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1933 - Reichstag Fire

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Title: 1933 - Reichstag Fire


About: Having pinned the blame for the Reichstag Fire on communists, Adolf Hitler used it as a pretext to seize almost unlimited power, setting the stage for the rise of the Nazis.


In the chaotic political landscape of post-war Germany, the Nazis had gradually grown in power and influence, aligning themselves with other right-leaning factions and working their way up to 33 percent of the vote. Although they were unable to reach a full majority, Hitler had been made Chancellor, they had seized various positions in local governments, infiltrated the police and established their own paramilitary force in the SA. This was more than enough to move against their key opponents, the Communist party, who they accused of seditious activities and planning to attack public buildings.

On the night of February 27, pedestrians near the Reichstag heard the sound of breaking glass. Soon after, flames erupted from the building, and it took firemen hours to quell the fire. The finger of blame was quickly pointed  at the Communists.


Even while the German parliament building was still smouldering, a decree for 'The Protection of the People and State' was passed, which abolished freedom of speech, assembly, privacy and the press; legalized phone tapping and interception of correspondence; and suspended the autonomy of federated states.


 That night around 4,000 people were arrested, imprisoned and tortured by the SA. Although the Communist party had won 17 percent of the Reichstag elections in November 1932, and the German people elected 81 Communist deputies in the March 5 elections, many were detained indefinitely after the fire. The Communist Party was effectively outlawed, leaving the Nazis largely free to do as they wished.

Decade: 1930s

Year: 1933

Region: Europe

Country: Germany

Politics: Revolution
Society: Crime

Type: Historical Event

Impact: 6

Artist: Ianika Morano


Group: Genesis

Number: 33/100

Price: 0.6 ETH


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