The Reichstag Fire

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 May 2011 15:11

if I feel the need, I will provide a source to back a specific claim, but so far nobody has yet managed to dispute a single, specific fact.
If you don't feel the need, as required in the Forum rules, be equally prepared to be laughed out of court...
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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by bolchevik » 01 May 2011 15:38

J. Duncan wrote:Here is an account by an eyewitness of the event, one Sefton Delmer, who writes about "who" is responsible for the fire and "why" he feels that way. His dialogue with the Nazi leaders just after the fire, their responses to it, and his perusal of the evidence he had seen. Below link is an actual first-hand "source" for perusal. At the time, the democratic / communist world said the Nazis had started it, whilst the Nazis themselves said it was the work of the Communists. Both sides of the argument tried to make political capital from the episode. Delmer believed it was the work of a single man, Marinus Van Der Lubbe, which went against the grain of both those current views. Delmer examined the evidence himself and thought the Nazis were overplaying it since what he saw implied that it could have easily been the handiwork of one man - a lot of petrol soaked rags draped over furniture. As for Douglas Reed, although he made it into the Reichstag building, he was thrown out immediatley by the Nazis upon their arrival and couldn't have had much of a chance to see anything or ask too many questions except of those who were in the street. Delmer was with the Nazi entourage (although he says Göring would have preferred him thrown out as well), but Hitler liked Delmer, so he was allowed to stay and move with them on their tour of inspection. He therefore had plenty of time with which to study the situation, ask questions of eye-witnesses, and observe the Nazi leaders' reactions. See link below from a chapter to Sefton Delmer's book "Trail Sinister".

http://www.heretical.com/miscella/reichstg.html
I doubt of the value of this text since on the same site we can find antisemit text and its symbol is the nazi swastika....

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by J. Duncan » 01 May 2011 20:30

The chapter of a book is still a chapter of a book no matter who posts it. "Trail Sinister" by Sefton Delmer (secker and warburg, 1961). The website itself is conglomeration of crap for sure, but several chapters from Delmer's book are posted, including one concerning Ernst Röhm as well as one depicting the "Vampire of Düsseldorf" Peter Kürten. Delmer's book is objective in many ways. I do not think anyone can conclusively PROVE that the Nazis did it (post previous was nothing but opinion, again, without any sources). History still sways towards Van Der Lubbe and until someone comes up with an actual proof, Tobia's account (and Delmer's) will remain the most definitive.
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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by J. Duncan » 01 May 2011 21:01

From wikpedia "Reichstag Fire" ; section on M. v Lubbe. Notice the Ian Kershaw quote at top, and Der Speigel's at bottom.

Dispute about van der Lubbe's role in the Reichstag fire
Memorial at the Südfriedhof in LeipzigAccording to Ian Kershaw, writing in 1998, the consensus of nearly all historians is that Van der Lubbe did, in fact, set the Reichstag fire.[11] Although Van der Lubbe was certainly an arsonist, and clearly played a role, there has been considerable popular and scientific debate over whether he acted alone. The case is still actively discussed.

Considering the speed with which the fire engulfed the building, van der Lubbe's reputation as a mentally disturbed arsonist hungry for fame, and cryptic comments by leading Nazi officials, it was generally believed at the time that the Nazi hierarchy was involved for political gain. Most historians[who?] today state that van der Lubbe acted alone, and the Reichstag fire was merely a stroke of good luck for the Nazis.[12] It is alleged that the idea he was a "half-wit" or "mentally disturbed" was propaganda spread by the Dutch Communist party to distance themselves from an insurrectionist anti-fascist who was once a member of the party and took action where they failed to do so.[13] The historian Hans Mommsen concluded that the Nazi leadership[clarification needed]was in a state of panic the night of the Reichstag fire, and they seemed to have regarded the Reichstag fire as a confirmation that a Communist revolution was as imminent as they had said it was.[14]

British reporter Sefton Delmer witnessed the events of that night firsthand, and his account of the fire provides a number of details. Delmer reports Hitler arriving at the Reichstag and appearing genuinely uncertain how it had begun and concerned that a Communist coup was about to be launched. Delmer himself viewed van der Lubbe as being solely responsible, but that the Nazis sought to make it appear to be a "Communist gang" who set the fire, whereas the Communists sought to make it appear that van der Lubbe was working for the Nazis, each side constructing a plot-theory in which the other was the villain.[15]

