged as winners, but they had fallen short of their goal, which was 50%–55% of the vote. This would make it more difficult to obtain the two-thirds majority needed to pass the Enabling Act. Nevertheless, the Nazis were able to capitalize on national security concerns and obtain the additional support needed, thus granting Chancellor Hitler the right to rule by decree. The vote took place on March 23, 1933, and only the Social Democrats opposed the measure, which came into effect on March 27. Had the Communist Party participated, its representatives would have contributed 17% of the Reichstag votes. Instead, their representatives were under arrest for their suspect role in the Reichstag Fire. A German newspapers final issue, announcing its own prohibition (Verbot) by the police authorities on the basis of the Reichstag fire decree The Reichstag Fire Decree (Reichstagsbrandverordnung in German) is the common name of the decree issued by German president Paul von Hindenburg in direct response to the Reichstag... 1932 KPD poster, End This System The Communist Party of Germany (German Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands – KPD) was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period. ... is the 60th day of the year (61st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... 1924 electoral poster, using the Admiral Tirpitz as a figurehead The German National Peoples Party (German: Deutschnationale Volkspartei) (DNVP) was a right wing national-conservative party in Germany during the time of the Weimar Republic. ... The Enabling Act (Ermächtigungsgesetz in German) was passed by Germanys parliament (the Reichstag) on March 23, 1933. ...


The Reichstag Fire Trial

In July 1933, Marinus van der Lubbe, Ernst Torgler, Georgi Dimitrov, Blagoi Popov, and Vassili Tanev were indicted on charges of setting the Reichstag on fire. From September 21 to December 23, 1933, the Leipzig Trial took place and was presided over by judges from the old German Imperial High Court, the Reichsgericht. This was Germany's highest court. The presiding judge was Judge Dr. Wilhelm Bürger of the Fourth Criminal Court of the Fourth Penal Chamber of the Supreme Court. [3] The accused were charged with arson and with attempting to overthrow the government. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ernst Torgler Ernst Torgler (April 25, 1893-January 29, 1963) was a controversial member of the Communist Party of Germany prior to World War II and a defendant in the Reichstag Fire Trial. ... Georgi Dimitrov Georgi Mikhailov Dimitrov (Георги Михайлов Димитров, also known as Георгий Михайлович Димитров- Georgiy Mikhailovich Dimitrov) (June 18, 1882, Kovachevtsi, Pernik Province - July 2, 1949, Moscow) was a Bulgarian Communist leader. ... September 21 is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... December 23 is the 357th day of the year (358th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday. ... The Leipzig Trial, also known as the Reichstag Fire Trial, involved three Bulgarian men: Georgi Dimitrov, Vasil Tanev and Blagoi Popov. ... The Reichsgerichtsgebäude in Leipzig The Reichsgericht has been the highest court of the Deutsches Reich. ...


The Leipzig Trial was widely publicized and was broadcast on the radio. It was expected that the court would find the Communists guilty on all counts and approve the repression and terror exercised by the Nazis against all opposition forces in the country. At the end of the trial, however, only van der Lubbe was convicted, while his fellow defendants were found not guilty. In 1934, van der Lubbe was beheaded in a German prison yard. In 1981, a West German court posthumously overturned van der Lubbe's 1933 conviction and found him not guilty.


The trial began at 8:45 on the morning of September 21, with van der Lubbe testifying. Van der Lubbe's testimony was very hard to follow as he spoke of losing his sight in one eye, wandering around Europe as a drifter, and that he had been a member of the Dutch Communist Party, which he quit in 1931, but still considered himself a Communist. Dimitrov began his testimony on the third day of the trial. Georgi Dimitrov gave up his right to a court appointed lawyer and defended himself successfully. When warned by Judge Bürger to behave himself in court, Dimitrov stated: "Herr President, if you were a man as innocent as myself and you have passed seven months in prison, five of them in chains night and day, you would understand it if one perhaps becomes a little strained". During the course of his defence, Dimitrov claimed that the organizers of the fire were senior members of the Nazi Party, and frequently verbally clashed with Göring at the trial. The highpoint of the trial occurred on November 4, 1933 when Göring took the stand, and was cross-examined by Dimitrov[4]. The following exchange took place: Georgi Dimitrov Georgi Mikhailov Dimitrov (Георги Михайлов Димитров, also known as Георгий Михайлович Димитров- Georgiy Mikhailovich Dimitrov) (June 18, 1882, Kovachevtsi, Pernik Province - July 2, 1949, Moscow) was a Bulgarian Communist leader. ...

