Talk:Reichstag fire/Archive 1

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Nazi involvement?[edit]

...it is generally believed that the Nazi hierarchy was involved in order to reap political gain—and it obviously did.

I think the wording is misleading here, as it is vague whether the "obviously" refers to the Nazi's involvement in the Reichstag Fire, or if it refers to them utilizing the situation for political gain. MSTCrow 17:36, Dec 21, 2004 (UTC)

I think the wording is fine. If it said, "-and it obviously was" it would indicate involvement. --AStanhope 14:19, 27 Feb 2005 (UTC)

There is a book, published around 1935, which gives a very detailling account of the Reichstag fire. It provides a huge mass of evidence that Hitler knew in advance of the projects, that Marinus van der Lubbe was the ideal culprit because he attended many communist congregations - and that a tunnel would exist between the Reichstag and Görings bureau, which gave possible arsonists a way to get in and to escape. Title: "Braunbuch: über Reichtstagsbrand und Hitlerterror", Paris 1933. Perhaps I'm able to consult this book sometime. Regards, --Keimzelle 13:29, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)

[As everybody knows this was a pure propaganda piece of trash.--Radh (talk) 12:15, 7 April 2010 (UTC)]

Current wording is "...it is generally believed the Nazi hierarchy was involved in order to reap political gain. Some have contended that van der Lubbe acted alone...", and while I don't doubt that the general view is that the Nazis were involved (that view was my own too), the information on these pages seems to indicate that this is view is outdated. I doubt there will be a consensus about the actual events that took place, but if modern historians tend to conclude that there is little evidence of Nazi (or Communist?) involvement the article should reflect this, instead of the "uneducated" view of those of us out of touch with modern research. --Martcx 15:37, 18 March 2007 (UTC)

In both autobiographies I have read about this event Hitler reacted in a state of that can best be described as a mixture of "rage/panic/vindication". His worst nightmare, which he believed in to the point of paranoia, seemed to have been coming true right as he had finally made it to the head of the government. It obviously proved to be a godsend for him and his party, but he certainly had no prior knowledge based on his reaction and his hysteric actions of that night. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 159.142.205.160 (talk) 18:15, 4 January 2008 (UTC)


I think first of all this topic should be put under the discussed or partial status and more discussions should follow before firmly stating the point. -ranmehta —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ranmehta (talkcontribs) 12:52, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

This article should not be in the category staged events[edit]

The paragraph "Historians generally agree that Van der Lubbe, sometimes described as a half-wit, was involved in the Reichstag fire. The extent of the damage, however, has led to considerable debate over whether he acted alone. Considering the speed with which the fire engulfed the building, Van der Lubbe's reputation as a mentally deranged fool hungry for fame, and cryptic comments by leading Nazi officials, it is generally believed the Nazi hierarchy was involved in order to reap political gain—and it obviously did." needs to be improved.

Historians used to believe that the Nazis set the Reichstag on fire to increase their share of the vote for the upcomming elections, but no historian has taken that line since the 1960s. The book The Reichstag Fire by the Fritz Tobias has shown very clearly that van der Lubbe acted alone. I can't remember all the details, but if anybody has the time, they should check Ian Kershaw's first volume of his Hitler biography Hitler Hubris 1889-1936, which he establishes quite firmly that both the Nazi and Communist theories are wrong. For the Nazis, van der Lubbe's act was pure serendipity. At the very moment they were going on about how the Communists were going to launch a putsch any minute now, some crazy Dutchman decides to burn down the Reichstag. The Nazis exploited the fire for all it was worth, and it probably helped them increase their share of the vote, but they did not set it. A.S.B.

