• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Reichstag Fire

Extracts from this document...


The Reichstag Fire 1) Marinus Van der Lubbe's oral evidence at his trial is that he acted alone in starting the fire. That he was guilty there is little doubt. Not only did Rudolph Diels, the head of the Prussian political police, see him at the scene (after being arrested by Reichstag officials) but also Van der Lubbe proudly claimed responsibility for starting the fire at the trial. Rudolph Diels interviewed Van der Lubbe in the police headquarters on the evening of the fire. He formed the opinion that Van der Lubbe acted alone. Diels has stated that Van der Lubbe gave a series of confused stories. He also reported that Van der Lubbe was a madman. However, research into Van der Lubbe's background shows that he had a history of taking responsibility for things he had not done. While working for the Tielmann factory a strike broke out. Van der Lubbe claimed to the management to be the ringleader and offered to accept any punishment provided no one else was victimised even though he was far to inexperienced to have been seriously involved. ...read more.


Van der Lubbe confesses to Diel that he started other smaller fires in Berlin. Details provided by Van der Lubbe suggested that other communists helped him start those other fires and therefore following on from that Diel assumed that the there must have been assistance to Van Der Lubbe at the Rieichstag. There is no oral evidence from Van Der Lubbe at the trial that this was the case. 2) On the 27th February the Reichstag is empty as it had been in recess since December. At around 20:30 one of the caretakers checks the building and finds nothing unusual. At 20:50 a postman is passing the entrance to the session chamber and notices nothing unusual. At 21:05 a student sees a man carrying a burning brand on the first floor. By 21:14 the fire alarm is received by the local firestation and the firemen are in the building by 21:24 but fires are breaking out everywhere. At 21:27 there is a huge explosion and the great chamber is enveloped by flames. ...read more.


The cartoon shows Hindenburg handing over emergency powers and total dictatorship to Hitler by advising him to take advantage of the political situation. In contrast the cover of the book shows Van der Lubbe as part of an armed uprising. The cartoon in the British magazine is satire. This contrasts with the propaganda portrayed on the book cover. The Red Peril and the German book cover both agree that Hitler will be able to take total control of Germany because of the Reichstag fire. .................. 4) The Nazis wanted to blame the communists for the fire for political reasons. By blaming the communists for the fire the Reich president was able to pass a Decree for the Protection of People and State. The consequence of this was that the government were able to arrest leading communists and to ban them from the election campaign. The book was published in order try and convince people that the Nazis did not start the Reichstag fire. Another reason for publishing the book was to convince people to vote for the Nazis in the forthcoming election. The book, blaming the communists for starting the fire, gave Hitler the excuse for calling for new general elections in Germany ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Germany 1918-1939 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Germany 1918-1939 essays

  1. IGCSE History Coursework Assignment B - Source Analysis of the Reichstag Fire

    This uprising was also known as the January Uprising. It was a general strike that happened from the 5th of January to January 20th 1919. The KPD tried to take control of Berlin during. Obviously, Hitler was afraid that the KPD might have plans to conduct another putsch.

  2. Studies of Sources from the Reichstag Fire - who was responsible?

    Sources F and H can help to prove that Source E is reliable even though they are unreliable themselves. The evidence from General Franz Halder in his trial backs up the view of Rauschning as it states that 'Goering broke into the conversation and shouted: The only one who really

  1. History Coursework – the Reichstag Fire

    The right hand figure is Van der Lubbe and centred is the Reichstag building. The Nazis are obviously blaming the Communists for the fire as they're showing Van der Lubbe lighting matches over the burning building of the Reichstag. The two left hand figures are not wearing uniforms so are probably not Nazis or policemen.

  2. Modern World History Coursework - Reichstag Sourcework

    Rudolf Diels, the head of the Prussian political police at the time of the Reichstag fire, published his memoirs entitled 'Lucifer Ante Portas' in 1950. Although there is no questionable doubt that Diels was in fact at the scene and had full access to the evidence collected, it is still uncertain how valid and accurate this particular report is.

  1. GCSE History Coursework: Reichstag Fire 1) ...

    and it shows Hindenburg (then President of Germany) handing the 'Emergency Powers' to Hitler (then Chancellor of Germany) with an image of the burning Reichstag in the background. Both of the men are wearing Roman style togas, and the caption underneath the picture reads Hindenburg as saying 'This is a heaven-sent opportunity, my lad.

  2. The Reichstag Fire

    Source A2 is an extract from the 25 point programme which was issued in 1921. It explains why the Nazis were so popular in the early years: - They demanded for the abolition of the treaty of Versailles which appealed to the public because he felt humiliated by it.

  1. The Reichstag Fire-Coursework B

    Therefore lots could have been made up. However, he might have kept a diary or got information off of police records. He wrote this book in later life to make himself look important and to impress his Nazis bosses. This book came to light at the time of the Nuremberg trials.

  2. Analysis of the Sources on the Reichstag Fire.

    With a firelighter he had set the chamber a flame. Then he had rushed through the big corridors with his burning shirt which he brandished in his right hand like a torch. During the hectic activity he was overpowered by Reichstag officials.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work