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Notes and Reflections on Books and Media

by Hannah Leitheiser

Burning of the Reichstag

The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany

William L. Shirer




- William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany (1960)

Hitler had been elected Chancellor of a German republic. He was subordinate to their President. In 1933 the Reichstag caught fire. The Nazi's regarded this as a communist terrorist attack. Hitler got the president to pass the Reichstag Fire Decree which suspended rights and allowed Hitler to arrest the communist leaders and some of the Democratic Republicans -- which formed the Nazi's two main opposition parties. Hitler then convinced the President to sign an amendment to the constitution that would enable Hitler to act as autocrat in this time of emergency. This required a vote, but as most of Hitler's opposition had been arrested in connection with the terrorism, it passed.

There's still controversy but some modern authors find circumstantial evidence that if the Nazi's didn't actually set the fire, they at least set it up so it would spread quickly through the large building.

Original Image By Avda /, CC BY-SA 3.0