Since the Braunbuch (see my entry on this discussion page) is my only source I've read so far, I don't take part in this dicussion. Whew, it's from 1933 anyway. --Keimzelle 04:11, 2 May 2005 (UTC)

Please accept my most humble apologies. I really didn't want to be rude, and I'm sorry if I was. The Nazis executed a man who was not legally responsible for his actions and Willi Münzenberg really slandered Van der Lubbe in the books he had written under his name and at the Counter-trial, and I really don't like to see the mentally ill abused like that. The defence of the mentally ill is pet project of mine, and I was under the influence of my anger when I wrote the above. I'm also sorry about the line that historians see the Brown Book as worthless today; I really should have been more diplomatic than that, but my essential point is anything written by the Münzenberg Trust should be taken with a very fine grain of salt. Most historians today do not think very highly of the Brown Book; it's only consulted today as a example of how people in the 1930s thought about the Reichstag Fire. Once again, please accept my apologies for any rudeness on my part. A.S. Brown 28 June 2005 06:47 (UTC)

Slander? In the book Hitler vol. I: Hubris by Kershaw (cited as a reference for this article) he states:

..he [van der Lubbe] was determined to make a lone and spectacular act of defiant protest at the 'Government of National Concentration' in order to galvanise the working class into struggle against their repression. Three attempts at arson on 25 February in different buildings in Berlin failed. Two days later he succeeded in his protest..." P.456

That the person found guilty of the crime tried to burn down other buildings in Berlin before he succeeded is not even represented in the article at present. Practice making perfect? D Mac Con Uladh 14:10, 13 December 2006 (UTC)
Just to clarify what meant when I wrote that Münzenberg slandered Van der Lubbe. I was not trying to deny that Van der Lubbe was the arsonist. What I meant was that Van der Lubbe was just an mentally ill man who burned the Reichstag all on his own, but that some of the stuff Münzenberg had produced about Van der Lubbe was really nasty: Münzenberg claimed that Van der Lubbe was an drug-addicted homosexual who was an lover of Ernst Röhm and an willing Nazi dupe without producing any evidence to support his wild stories, all of which were the product of Münzenberg’s rather over-active imagination. . --A.S. Brown 23:22, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I agree completley,the article is misleading and false..I imagine it was written by an american agent.The reason why,is, the american governement use the very same ruse,ie,cause some mayhem themselfs,ie internet hate mongering and terrorist talk to try and censor free speech,it is the "government mayhem ruse". and then claim they need emergency powers to stop that mayhem..I suggest you remove the sentence about the communist being found there.,and replace it with ,"the crime was blamed on a well known communist,who was allegedly found at the scene.This was a ruse by the Nazi party,a well known government ruse to utilize emergency powers.This directly led to the suspension of german law and the extermination of 6 million jews as no laws were left to protect them..

In regards to the above, please remember the rejoiner about personal attacks. I am not a "American agent", let alone an American citzen. It was not a ruse, van der Lubbe was indeed arrested at the Reichstag on the night of February 27th. One of the chief problems with both the Nazi and Communist conspiracy theories about the Reichstag fire is that van der Lubbe was always quite open and proud about burning down the Reichstag. If van der Lubbe was part of the alleged Nazi conspiracy, he would not have been claiming to have acted alone. The Nazi theory was that van der Lubbe had burned down the Reichstag on the orders of the Comintern, and had he been part of the Nazi plot, he should have taken that line. Likewise, there is absolutely not an iota of evidence linking van der Lubbe to the KPD or the Comintern. --A.S. Brown (talk) 21:35, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
"One of the chief problems with both the Nazi and Communist conspiracy theories about the Reichstag fire is that van der Lubbe was always quite open and proud about burning down the Reichstag" - why this? According to this way of reasoning, van der Lubbe single-handedly instigated and organized the Tielmann factory strike as he claimed to have done. But this is proven to be false; he didn't even play a major part in this strike organized by others.
One feature of van der Lubbe's character, at least 5 years before the fire, was a strong desire to make himself a scapegoat or martyr, going as far as to accuse huimself of things he never did.
And by the same reasoning, what to make of Göring's claim that he knew the reichstag "because he burned it down himself"? So if one sticks to this line of reasoning, it would have been Göring, with van der Lubbe giving him a helping hand - and I think we can safely dismiss that theory... Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 16:08, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

die großartigen US-Streitkräfte besiegen ihre feinde nur Kino/Tv.

