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The Reichstag

Discussion in 'Prelude to War & Poland 1939' started by bedhead, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. bedhead

    bedhead New Member

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    I have a lot of questions about ww2. first is there any evidence that the Nazi's set fire to their own government building the Reichstag. so that Hitler could blame the Communist and bring upon a totalitarian state.
     
  2. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member Patron  

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    Still a debate.

    However, such a major event that launched the emergency decrees, elimination of the Communist party from German parliament and catapulted Hitler as sole dictator, seems very ironic. Van der Lubbe, IMO, clearly had a part in it, but the Nazi propaganda blaming the Communists was without merit. Van der Lubbe was either a patsy or in the wrong place at the right time for the Nazis. I lean towards Goering setting the whole thing in motion.
     
  3. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    You're asking the wrong questions.

    Already with the "Decree for the Protection of the German People" on February 4, 1933 placed constraints on the press and authorized the police to ban political meetings and marches, effectively hindering any electoral campaigning.

    New elections were to be held on the 5th of March.

    Where is the evidence that the Communists were planning an uprising to overthrow the state?

    Who gained the most from the fire?

    The subsequent Reichstag Fire Decree permitted the regime to arrest and incarcerate political opponents without specific charge, dissolve political organizations, and to suppress publications. It also gave the central government the authority to overrule state and local laws and overthrow state and local governments.

    At Nuremburg, Hans Bernd Gisevus implicated Göring and Goebbels in planning the fire.
    Rudolf Diels, head of the Gestapo in 1933-34 stated that Göring the fire was to start.
    Franz Halder said he heard Göring claim responsibility.
    Karl Ernst, a former bouncer at a gay bar, a SA-gruppenführer, was the SA leader in Berlin.

    It would seem Karl Ernst and ten cohorts spread accelerant in the building, then used Marinus van der Lubbe (a Dutch Communist) to start the fire. Karl Ernst was killed himself during the Night of the Long Knives, one of only 14 killed on the barrack grounds of the Leibstandarte Adolph Hitler.

    Transcript from the Nuremburg Trials (25th April, 1946, Day 114)

    MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: You have testified as to the investigations which you made when you were connected with the police administration and you mentioned the Reichstag fire but you did not tell us what your findings were when you investigated that. Will you please tell us?

    GISEVIUS: To speak briefly and to begin with the facts, we ascertained that Hitler in a general way had expressed a wish for a large-scale propaganda campaign. Goebbels undertook to prepare the necessary proposals and it was Goebbels who first thought of setting the Reichstag on fire. Goebbels discussed this with the leader of the Berlin SA Brigade, Karl Ernst, and he suggested in detail how it should be done.

    A certain chemical, known to every maker of fireworks, was chosen. After spraying it, it ignites after a certain time-hours or minutes. In order to get inside the Reichstag, one had to go through the corridor leading from the palace of the Reichstag President to the Reichstag itself. Ten reliable SA men were provided, and then Goering was informed of all the details of the plan, so that by chance he did not make an election speech on that particular evening, but at such a late hour would still be sitting at his desk in the Ministry of the Interior in Berlin.
    Goering-and he gave assurances that he would do so-was to put the police on wrong trails in the first confusion. From the very beginning it was intended that the Communists should be accused of this crime, and the 10 SA men who had to carry out the crime were instructed accordingly.
    That is, in a few words, the story of the events. To tell you how we got hold of the details, I have only to add that one of these 10 who had to spray the chemical was a notorious criminal. Six months later he was dismissed from the SA, and when he did not receive the reward which he had been promised he decided to tell what he knew to the Reich Court sitting in Leipzig at the time. He was taken before an examining magistrate who made a record of his statement, but the Gestapo heard of it and the letter to the Reich Court was intercepted and destroyed. The SA man, named Rall, who betrayed the plan, was murdered in a vile manner with the knowledge of the Defendant Goering, by order of Gestapo chief Diels. Through the finding of the body, we picked up the threads of the whole story.

    MR. JUSTICE JACKSON: What happened to the 10 SA men who carried out the Reichstag fire? Are any of them alive now?

    GISEVIUS: As far as we are aware none of them are still alive. Most of them were murdered on 30 June under the pretext of the Roehm revolt. Only one, a certain Heini Gewaehr, was taken over by the police as a police officer, and we tracked him down as well. He was killed in the war, while a police officer on the Eastern Front.
     
  4. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Welcome and an interesting question. I've asked for it to be moved to the appropriate subforum as it is an interesting topic with some good info already.
     
  5. green slime

    green slime Member Patron  

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    The criminal SA man Adolf Rall was a car thief.

    On April 11, 1933, Adolf Rall was sentenced to one year's imprisonment by the Landgericht III in Berlin for the theft of a Daimler limousine in Stuttgart on December 19, 1932.

    On 20 October 1933, a few days after the start of the "Reichstag Fire Trial", Rall, who at that time was in incarcerated, demanded to be brought before a judge, on the grounds that he would provide information of great importance in connection with the trial.

    Diels and Gisevius both stated that the logging official Karl Reineking had been briefly excluded previously from SA and may have been looking for ways to rehabilitate himself. Reineking therefore forewarned the Berlin SA leadership which became alarmed by the explosive allegations of Ralls: The SA-Gruppenführer Ernst then intercepted the protocol of the district court that the examining judge had sent.

    On October 27, Rall was in the Tegel prison when officials of the Gestapo picked up and transported him to the Secret State Police Office. There he was imprisoned for several days in the Gestapo's prison and repeatedly interrogated. Among others, Karl Reineking, who entered the secret state police at the end of October, was involved.

    On November 2, 1933 Ralls unclothed corpse was found with his skull bashed in and a bullet hole in the forehead near Strausberg , east of Berlin. Already on November 4 the Prussian Prime Minister Hermann Goering ordered the suppression of the proceedings initiated by the Prosecutor's Office "Ermittlungsverfahren gegen Unbekannt wegen Gefangenenbefreiung und Todschlag" (Investigation into unlnown persons for kidnapping and manslaughter".

    Rall's death was recorded on 7 November at the office in Grazau. In a letter from the Gestapo to the Tegel Penitentiary on November 25, 1933, it was officially announced that Rall had escaped from the Secret State Police at the Tegel Penitentiary on November 2, 1933, at 18:35, and then disappeared. Later in official documents, he said that he had used the transport for an escape attempt and had been shot.

    An investigation into the murder of Rall by the Berlin public prosecutor's office was discontinued without result in the 1960s, once the death of Reineking was determined (so that the proceedings against him had been automatically dropped) and no other suspects could be determined.

    Apparently Karl Reineking committed suicide at Dachau Concentration camp, on 2nd of June, 1936. He had been serving a six month sentence for insulting the Reich Minister for Church Affairs Hanns Kerrl.
     

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