Dimitrov: Herr Prime Minister Göring stated on February 28 that when arrested the "Dutch Communist van der Lubbe had on his person his passport and a membership card of the Communist Party". From whom was this information taken?
Göring: The police search all common criminals, and report the result to me.
Dimitrov: The three officials who arrested and examined van der Lubbe all agreed that no membership card of the Communist Party was found on him. I should like to know where the report that such a card had been found came from.
Göring: I was told by an official. Things which were reported to me on the night of the fire...could not be tested or proven. The report was made to me by a responsible official, and was accepted as a fact, and as it could not be tested immediately it was announced as a fact. When I issued the first report to the press on the morning after the fire the interrogation of van der Lubbe had not been concluded. In any case I do not see that anyone has any right to complain because it seems proved in this trial that van der Lubbe had no such card on him.
Dimitrov: I would like to ask the Minister of the Interior what steps he took to make sure that van der Lubbe's route to Hennigsdorf, his stay and his meetings with other people there were investigated by the police to assist them in tracking down van der Lubbe's accomplices?
Göring: As I am not an official myself, but a responsible Minister it was not important that I should trouble myself with such petty, minor matters. It was my task to expose the Party, and the mentality, which was responsible for the crime.
Dimitrov: Is the Reichsminister aware of the fact that those that possess this alleged criminal mentality today control the destiny of a sixth part of the world - the Soviet Union?
Göring: I don't care what happens in Russia! I know that the Russians pay with bills, and I should prefer to know that their bills are paid! I care about the Communist Party here in Germany and about Communist crooks who come here to set the Reichstag on fire!
Dimitrov: This criminal mentality rules the Soviet Union, the greatest and best country in the world. Is Herr Prime Minister aware of that?
Göring: I shall tell you what the German people already know. They know that you are behaving in a disgraceful manner! They know that you are a Communist crook who came to Germany to set the Reichstag on fire! In my eyes you are nothing, but a scoundrel, a crook who belongs on the gallows![5].

Only Van Der Lubbe was found guilty and sentenced to death. The rest were acquitted, and (with the exception of Torgler, who was taken into “protective custody" by the Gestapo after the trial), were expelled to the Soviet Union, where they received a hero's welcome. Hitler was furious with the outcome of this trial. He decreed that henceforth treason – among many other offenses – would only be tried by a newly established People's Court (Volksgerichtshof). The People's Court later became associated with the number of death sentences it handed down, including those following the 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler. It was presided over by Judge-President Roland Freisler. This article or section includes a list of works cited or a list of external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks in-text citations. ... The Volksgerichtshof (German for Peoples Court) was a court established by Hitler after the Reichstag fire to handle those accused of political criminal offences, such as treason. ... Claus von Stauffenberg The July 20 Plot was an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the dictator of Germany, on July 20, 1944. ... Judge Freisler Roland Freisler (October 30, 1893 – February 3, 1945) was a prominent and notorious Nazi German judge. ...


Van der Lubbe's execution

At his trial, Van der Lubbe was found guilty and sentenced to death. He was beheaded (the customary German execution method at the time) on January 10, 1934, three days before his 25th birthday. The Nazis alleged that Van der Lubbe was part of the Communist conspiracy to burn down the Reichstag and seize power, while the Communists alleged that Van der Lubbe was part of the Nazi conspiracy to blame the crime on them. Van der Lubbe for his part maintained that he had acted alone, to protest the condition of the German working-class. Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the state as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offences. ... Beheading. ... January 10 is the 10th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display full 1934 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... In a political sense, conspiracy refers to a group of persons united in the goal of usurping or overthrowing an established political power. ...