Göring's Possible Role[edit]

The section "Göring's Possible Role" says that 1) "General Franz Halder claimed Göring had confessed to setting the fire" (no cite) and that 2) "Göring denied he had any involvement in the fire." (no cite). Can we get cites for these please? Either Göring claimed responsibility for the fire, or he denied responsibility, or he claimed different things at different times. -- 30 november 2005 200.141.126.78 22:55, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

The source for this is the proceedings of the Nuremberg Trial. See the transcript data on the Yale Law Avalon Project web site. Note that General Halder's affadavit stated that in 1942 Göring had joked about his role in the fire; when presented with Halder's affadavit while on trial at Nuremberg four years after his alleged statement in Halder's presence, Göring denied involvement in the fire. This should clarify the apparent conflict in Göring's statements. I've added the source to the Notes and references section and revised the quoted text to match that from the source. JonRoma 01:03, 1 December 2005 (UTC)

Thanks - 200.141.126.78 - 2 january 2006

"On the occasion of a lunch on the Führer's birthday in 1942, the people around the Führer turned the conversation to the Reichstag building and its artistic value. I heard with my own ears how Göring broke into the conversation and shouted: 'The only one who really knows about the Reichstag building is I, for I set fire to it.' And saying this he slapped his thigh." Appears to be a quote from Shirer's Rise & Fall.... Can anyone confirm? If it is rather tied to the above-referenced source, there should be a note added for that in place of the {{fact}} template, in addition to what is presently note 2. --69.107.141.233 11:34, 15 June 2006 (UTC)

I cannot confirm but you have my word that I read a similar text in a history textbookTourskin 22:11, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Collusion[edit]

Why no mention of the theory that whole trial of Georgi Dimitrov was a spectacle agreed to by the German and Soviet rulers, each to serve their own political ends, and that there was never any real danger of Dimitrov being executed (unless Hitler had reneged on his end of the deal)? AnonMoos 17:26, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

In the article, it says communists were 'badly disorganised'


Dr Hans Mommsen: "Grand Old Historian" (Die Zeit 1995) or True Believer of the NS-system ? (Dabor Line)[edit]

Hans Mommsen (November 5, 1930-) is a "left-wing" German historian of the elder generation. He studied German, history and philosophy at the University of Heidelberg, the University of Tübingen and the University of Marburg. Mommsen wrote his Ph.D.-thesis (Tübingen, 1959) on the "national question" as discussed in the Austrian social democracy before 1918. His "Habilitatonsschrift" on civil servantship in the "Third Reich" (titled "Beamtentum im Dritten Reich", 1966) was promoted by Werner Conze, a former NS-ideologist, at that time a prominent professor at Ruperto Carola Heidelberg, and co-founder of the so-called new German school of "Sozialgeschichte" (social history). From 1968-1998 Mommsen served as a professor (chairholder: "Neuere Geschichte II") at the newly established Ruhr-University of Bochum.

Mommsen is told to be a leading expert on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. He is well-known for arguing that Hitler was a "weak dictator" who rather than acting decisively, reacted to various social pressures. In Mommsen´s view the very reason why the Nazis stayed in power was that the ordinary German people, men and women, either supported them or were indifferent towards the regime.

Given this setting, Mommsen was the first "professional" historian in Germany within the early 1960s to accept the conclusions of "amateurish" historian Fritz Tobias who argued in a 1961 book The Reichstag Fire that the Reichstag Fire of 1933 was not started by the Nazis, and that Marinus van der Lubbe had acted alone. Until the publication of Tobias's book, it was generally accepted both in West Germany and abroad that the fire was instigated by the Nazis as part of a plot to abolish democracy.

