Who Burned Down the Reichstag

Essay by Duncan MitchellCollege, UndergraduateA-, December 1997

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On the cold, blustery evening of February 27,1933, a week before

the end of a bitter campaign especially between the nazi's and the

communists, the Reichstag building was burnt to the ground. A half

witted Dutchmen, Van Der Lubbe was arrested and shot for the

crime of arson, though it is unlikely that he had the intelligence or

the equipment to start such an effective fire in a public building.

The burning took place a week before polling day. People

thought to themselves that it was a communist crime against the

new government but no one can be sure.There are explanations of

this fire, 2 of which are:

* It was caused by Van Der Lubbe and communists, and,

* It was caused by Van Der Lubbe and a group of nazi's under

the order of Georing.

A timetable of the events on the night of the fire goes as follows:

9:03 - A man is seen entering into the Reichstag, through a

broken window.

9:08 - A policeman sees a shadowy figure inside, and flames.

9:15 - A shot is fired at the intruder.

9:22 - Police enter the building.

9:27 - Police arrest Marinus Van Der Lubbe inside the building.

9:35 - Police search a tunnel connecting with the Reichstag with

other buildings, including Herman Georings offices, on Georings

orders. All doors are found to be locked and secured.Van Der

Lubbe is interviewed by police. He admits to starting the fire and is


Shortly after the arrest Van der lubbe gave a statement, he

considered arson a suitable method and he insisted that his

actions were inspired by political motives.

A summary or evidence of lighting the fire was given at his

trial, this discusses to a greater detail the actions of van der lubbe...