marinus van der lubbe

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February 27th 1933: Reichstag fire

On this day in 1933, the Reichstag building in Berlin, which housed the German Parliament, was set on fire. The Nazi government of Adolf Hitler then ordered a thorough hunt to track down the arsonist. The police identified the perpetrator as Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist; he and four other Communist leaders were arrested for their supposed role in the blaze. The Nazis used the event as evidence of a Communist plot in Germany, and Hitler urged President Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to counter the Communist threat. This Reichstag Fire Decree gave Hitler considerable powers, and is considered a pivotal moment in Hitler’s consolidation of power into a one-party dictatorship. Van der Lubbe was found guilty and executed by guillotine on January 10th 1934. However, his role has been questioned by historians with some even suggesting he was not responsible and that the fire was ordered by the Nazis themselves.

The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building (German parliament) in Berlin on February 27, 1933. The Nazis stated that Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutch council communist, had been caught at the scene of the fire, and he was arrested for the crime. Van der Lubbe was an unemployed bricklayer who had recently arrived in Germany. The Nazis stated that van der Lubbe had declared that he had started the fire. Van der Lubbe was tried and sentenced to death. The fire was used as evidence by the Nazi Party that communists were plotting against the German government. The event is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany.

Adolf Hitler, who had been sworn in as Chancellor of Germany on January 30, urged President Paul von Hindenburg (President of the Weimar Republic) to pass an emergency decree, the Reichstag Fire Decree, to suspend civil liberties in order to counter the ruthless confrontation of the Communist Party of Germany; under the decree, most civil liberties in Germany, including habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, and the secrecy of the post and telephone were suspended and were never again renewed under the Nazi regime.

After passing the decree, the government instituted mass arrests of communists, including all of the Communist Party parliamentary delegates. With their bitter rival communists gone and their seats empty, the Nazi Party went from being a plurality party to the majority, thus enabling Hitler to consolidate his power through the passage of the Enabling Act, a special law that gave the Chancellor the power to pass laws by decree, without the involvement of the Reichstag; the Nazis devised the Enabling Act to gain complete political power without the need of the support of a majority in the Reichstag and without the need to bargain with their coalition partners.

The measure went into force on March 27, 1933, and, in effect, made Hitler dictator of Germany. [x]

Germany 1918-1939 (Dawn of the Third Reich)

To any student sitting their History GCSE exam like me in the next month or so, this may prove helpful! I wrote it up in class, using my textbook to get the correct dates.

1918
January:
Wilson’s 14 Points announced
November: Kaiser Wilhelm abdicated the throne of Germany
November: Armistice was signed and World War 1 officially ended.

1919
January:
Sparticist Revolt. Led by Rosa Luxembourg and Karl Liebknecht. Stopped by the Freikorps. Luxembourg and Liebknecht murdered.
February: Friedrich Ebert declared first President of the Weimar Republic.
June 28th: Treaty of Versailles signed by all parties. Formally ends the war.
September:
Hitler joins the German Workers’ Party in Munich.

1920
March:
Kapp Putsch. Led by Dr. Wolfgang Kapp. Seized the city of Berlin. Ebert called a general strike which crippled the putsch. Kapp fled but was captured later, died in custody from cancer.

1922
June 24th:
German foreign minister Walter Rathenau is assassinated by terrorist group Organisation Consul.
December 27th: French and Belgian troops invade and occupy the Ruhr after Germany fails to make reparations payments. Over 100 civilians die as Ebert calls for passive resistance. Ebert begins printing money to cover the cost of supporting expelled civilians.

1923
October:
Hyperinflation begins gripping the German economy. Prices soar.
November 8th-9th: National Socialist party (Nazis) launch the Munich Putsch in an attempt to seize the Bavarian (Munich) government. Put down by police and army units. Hitler, Ludendorff and Rohm arrested. Hitler sentenced (February 24th 1924) to 5 years imprisonment in Landsberg prison.

1924
December 20th:
Hitler released from Landsberg prison after serving less than a year of his sentence.

1925
February 25th:
President Ebert dies in office. Hindenburg replaces him.
May: Hitler orders the formation of the Schutzstaffel (SS)
May 22nd: Hitler becomes the leader of the Nazi party.

1926
October:
The Hitler Youth is formally established.

1929
October 24th:
The Wall Street stock exchange in New York city crashes, forcing America and the majority of the major powers into the Great Depression. The number of seats in the Reichstag for the Nazi party increase as Hitler begins winning Germany over.

1930
January:
Ernst Rohm becomes the leader of the SA – the Sturmabteilung.
July:  League of German Girls is established.

1932
July:
The Nazi Party becomes the biggest political party in the Reichstag.
August 30th:
Hermann Goering, Hitler’s deputy, is elected president of the Reichstag.
December 3rd:
Kurt von Schleicher instated as chancellor.

1933
January 27th:
Kurt von Schleicher resigns as chancellor.
January 30th: Hitler is elected as chancellor.
February 27th: Reichstag fire. Communist revolutionaries like Marinus van der Lubbe are blamed.
March 23rd: Enabling Act is passed. Gives Hitler the power to pass laws without Hindenburg.
July: The Nazi Party declared the only official party. All others illegalised
July 20th: Hitler agrees to leave the Catholic churches alone. They agree to stay out of politics.
October 14th: Germany withdraws from the League of Nations.
November 30th:
Goering forms the Gestapo.

1934
June 30th:
Night of the Long Knives. Ernst Rohm assassinated, as are many politicl opponents or threats to Hitler’s power.
August 2nd: President Hindenburg dies. Hitler becomes Fuhrer.

1936
March 7th:
Hitler orders the remilitarisation of the Rhinelands, against the Treaty of Versailles.
July 22nd: Hitler pledges support to General Franco of Spain for the civil war. Tested out new military weapons.
August 1st: Berlin Olympic Games. All Anti-Jewish propaganda removed.
October 25th: Hitler and Mussolini form the Rome-Berlin Axis.
November 25th: Germany, Japan, and later Italy, form the Anti-Comintern Pact.

1938
March 13th:
Germany achieves Anschluss with Austria, defying the Versailles treaty.
November 9th: Kristallnacht (Crystal Night, The Night of Broken Glass). Mass destruction of Jewish property and shops. Over 1,000 Jewish men arrested.

1939
January 5th:
Hitler declares the Polish city of Danzig to be “German” and will “again be part of Germany.”
May 22nd: The Pact of Steel strengthens the German-Italian alliance.
August 23rd: Nazi-Soviety Non-Aggression Pact signed. Contained a plan to divide and invade Poland.
September 1st: Nazi forces invade Poland from the west and triggers World War II when Britain pledges support to the Polish.

3

February 27th 1933: Reichstag fire

On this day in 1933 the Reichstag building in Berlin, which housed the German Parliament, was set on fire. The Nazi government of Adolf Hitler then ordered a thorough hunt to track down the arsonist. The police identified the perpetrator as Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist; he and four other Communist leaders were arrested for their supposed role in the blaze. The Nazis used the event as evidence of a Communist plot in Germany, and Hitler urged President Hindenburg to pass an emergency decree to counter the Communist threat . This Reichstag Fire Decree gave Hitler considerable powers, and is considered a pivotal moment in Hitler’s consolidation of power into a one-party dictatorship. Van der Lubbe was found guilty and executed by guillotine on January 10th 1934. However, his role has been questioned by historians with some even suggesting he was not responsible and that the fire was ordered by the Nazis themselves.