The Nazi-Machtergreifung (Seizure of Power) in early 1933 had been generally represented as part of a well-planned, totalitarian assault on democracy with the German people as hapless bystanders. The significance of the conclusion that the Nazis did not set fire to the Reichstag is that it suggests that the Machtergreifung was more of a series of ad hoc responses to events rather the result of some master plan of the part of Adolf Hitler, and thus the German people were not mere bystanders to their fate. According to the fact that a couple of new documents meanwhile published demonstrating not only that Mommsen, in 1961-64, was unable to understand relevant documents another scholar, Hans Schneider, had presented, a group of German historians coined out a sarcastic issue on Mommsen as the most prominent, and influential, figure preventing relevant investigations, scholarly studies, and research work, on problems of the "Reichstagsbrand" for four decades and as long as witnesses were still alive, which runs as follows: "Wenn sich falsch noch steigern liesse, dieser Mommsen Fälscher hiesse" (a liar is a liar - but whenever there would exist the German word "mega-liar" this Mommsen named figure is to be titled as such). Moreover, Mommsen was used as an effective fool by a group of former NS-, SS-, and SD-intellectuals lateron working as newspaper editors for contemporary history within the German weekly DER SPIEGEL since the early 1950-years: like a white-washer Mommsen propagates his as cretinous as absurd opinion whenever naming the fascist counter-revolution a social "revolution", the totalitarian NS-system partly "pluralistic", and Hitlers destructive, lethal, and pathological ideas of a "final solution" according to the European Jewry "utopia", instead of dystopia ("Die Realisierung des Utopischen. Die "Endlösung der Judenfrage" im "Dritten Reich"": Geschichte & Gesellschaft, 9 [1983], pp. 381-420). What Mommsen himself as publicly as plastically named the "de-daemonizing of the third Reich" ("Entteufelung des dritten Reiches ?": DER SPIEGEL 11/1967, pp. 71-75) was, in fact, the very application of a specific method Daniel Goldhagen 1996 had characterized as pseudo-sociological, non-historical rubbish talk. Indeed, Herr Mommsen is not at all able to understand relevant aspects of the structure and functions of the totalitarian Nazi-system - which whitnesses experted as "authoritarian anarchy" (Walter Petwaidic) - as a social system in its concrete totality. Finally, Mommsen, as a localistic German ideologist producing one cloudy issue after the other, could not accept what was, from a sociological viewpoint (Émile Durkheim; Robert Merton), worked out as anomy [anomia], whenever describing specific societal situations.

Together with Martin Broszat, as a joung lad a member of the NSDAP, and later, for nearly two decades, the influential leader of the German "Institut für Zeitgeschichte" at Munich, Mommsen developed his so-called "structuralist interpretation" of the Third Reich; again and again and for decades he pictured the Nazi state as a sort of chaotic setting of rival bureaucracies locked into endless power struggles with one another. But a norrow-minded Hans Mommsen himself never thought his "approch" to an end so he was not able to grasp the autodestructive character of a social system like the "Third Reich".

Mommsen has commented on the (expletive deleted) cliché TV drama "Dresden": he thinks it actually is a virtue not to want to meet standards of historical authenticity/truth!! (Original German: Vor allem halte ich es - im Unterschied zu einer ganzen Reihe zeitgeschichtlicher Spielfilme der jüngsten Zeit - für einen Vorzug, gerade nicht den Anspruch auf historische Authentizität zu erheben und eine sich sonst aufdrängende systematische Dokumentation zu vermeiden. source: http://www.welt.de/data/2006/02/28/852542.html ) -- Patterns indeed. By the way, "der Fälscher" = forger, "fälscher" = comparative of "falsch", so they had a pun on words on his expense.
  • Thanx, afaIk that´s pretty correct, another German author did it his way: “Und wenn sich falsch noch steigern ließe / Mancher von Euch Fälscher hieße” – I thought that rubbish talk MH did on the GraSS-issue (“Frankforter Rundschau”: Aug. 16, 2006) was not overcallable, but did indeed not know that cretinistic dirt HM, as a true believer of the destruction of any rationality, spewed all over on the Dresden-TV-soap a couple of months earlier … cordially, M. [maltese.falconatgmx.net] 80.136.116.128 10:34, 11 October 2006 (UTC)

