Tuesday, 10 January 2012

On this day in history – 1934


10th January – The man found guilty of setting the Reichstag Fire on 27th February 1933, Marinus van der Lubbe, was executed. His show trial in September 1933 with four Communists, arrested in a nationwide sweep of Communists after the fire, was an unconvincing attempt by the Nazis to lay the blame on the Communists. The four co-defendants were found not guilty, but were then re-arrested by the Gestapo, whose leader Herman Goring was allegedly convinced of their guilt.
The fire allowed the Nazis to issue the Emergency Decree for the Protection of People & State (a large step forward in their takeover of the German state) on 28th February 1933.
The fire had probably been set by van der Lubbe an unemployed Communist bricklayer, but it is unknown whether he had assistance in setting the fire & accessing the building. The day the trial started the head of the Berlin SA Karl Ernst boasted that it was he who started the Reichstag fire.

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