Dispute about van der Lubbe's role in the Reichstag Fire

Historians generally agree that van der Lubbe was involved in the Reichstag fire. The extent of the damage, however, has led to considerable debate over whether he acted alone. Considering the speed with which the fire engulfed the building, van der Lubbe's reputation as a mentally disturbed arsonist hungry for fame, and cryptic comments by leading Nazi officials, it was generally believed at the time the Nazi hierarchy was involved in order to reap political gain. Some have contended that van der Lubbe acted alone, and the Reichstag fire was merely a stroke of good luck for the Nazis. The idea that he was a "half-wit" or "mentally disturbed" was propaganda spread by the Communist party to distance themselves from an insurrectionist anti-fascist who was once a member of the party and took action where they failed to[6]. The historian Hans Mommsen concluded that the Nazi leadership was in a state of panic the night of the Reichstag fire, and they seemed to have regarded the Reichstag Fire as a confirmation that all their propaganda about a Communist revolution being imminent was actually true[7]. Soviet Propaganda Poster during the World War II. The text reads Red Army Fighter, SAVE US! Chinese propaganda poster from during the Cultural Revolution. ... Anti-Fascism is a belief and practice of opposing all forms of Fascism. ... Hans Mommsen (November 5, 1930-) is a left-wing German historian and twin brother of Wolfgang Mommsen. ...


British reporter Sefton Delmer witnessed the events of that night firsthand, and his account of the fire provides a number of details[8]. Delmer viewed van der Lubbe as solely responsible, that the Nazis sought to make it appear to be a "Communist gang" who set the fire, whereas the Communists sought to make it appear that van der Lubbe was working for the Nazis, and that they had plotted the whole thing. Denis Sefton Delmer (May 24, 1904-September 4, 1979) was born in Berlin, Germany. ...


In 1960, the West German Social Democratic journalist Fritz Tobias published a series of articles in Der Spiegel, later turned into a book, which showed that Van Der Lubbe had acted alone. At the time, Tobias was widely attacked for his articles, which showed that Van der Lubbe was a pyromaniac with a long history of burning down buildings or attempting to burn down buildings. In particular, Tobias established that Van der Lubbe had attempted to burn down a number of buildings in the days prior to February 27. In March 1973, the Swiss historian Walter Hofer organized a conference intended to rebut the claims made by Tobias. At the conference, Hofer claimed to have found evidence that some of the detectives who had investigated the fire may have been Nazis. Mommsen commented on Hofer's claims by stating "Professor Hofer's rather helpless statement that the accomplices of Van der Lubbe 'could only have been Nazis' is tacit admission that the committee did not actually obtain any positive evidence in regard to the alleged accomplices' identity"[9]. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... For the album by Def Leppard, see Pyromania (album) Pyromania is an obsession with fire and starting fires, in an intentional fashion, usually on multiple occasions. ...


Göring's commentary

William L. Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich details how at Nuremberg, General Franz Halder stated in an affidavit that Hermann Göring had joked about setting the fire: Shirer after winning a National Book Award in 1961 for his The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pictured with fellow authors and award winners Conrad Richter and Randall Jarrell. ... Book cover The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by journalist William L. Shirer was the first definitive history of Nazi Germany in English. ... The Süddeutsche Zeitung announces The Verdict in Nuremberg. ... Franz Halder Franz Ritter Halder (June 30, 1884 – April 2, 1972) was a German General and the head of the Army General Staff from 1938 until September 1942, when he was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Adolf Hitler. ... Hermann Wilhelm Göring ( ) (also Goering in English) (January 12, 1893 – October 15, 1946) was a German politician and military leader, a leading member of the Nazi Party, second in command of the Third Reich, and commander of the Luftwaffe. ...

"On the occasion of a lunch on the Führer's birthday in 1942, the people around the Führer turned the conversation to the Reichstag building and its artistic value. I heard with my own ears how Göring broke into the conversation and shouted: 'The only one who really knows about the Reichstag building is I, for I set fire to it.' And saying this he slapped his thigh"[10]

Under cross-examination at Nuremberg, Göring was read Halder's affidavit and denied he had any involvement in the fire, characterizing Halder's statement as "utter nonsense". Göring stated:

"I had no reason or motive for setting fire to the Reichstag. From the artistic point of view I did not at all regret that the assembly chamber was burned; I hoped to build a better one. But I did regret very much that I was forced to find a new meeting place for the Reichstag and, not being able to find one, I had to give up my Kroll Opera House ... for that purpose. The opera seemed to me much more important than the Reichstag".[11]

1900 1938 Krolloper was an opera building in Berlin, opposite of the Reichstag. ...