Terrorism?[edit]

I'm adding a few historical events to List of terrorist incidents and afew other related pages. The Reichstag fire seems to meet the clinical criteria of terrorism, as discussed on Definition of terrorism.

  • Violence (may include loss of life or destruction of property)
  • Intimidation
  • To a political end
  • Not performed by a state at war (otherwise the act is considered a war crime)

What do you think? samwaltz 15:22, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

I think the very real likelihood that this was conducted by the Reich government or on its orders rules this out. It was intended to be portrayed as communist terrorism but most likely wasn't. Morwen - Talk 15:26, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
True enough. I actually meant it being an act of fascist terrorism, though. However, the use of the term terrorism is rather fuzzy. Of course, it is ambivalent enough, in that it was a NS act performed to intimidate/terrorise communists, while looking like a KPD act looking like it was to terrorise Germans. Hrm. samwaltz 19:44, 22 August 2006 (UTC)
When you think about it, it isn't that unlikely that a building like the Reichstag would go up in flames in the midst of a heated far right/far left duel for the country. This is either to frame those who were emerging as the losers and get rid of them once and for all or as an act of desperation on behalf of the losers, as the reality of working with the system to challenge the system dims. Of course, the timing is wrong for the KPD/Comintern to have organized it and from the conspirational point of view, the Nazi connection isn't strong enough.
So that leaves us with van der Lubbe, and this actually brings closure, as I think the most critical piece of the puzzle is his character. He is epitamy of "the fool who couldn't win". He wanted to make a difference, but he ran with guns blazing for his cause when everybody allied with that cause knew it wasn't the time to do what he did. This scenario seems to fit van der Lubbe's character pretty well, from what I've uncovered about him.--172.145.229.110 05:51, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Grammar[edit]

"The Reichstag fire, an event in the Nazi Holocaust in which the establishment of Nazi Germany, began at 9:14 PM on the night of February 27, 1933, when a Berlin fire station received an alarm that the Reichstag building, assembly location of the German Parliament, was ablaze." The phrase above should be fixed. Tintin (talk) 13:33, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

SD's role[edit]

This article mentions a book by Martin Allen (Himmler's Secret War) from 2005, and states that the fire was started by a group of SD agents entering via a tunnel between Reichstag and Görings official residence. I am reading a finnish translation of a book titled "Die Reichskanzlei, 1933-1945: Anfang und Ende des Dritten Reiches" by H. S. Hegner. This book, first published 1959, makes a similar statement, except that the author puts blame on SA rather than SD. My problem is, that i can't find any good information from internet about the book, nor its author. Hegner doesn't cite his sources, only mentions that a guy named Beni Thaler witnessed SA-troops doing "something" in a tunnel, and that Thaler only told this information in his later life to Benno Wundshammer, a German photographer. Does anybody know this book, or it's author, and just how reliable this information could be? I would be more than pleased by any information i could get about Hegner or his book. Woden 16:20, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Time Conflict[edit]

The times have been changed, but they still conflict: intro says 21:25 +1, The Fire says 22:00 +1. Can the authors provide sources or delete please? dahamsta (talk) 00:01, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


As I was reading this article, I noticed a few (discrepancies) about what time the fire started...

Near the top:

The fire began at 21:14 on the night of February 27, 1933, ...

(which would be 9:14 PM)

and in The Fire it says:

At 10:00 PM on February 27, 1933, ...

Can anyone clear this up for me?

Also, it would be nice to know if we are referring to UTC or German time zones...