In 1960, Fritz Tobias, a West German left-leaning[verification needed] (SPD) public servant and part-time historian published a series of articles in Der Spiegel, later turned into a book, in which he argued that van der Lubbe had acted alone.[16] At the time, Tobias was widely attacked for his articles, which showed that van der Lubbe was a pyromaniac with a long history of burning down buildings or attempting to burn down buildings. In particular, Tobias established that van der Lubbe had attempted to burn down a number of buildings in the days prior to February 27. In March 1973, the Swiss historian Walter Hofer organized a conference intended to rebut the claims made by Tobias. At the conference, Hofer claimed to have found evidence that some of the detectives who had investigated the fire may have been Nazis. Mommsen commented on Hofer's claims by stating, "Professor Hofer's rather helpless statement that the accomplices of van der Lubbe 'could only have been Nazis' is tacit admission that the committee did not actually obtain any positive evidence in regard to the alleged accomplices' identity."[17]

In contrast, in 1946, Hans Gisevius, a former member of the Gestapo, indicated that the Nazis were the actual arsonists.[18] Accordingly, Karl Ernst by order of possibly Goebbels collected a commando of SA men headed by Heini Gewehr who set the fire. Among them was a criminal named Rall who later made a (suppressed) confession before he was murdered by the Gestapo. Almost all participants were murdered in the Night of the Long Knives; Gewehr later died in the war.[18] New work by two German authors, Bahar and Kugel, has revived the theory that the Nazis were behind the fire. It uses Gestapo archives held in Moscow and only available to researchers since 1990. They argue that the fire was almost certainly started by the Nazis, based on the wealth of circumstantial evidence provided by the archival material. They say that a commando group of at least three and at most ten SA men led by Hans Georg Gewehr set the fire using self-lighting incendiaries and that van der Lubbe was brought to the scene later.[19] Der Spiegel published a 10-page response to the book, arguing that the thesis that van der Lubbe acted alone remains the most likely explanation.[20]

This article may be expanded with text translated from the

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by phylo_roadking » 01 May 2011 22:42

British reporter Sefton Delmer witnessed the events of that night firsthand, and his account of the fire provides a number of details. Delmer reports Hitler arriving at the Reichstag and appearing genuinely uncertain how it had begun and concerned that a Communist coup was about to be launched. Delmer himself viewed van der Lubbe as being solely responsible, but that the Nazis sought to make it appear to be a "Communist gang" who set the fire, whereas the Communists sought to make it appear that van der Lubbe was working for the Nazis, each side constructing a plot-theory in which the other was the villain.
"Tom" Delmer of the "flying circus" of foreign correspondents that swarmed around Berlin and who was summoned to the Reichstag that night by "Putzi" Hanfstaengel saw Hitler and Goebbels arriving - there had been a party at Goebbels' residence that evening; He was there when Göring reproted to them on their arrival that they had caught one of the incendiaries, and that the Communist Deputies had been ahving a meeting in the building twenty minutes before the fire broke out. He asked to accompany the party as they ended the undamaged wing of the building....but after they met von Papen and he departed to brief Hindenburg Delmer wasn't as close to subsequent events as Rudolf Diels, first head of the Gestapo was :wink: Diels joined the party at this point...

Diels records in his diary he had interrogated van der Lubbe and the latter had claimed he had acted alone, and denied he had been part of any conspiracy or plot....but he didn't offfer his report because he realised it wouldn;t be accepted in the genral mood of anti-Communism being expressed vociferously and that Delmer reported afterwards. Everyone believed a Communist uprising was imminent, and Diels....whose boss at that point Göring still was ;)...was instead busy transcribing all the orders Göring was yelling at him. Then Martin Sommerfeldt arrived, a German reporter and now Göring's press secretary - and he took down the details of what had happened from Göring and others...

A theology student walking home had seen a single intruder entering the Reichstag through a broken window, but by the time he found a police constable the fire had been ignited. It was Diels' opinion that the Communists were behind it, but stressed to Sommerfeldt that van der Lubbe was still being interrogated at that point. Göring then took Sommerfeldt's first report draft off him and demanded it be re-written as if the fire had been started by a group of Communists as the start of a popular uprising, greatly exaggerating the amount of combustibles found on Lubbe's person in the the process to the point that it ONLY could have been carried by a group :wink:

When Sommerfeldt emerged from Göring's Reichstag office, Diels asked him what all the yelling was about.....and was handed Göring's rewritten report of the incident for press release.