"Counter-trial" organized by the German Communist Party

During the summer of 1933, a counter-trial was organized in London by a group of lawyers, democrats and other anti-Nazi groups under the aegis of German Communist émigrés. The chairman of the "Counter-trial" was the Labour barrister D. N. Pritt K.C., but the chief organizer behind the counter-trial was KPD's propaganda chief Willi Münzenberg. The other "judges" were Maìtre Pierre Vermeylen of Belgium, George Branting of Sweden, Maìtre Vincent de Moro-Giafferi and Maìtre Gaston Bergery of France, Betsy Bakker-Nort of the Netherlands, Vald Hvidt of Denmark, and Arthur Garfield Hays of the United States.[12] This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... The Labour Party has been, since its founding in the early 20th century, the principal political party of the left in England, Scotland and Wales. ... Soviet Propaganda Poster during the World War II. The text reads Red Army Fighter, SAVE US! Chinese propaganda poster from during the Cultural Revolution. ... Willi Münzenberg (August 14, 1889–October 21, 1940) was a leading propagandist for the KPD (Kommunistische Partei Deutschlands, Communist Party of Germany) in the Weimar Era. ... Vincent de Moro-Giafferi (born 1878, died 1956), French criminal attorney of Corsican descent. ... Arthur Garfield Hays (1881-1954) was a successful corporate lawyer and counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union who was involved in many of the notable civil liberty cases of his day including the Scopes Trial (1925) in Tennessee and the Sacco-Vanzetti Case. ...


The Counter-trial began on September 21, 1933. It lasted one week and ended with the conclusion the defendants were innocent, and the true initiators of the fire were to be found amid the leading Nazi Party elite. The "Counter-trial" received much media attention, and Sir Stafford Cripps delivered the opening speech. Göring was found guilty at the counter-trial. The Counter-trial served as a workshop during which all possible scenarios were tested and all speeches of the defendants were prepared. Most of the "judges", such as Hays and Moro-Giafferi, complained that the atmosphere at the "Counter-trial" was more like a show-trial with Münzenberg constantly applying pressure behind the scenes on the "judges" to deliver the "right" verdict without any regard for the truth. One of the "witnesses", a supposed SA man, appeared in court wearing a mask and claimed that it was the SA that really set the fire; in fact, the "Stormtrooper" was really Albert Norden, the editor of the German Communist newspaper Rote Fahne. Another masked witness whom Hays described as "not very reliable" claimed that Van der Lubbe was a drug-addicted homosexual who was the lover of Ernst Röhm and a Nazi dupe. When the lawyer for Ernst Torgler asked for the "Counter-trial" organisers to turn over the "evidence" exonerating his client, Münzenberg refused the request because he in fact, lacked any "evidence" to exonerate or convict anyone of the crime.[13] The "Counter-trial" was an enormously successful publicity stunt for the German Communists. Münzenberg followed this triumph with another by having written under his name the best-selling The Brown Book of the Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror, an expose of what Münzenberg alleged to be the Nazi conspiracy to burn down the Reichstag and blame the act on the Communists. (In fact, as with all of Münzenberg's books, the real author was one of his aides, in this case a Czechoslovak Communist named Otto Katz.[14]). The success of The Brown Book was subsequently followed by another best-seller published in 1934, again ghost-written by Katz, The Second Brown Book of the Reichstag Fire and the Hitler Terror. National Socialism redirects here. ... Sir Richard Stafford Cripps, known as Stafford Cripps, (April 24, 1889 - April 21, 1952) was a British Labour politician and Chancellor of the Exchequer for several years following World War II. // Cripps was born in London. ... The seal of SA SA propaganda poster. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ernst Torgler Ernst Torgler (April 25, 1893-January 29, 1963) was a controversial member of the Communist Party of Germany prior to World War II and a defendant in the Reichstag Fire Trial. ... Czechoslovakia (Czech: Československo, Slovak: Česko-Slovensko/before 1990 Československo) was a country in Central Europe that existed from 1918 until 1992 (except for the World War II period). ...