Ajl772 17:43, 12 February 2007 (UTC)

Blame for the Fire and the Bahar-Kugel book.[edit]

The latest major word on the fire appears to be in the book Der Reichstagsbrand: Wie Geschichte gemacht wird by Alexander Bahar and Wilfried Kugel (Berlin: Quintessenz Verlag, 2001), which makes use of 50,000 pages of trial and other documents available in Moscow and East Berlin only since 1990. No conversation about the causes of the fire can be considered complete until it takes into account the newly available primary sources. Similarly, no argument that van der Lubbe acted alone can be considered complete until it has dealt with the circumstantial case against the Nazis, including the names of direct perpetrators (eg. Hans Georg Gewehr), that emerges from this massive (864 pp.) book. I am not the one to do it because of the weakness of my German, but until the section entitled "Dispute about van der Lubbe's role . . ." is edited to include salient points from this book, it has to be considered inadequate and out-of-date.208.100.231.18 06:45, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

With all due respect, I feel that one must discount what is contained in Der Reichstagsbrand. Both the Stasi and the KGB were quite upset about Fritz Tobias's book in the 1960s, and went to considerable trouble to forge documents that supposedly linked the Nazis to the fire. Please refer to KGB The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev by Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky for the details about this. If the KGB and the Stasi always had geninue evidence proving Nazi involvement, then why not release the geninue evidence, instead of producing forgeries? Moreover, the Stasi archives had been open to historians since 1990, so why was it there every historian who went through the archieves managed to miss the 50,000 pages of documents proving Nazi involvement for a period of 11 years? Why did it take a group of amateur historians comprising Hersch Fischler, Jurgen Schmaedeke, Alexander Bahar and Wilfred Kugel to find in 2001 a massive collection of documents that every single professional historian managed to somehow miss? Moreover, the thesis put forward by Bahar and Kugel is based on the theory that one Adolf Rall, a Stormtrooper was arrested on petty criminal charges in November 1933, who was supposed told the public prosecuter about how he and 9 other Stormtroopers burned down the Reichstag in February. At that point, the SA is said to have murdered Rall, but for some reason, did not destroy all of the documents in the public prosecuter's office, where were allowed to remain there until 1945 when they were seized by the Soviets. In November 1933, the Nazi dictatorship was very well established, and it is very hard to believe that anybody could plausibly expect that they would be released on petty criminal charges in exchange for information that directly contradicted the Nazi version of the Reichstag fire (please remember that the Leipzig trial was taking place at that time), and implicated senior Nazi leaders in the said fire. Did Rall really expect the public prosecuter to indict Hitler in November 1933? Moreover, the most recent general survey of Nazi Germany, The Third Reich in Power, 1933-1939 (2005) by Richard J. Evans (a man who can not be in anyway accused of having any sort of sympathy towards the Nazis), expliclty endoses the Tobias thesis of van der Lubbe acting alone. Given Evans's preeminence as one of the leading specalists on the Nazi period and that the Bahar-Kugel book was published in 2001, if the Bahar-Kugel book had indeed rebuted Tobias's version of events, it very surprisingly to see that one of the leading experts continuing to subscribe to a discredited version four years later. All said, a book full of most dubious claims. --A.S. Brown (talk) 21:52, 5 January 2008 (UTC)
Why is this book still cited? As "confirming" a theory no less. One could easily provide equally trustworthy sources that "confirm" that the CIA did WTC. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.96.30.125 (talk) 10:58, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Please read my latest comments below on the new evidence. No-one has yet analysed the forensic evidence still available to researchers, but even cursory examination of the many photographs in Bahar and Kugel's book indicates that van der Lubbe was set up by the gestapo to be the fall guy for this fire. Historians neglect forensic evidence at their peril. Peterlewis (talk) 13:48, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Sean McMeekin, THE RED MILLIONAIRE, p. 362, n. 48, mentions the Bahar book and says that this book draws upon an item by Walter Hofer & Christoph Graf from 1976. Then he remarks that "none has succeeded in refuting charges that Hofer's evidence was fabricated. For a useful survey of the controversy see Henning Kohler, ... Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 22 February 2001: 8." Most likely the charges of fabrication which McMeekin is hinting at here involve the East German Stasi, which definitely had an interest in maintaining their favored version of the Reichstag fire. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 4.247.134.32 (talk) 17:19, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