Diels' reaction was -

"You can't have written this..."

"Only one word is mine" replied Sommerfeldt: ""And"" :lol:

So if anything it instead seems as if the attribution of the fire to a group of Communists was the fabrication; Van Der Lubbe WAS seen breaking and entering, and WAS found with 10lbs of combustibles on his person. The involvement of others in the plot was Göring's invention on the night.
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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by bolchevik » 01 May 2011 23:02

J. Duncan wrote:The chapter of a book is still a chapter of a book no matter who posts it. "Trail Sinister" by Sefton Delmer (secker and warburg, 1961). The website itself is conglomeration of crap for sure, but several chapters from Delmer's book are posted, including one concerning Ernst Röhm as well as one depicting the "Vampire of Düsseldorf" Peter Kürten. Delmer's book is objective in many ways. I do not think anyone can conclusively PROVE that the Nazis did it (post previous was nothing but opinion, again, without any sources). History still sways towards Van Der Lubbe and until someone comes up with an actual proof, Tobia's account (and Delmer's) will remain the most definitive.
1-I find it scary to trust in a website who publish antisemitic texts... Do you have the proof that the text is really the one written by Delmer ?
I must add that Sefton Delmer might not be the "perfect witness"... at this time he was friend of nazi Ernst Röhm, and was the first to interview Adolf Hitler. I doubt that we could say "he was perfectly neutral". Sorry.

2-excuse-me, but from which wikipedia have you copied your last post please ?

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by J. Duncan » 01 May 2011 23:52

I have the book so the text is correct. The book is not posted anywhere in it's entirety (that I know of). The wikipedia is the standard one off of a simple google search. All I'm saying is that the debate continues to today and that the "expert" consensus is still towards what Fritz Tobias's research suggested in the 1960's - that Lubbe acted alone. True, Delmer liked Ernst Röhm and he writes this in his book (said chapter makes for juicy reading as it discloses some of Röhm's nightclub behaviour, replete with an SA trooper dressed in drag). So, he "liked" an individual Nazi so therefore anything he says is useless? On that basis, I should discredit anyone's testimony simply because they may "like" a particular COMMUNIST individual? That's ridiculous reasoning. Delmer liked Röhm for his honesty and open-mindedness, and one could gather, from his rebelliosness towards Hitler. No, Delmer wasn't a big fan of the Nazis as a whole. Also, Delmer wrote his memoirs in 1961. "Trail" was volume 1. Volume 2 was "Black Boomerang" and Delmer served in British Secret Services in it's Black Propaganda Unit, smearing the Nazis in the vilest and most bestial way, through their sexuality. Delmer was also on the SS-GB list of those to be eliminated upon the invasion of Great Britain. Delmer was no friend of Hitler's. In 1961, it would have been easy for him to continue to smear the Nazis further with accusations of setting the fire. He did not. I found Phylo's analysis above most enlightening. I really wish someone would translate Diel's book "Lucifer Ante Portas" into English! He was a man who knew a lot during those early years of '33-'34.
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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by J. Duncan » 02 May 2011 00:33

Bizzie
You don't need to quote the rules at me. I am well aware of them. The fact of the matter is, it is not enough to quote sources, they have to be the right kind of sources. Now if J Duncan wants a source to show that the Nazis defintely lit the fire, then all he need do is look at the facts, which speak for themselves, or he can read a modern history of the Nazi rise to power. No single source is going to give him the answer he seeks.
"No single source is going to give him the answer he seeks". That's because there isn't any for your side of the argument. Tobias is THE single source thus far which is why so many historians use him. He did the footwork "using a variety of sources" as you say, and he probably used Demler and Diels as part of his research (I would have to check to be sure, but it makes sense that he would have, as their books came out prior to his).

Now that you have seen some examples of "sources provided", why don't you do the same?

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by bolchevik » 02 May 2011 01:15

1-Sorry J. Duncan, you can't compare nazis to liberal democrats... this comparison is "ridiculous" (to repeat your word). And you can't say Röhm was "open-minded" and "honest"... he just liked to crush some jaws and skulls of his enemies (especially jews and communists), wasn't afraid of threatening and killing...that's why he created the SA... so he wasn't a good guy... sorry to have to repeat it... He was among the toughest of the nazis... It's just his power that push Hitler to kill him (long knives night) ; he was the mentor of Hitler during 20's.
2-I know that Delmer was member of british propaganda system... but it was AFTER 1933, during the war... long time after Reichstag Fire... It's obvious that in his book written in 1961 Delmer would not say "i liked nazis specially Hitler in 1933" even if he really did... so i don't think his testimony written 30 years after the facts should be considered as valuable as you do.

