February 27th 1933: Reichstag fire

Onthis day in 1933, the Reichstag building in Berlin, whichhoused the German Parliament, was set on fire. The Nazi government ofAdolf Hitler then ordered a thorough hunt to track down the arsonist.The policeidentified the perpetrator as Marinus van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist;he and four other Communist leaders were arrested for their supposedrole in the blaze. The Nazis used theevent as evidence of a Communist plot in Germany, and Hitler urgedPresidentHindenburg to pass an emergency decree to counter the Communist threat.This Reichstag Fire Decree gave Hitler considerable powers, and isconsidered a pivotal moment in Hitler’s consolidation of power into aone-party dictatorship. Van der Lubbe was found guiltyand executed by guillotine on January 10th 1934. However, his role hasbeen questioned by historians with some even suggesting he was notresponsible and that the fire was ordered by the Nazis themselves.

#picturethis: 1933: Reichstag fire