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Interpretations of the Reichstag Fire.

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7) Study the following interpretations of the Reichstag Fire. i) Van der Lubbe was a madman, and he set fire to the Reichstag all by himself, but the Nazis genuinely believed the fire was the start of a Communist uprising. ii) The Reichstag Fire was started by the Nazis to give them an excuse to take emergency powers and lock up or kill the Communists. Van der Lubbe was used by the Nazis. Which interpretation is best supported by the evidence in these sources and your knowledge of the period? Explain your answer. It's difficult to incline the balance to any of both interpretations because both of them have evidence to backup them. Source A for instance, supports the first interpretation, it suggests that Lubbe acted a lone and Diels to backup his words tells that it would be easily set the fire because the old furniture, dry wood, and heavy curtains would made the fire spread rapidly, while Lubbe could be starting fires elsewhere in the building running through the long corridors. ...read more.


Anyway, he also could be lying show the reliability here is very questionable, he could be telling that for saving himself, to revenge on him. However, it was at Hitler's birthday, so Goring could been easily drunk and say that in a joke (despite there was the possibility that the alcohol could make say what he shouldn't say). Goring in Source F describes of "ridiculous" the statement before, he could be telling the truth and said that in sense of a joke while he was drunk, which explains why he didn't remember nothing he said, so maybe the two are telling the truth - Halder could take too seriously what for Goring was a joke while he was drunk to make some fun on Hitler's birthday. However it Halder was telling the truth and Goring said that seriously its obvious that Goring would have defend himself as shown in Source F. Most likely Halder could misunderstand Goring's joke so the value of his evidence could hardly support the second statement. ...read more.


The most important thing is the weight and reliability that each source have, and all of them have reasons to not be true. For my interpretation of the sources and my knowledge it would be more likely that the Nazis took part in the fire. The first statement isn't very well supported because despite the evidence in their favour (such the fact that the fire could be spread very rapidly due to the materials inside) Van der Lubbe couldn't make such a high damage and devastation as shown in source J, it's very hard to believe that all that damage could be done a person who hardly had any time (before being caught), who didn't have any knowledge of the place, and who had a severe sight problem and so mentally ones. The curious thing that makes you think is that the fire was made just one week before the elections, very possibly the Nazis could have planned the fire as an excuse to use the emergency powers, by blaming the Communists of an uprising and so crushing the opposition in favour for their elections. Because we got to remember that Hitler's greatest fear at that time was the Communism. ...read more.

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