3-you copied it from english wikipedia, that's just i wanted to know. Thank you.

4-As you know, there is no consensus on the question of the Reichstag Fire (as so many other historical questions). There is different versions ; but the truth is one. Which one ? Historians who argue that VDL acted alone are just not serious at all ! How could a man alone burn the entire Reichstag ? How could a single man burn such a big building with 10 L of oil ? Excuse me this is just non-sense. The simple common-sense push us to reject this "explanation".

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by phylo_roadking » 02 May 2011 02:28

And you can't say Röhm was "open-minded" and "honest"... he just liked to crush some jaws and skulls of his enemies (especially jews and communists), wasn't afraid of threatening and killing...that's why he created the SA... so he wasn't a good guy... sorry to have to repeat it... He was among the toughest of the nazis... It's just his power that push Hitler to kill him (long knives night) ; he was the mentor of Hitler during 20's.
It's entirely possible to be open-minded, honest....AND thoroughly evil! Honesty isn't a measure of good or evil.
How could a man alone burn the entire Reichstag ? How could a single man burn such a big building with 10 L of oil ? Excuse me this is just non-sense.
In the era BEFORE it was mandatory to have flame-retardent furniture? In a structure with a large amount of aged wood in its fabric? Not to mention flammable furnishings? Even the science and technology of firefighting took great leaps forward as a result of WWII...

The fire took hours to build from small beginnings to its height - remember, Hitler, Göring, Goebbels, von Papen, Diels, Delmer, dozens of firemen etc. were INSIDE the building for many hours before it reached its height. In fact, the fire lasted over a day, from the police constable calling the fire in at 9.14PM on February 27th to ~11.30PM on the 28th!

There's a lot of flammable kapok-filled cushions and polished wood in there....

Image

...and of course lots and LOTS of paper....
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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by J. Duncan » 02 May 2011 09:08

Bolchevik - I did not compare Nazis to liberal democrats but simply was trying to illustrate the absurdity of discounting an entire testimony because of a "like" for an individual. By the way, I changed "liberal democrat" to something more comparative (one you might better understand) to Communist :lol: I also did not say that Röhm was open minded but rather stated a suspicion, based upon the read chapter on Röhm, that Delmer felt that he was.

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by bolchevik » 02 May 2011 12:03

J. Duncan wrote:Bolchevik - I did not compare Nazis to liberal democrats but simply was trying to illustrate the absurdity of discounting an entire testimony because of a "like" for an individual. By the way, I changed "liberal democrat" to something more comparative (one you might better understand) to Communist :lol: I also did not say that Röhm was open minded but rather stated a suspicion, based upon the read chapter on Röhm, that Delmer felt that he was.
1-Sorry but comparing nazis to their opposite (communists) is more ridiculous... communists were first victims of nazis and were their first and most virulent opponents.
2-The fact that Delmer found Röhm open-minded make him suspect.

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by bolchevik » 02 May 2011 12:32

phylo_roadking wrote:It's entirely possible to be open-minded, honest....AND thoroughly evil! Honesty isn't a measure of good or evil.
Really ? You got to explain that to me...
In the era BEFORE it was mandatory to have flame-retardent furniture? In a structure with a large amount of aged wood in its fabric? Not to mention flammable furnishings? Even the science and technology of firefighting took great leaps forward as a result of WWII...

The fire took hours to build from small beginnings to its height - remember, Hitler, Göring, Goebbels, von Papen, Diels, Delmer, dozens of firemen etc. were INSIDE the building for many hours before it reached its height. In fact, the fire lasted over a day, from the police constable calling the fire in at 9.14PM on February 27th to ~11.30PM on the 28th!

There's a lot of flammable kapok-filled cushions and polished wood in there....

Image

...and of course lots and LOTS of paper....