The Brown Book was divided into three parts. The first part, which traced the rise of the Nazis (or “German Fascists” as Katz called them in conformity with Comintern practice, which forbade the use of the term Nazi), portrayed the KPD as the only genuine anti-fascist force in Germany, and featured a savage attack on the S.P.D, who The Brown Book labeled “Social Fascists” and accused the entire membership of the S.P.D of secretly working in close collaboration with the Nazis. The second section, featured numerous examples of Nazi terror directed against Communists, but completely ignored non-Communist victims of Nazi terror: no mention is made of non-Communist Nazi victims, and likewise, the persecution of the Jews is totally ignored. The impression The Brown Book gives is that Communists and Communists alone are victims of Nazism. In addition, the second section deals with the Reichstag fire, which is described as a Nazi plot to frame the Communists, who are represented as the most dedicated opponents of Nazism. The third section deals with the supposed puppet masters behind the Nazis, who Katz quoting anti-Semitic remarks by Vladimir Lenin about middle-class Jews, described as a cabal of Jewish bankers. Both books are today widely seen as totally worthless by historians, with particular criticism focusing on the last chapter of the first Brown Book where it was claimed that Hitler was a merely a front-man for a group of international Jewish bankers, and that Nazi antisemitism was just a ruse to disguise that it was Jewish bankers who really ruled Nazi Germany. The Comintern (Russian: Коммунистический Интернационал, Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional – Communist International, also known as the Third International) was an international Communist organization founded in March 1919, in the midst of the war communism period (1918-1921), by Vladimir Lenin and the Russian Communist Party (Bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including... SPD redirects here. ... “Lenin” redirects here. ... Antisemitism (alternatively spelled anti-semitism or anti-Semitism) is discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed at Jews[1] as a religious, racial, or ethnic group. ...


Footnote

  1. ^ Tobias, Fritz, The Reichstag Fire. New York: Putnam, 1964, pages 26-28.
  2. ^ Snyder, Louis, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976, pp. 286-287
  3. ^ Snyder, Louis, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976, p. 288
  4. ^ Snyder, Louis, Encyclopedia of the Third Reich. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976, pp. 288-289
  5. ^ Snyder, Louis Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976, p. 289
  6. ^ Dutch Council Communism and Van der Lubbe
  7. ^ Mommsen, Hans, "The Reichstag Fire and its Political Consequences", from Republic to Reich The Making of the Nazi Revolution, edited by Hajo Holborn. New York: Pantheon Books, 1972, p. 144
  8. ^ Sefton Delmer's account of the Reichstag fire
  9. ^ Snyder, Louis Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976, pp. 287-288
  10. ^ Shirer, William, "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". New York: Touchstone, 1959, p. 193.
  11. ^ Nuremberg Trial Proceedings, Volume 9, March 18, 1946.
  12. ^ Tobias, Fritz, The Reichstag Fire. New York: Putnam, 1964, p. 120.
  13. ^ Tobias, Fritz, The Reichstag Fire. New York: Putnam, 1964, pp. 122-126.
  14. ^ Costello, John, Mask of Treachery. London: William Collins & Sons Ltd, 1988, p. 296

is the 77th day of the year (78th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full 1946 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  • Kershaw, Ian Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris, London, 1998.
  • Mommsen, Hans "The Reichstag Fire and Its Political Consequences" pages 129-222 from Republic to Reich The Making of the Nazi Revolution edited by Hajo Holborn, New York: Pantheon Books, 1972: originally published as "Der Reichstagsbrand und seine politischen Folgen" pages 351-413 from Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, Volume 12, 1964.
  • Synder, Louis Encyclopedia of the Third Reich, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976.
  • Tobias, Fritz The Reichstag Fire, translated From German by Arnold J. Pomerans with an introduction by A.J.P. Taylor, New York, Putnam 1964, 1963.

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