Growth of the Nazi Party: The Reichstag Fire Edexcel History 2A


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Prompt words

  • February 27th 1933
  • Marius van der Lubbe.
  • Communist.
  • Rule by decree.
  • Police force controlled.
  • Emergency powers
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·         The Reichstag building was destroyed by a massive fire in February 27th.

·         A young Dutchman- Lubbe- was caught on the site with matches and firelighters. He was a known communist with mental health problems-schizoprenia. He claimed he had acted alone.

·         He and four others were arrested but only he was found guilty in trial. He was executed.

·         Hitler saw the fire as an opportunity to attack the communists.

·         Nazi chief of police Herman Goering claimed that the fire was part of a communist conspiracy against the government.

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  • Afterwards, Hitler issued a decree giving him the power to suspend civil rights of German citizens, imprison political opponents and ban communist newspapers.
  • In the electrion afterwards, Nazi seats rose to 288; Hitler had used his emergency powers to ban 81 communist seats. Now he had two-thirds majority, enough to change the constitution with support of other nationalist parties.
  • Hitler used the fire to persuade Hindenburg to decree a state of emergency, giing Hitler the power to rule by decree.
  • Now he controlled the police force, he could get them to turn a blind eye to SA activity. There were violent clashes during elections which resulted in 70 deaths.
  • The fire was used as an excuse to arrest many members of the communist party including Ernst Thalmann, the leader of the communist party.
  • He also persuaded Krupp and other industrialists to finance the Nazi campaign- 3 millions marks were donated in just one meeting.
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