French book, J. KERSAUDY Göring (2009) p.143-4 : (i translate) "at the evening of 27 february, just before 21h Reichstag begins to burn. (...) the fire is stopped about 23h" ; i conclude the fire stay alive during 2 hours only... not 21 hours !
Let's continue : "fire starts were so many and so spaced that it could be difficult to assume that one single man have triggered it ; secondly, key nazi leaders, immediately arrived on the scene, have been extraordinary quick to condemn a communist plot, and Hitler himself talked about "sign of Heaven""
Göring charged Sommerfeldt to write a report on the causes of the fire based on firefighters and policemen testimonies.
Sommerfeldt presented his report at 1h during the night. Göring took his report, then he overwrite with a big pencil while saying "50 kgs flammable materials ? 500, 5000 kgs !!!", he just substitued 5000 at 50... "One man ? It was 10, 20 men ! You dont want to understand that it's the Commune ! It's signal of communist rebellion ! (...) I will myself dictate the report. You can go." Sommerfeldt add that Göring dictate the report by watching an other paper written in advance... He adds that Göring multiplies all his numbers by ten...

It is clear that Reichstag Fire was commited by nazis. KERSAUDY thinks Göring was not in the plot in a footnote, but all he writes plea that he was ! KERSAUDY think Goebbels has made it. But i do think Goebbels and Göring and all nazi staff have made it... How could he explain the paper already written that inspires what Göring is dictating to his secretary for his official report ? It's simple and clear : Göring, Goebbels, all nazis leader knew what happened ; it was a "coup monté" to kill communist opposition definitely and to take full powers. And it worked !

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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by phylo_roadking » 02 May 2011 17:12

Let's continue : "fire starts were so many and so spaced that it could be difficult to assume that one single man have triggered it ; secondly, key nazi leaders, immediately arrived on the scene, have been extraordinary quick to condemn a communist plot, and Hitler himself talked about "sign of Heaven""
Göring charged Sommerfeldt to write a report on the causes of the fire based on firefighters and policemen testimonies.
Sommerfeldt presented his report at 1h during the night. Göring took his report, then he overwrite with a big pencil while saying "50 kgs flammable materials ? 500, 5000 kgs !!!", he just substitued 5000 at 50... "One man ? It was 10, 20 men ! You dont want to understand that it's the Commune ! It's signal of communist rebellion ! (...) I will myself dictate the report. You can go." Sommerfeldt add that Göring dictate the report by watching an other paper written in advance... He adds that Göring multiplies all his numbers by ten...
Exactly. Diels'account confirms that the "communist Plot" came out of Göring's head. Hitler wasn't "quick" to blame the Communists - both Tom Delmar's and Diels' account indicates that he only reacted to Göring's ranting on about them. When they met Von Papen in the building, Göring spoke up first about a Communist Plot, with Hitler merely agreeing with him. It was only after Von Papen left and the party retired to Göring's offices that Hitler began his normal ranting/falling silent/ranting/falling silent routine, aimed this time at the Communists. But it's clear he was reacting to Göring's earlier "report".

Hitler's "God-given sign" comment was made to Von Papen AFTER Göring had accused the Communist deputies of starting the fire to Von Papen. His next sentence was however - "If this fire, as I believe, is the work of Communists then we must crush out this murderous pest with an iron fist". But he didn't believe this UNTIL Göring had reported to him that the Communists had started the fire....and in turn Göring had said THAT because the Communist deoputies in the Reichstag had been holding a meeting twenty minutes before the fire broke out.

His opinion however doesn't gel with an intruder being observed entering the building - rather than being IN the bulding 20 mins already! - and said intruder being apprehended ion the Senate Hall in the possession of flammables and firestarting materiels.
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Re: The Reichstag Fire

Post by J. Duncan » 02 May 2011 20:37

The reasoning behind Bolchevik's argument over whether a testimony should be discounted or not based upon a person's "like" for an individual, an individual who may be associated with a particular group would totally discount his own argument about what Göring said or did in his particular book of reference, since afterall, Göring was a Nazi Party politico. So was Diels, who may not have been a member, but rather a fellow traveler who was working for them. On the basis of his argument, this would make ANY book written by Nazis or fellow travelers "suspect" in his eyes, but some obscure French biographer, probably using the Diels account no less to draw his "conclusions" - this is perfectly "ok"?? According to him, the Diels and Delmer accounts are irrevelant because of their supposed "affiliations". This makes them "suspect"? This I find ridiculous. As he would have it, only Communist accounts have any meaning, since they were the "victims" afterall. How absurd is that?? :? One might as well go back and accept the Second Brown Book as the "be all, end all" source for this topic. No, no, no.

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