i read (AF) research from people that personally knew marinus van der lubbe, however it is quite simple, bringing 20+ bundles of material and setting much of the building on fire isn't something one can do alone in an hour or so. even in the theory it was goering who stuck behind they need a tunnel to bring it all in unseen :)24.132.171.225 (talk) 06:37, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

overciting[edit]

While I'm glad wikipedia is starting to take citing sources more seriously, this article is a good example of that practice being taken too far. There is a misunderstanding out there that every fact in every article needs a citation, which is not true. The section The Fire in this article has a footnote for every sentence (11 in all) all of which are the exact same source. This, as well as other sections, could use some cleanup. -R. fiend 22:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

False Information[edit]

For the reasons I will explain below I removed the following from this page:

"In July 1933, Marinus van der Lubbe, Ernst Torgler, Georgi Dimitrov, Charles Reichenbach-Henner, Blagoi Popov, and Vassili Tanev were indicted on charges of setting the Reichstag on fire."

"The seven Communists, of whom Van Lubbe, Reichenbach and Tanev were seperate party leaders, were all imprisoned seven months before the Leipzig Trial. A fortnight before the trial, a prison guard was found dead with a knife wound in his back, in Reichenbach's cell, wearing Reichenbach's clothing. Reichenbach was not seen again until 1976 where he was arrested and executed for attempting to smuggle people to the west side of the Berlin wall."

"The trial began at 8:45 on the morning of September 21, with van der Lubbe testifying. Van Der Lubbe's testimony was very hard to follow as he spoke of losing his sight in one eye, wandering around Europe as a drifter, and that he had been a member of the Dutch Communist Party, which he quit in 1931, but still considered himself a Communist. Dimitrov began his testimony on the third day of the trial. Georgi Dimitrov gave up his right to a court appointed lawyer and defended himself successfully through many ways, one of which was to convict Reichenbach, who he claimed had only attempted an escape because he knew he was guilty and would have been exectuted if he had been put on trial."

"Another theory appears in the book Himmler's Secret War by Martin Allen (published in Great Britain by Robson Books in the year 2005). According to this book, the Reichstag fire was started by a band of Sicherheitsdienst (SD, the SS security service) agents who secretly entered the Reichstag through an underground tunnel that was connected to Göring's official residence.[citation needed]".

Remark: In the radio I also heard once that the Berlin artist Erik Jan Hanussen, a clairvoyant, was secretly killed in March 1933 by a SA group, since he apparently knew to much about the preparation of a 'fire', which he publicly predicted around that time in Berlin cabarets. This may also add to the wealth of rumours, information and misinformation about this infamous event. - 87.160.115.232 (talk) 20:53, 24 April 2008 (UTC)

Concerning some recent edits to this page, it appears unfortunately some of it is false. The edit concerning the alleged German Communist leader Charles Reichenbach-Henner, whom was alleged to be tried in 1933 and who escaped by murdering a guard is not supported by any of the books I have read on the topic, all of whom say that the only people tried at Leipzig were Marinus van der Lubbe, Ernst Torgler, Georgi Dimitrov, Blagoi Popov, and Vassili Tanev. As far as I can tell, this Reichenbach-Henner never existed. Anyhow, the description of Van Der Lubbe as Communist "leader" is quite wrong: Van Der Lubbe was just a unemployed brick-layer and mentally ill drifter.

Second, any source by Martin Allen should be excluded. Allen’s book, Himmler’s Secret War has been discredited as a source because Allen forged documents supposedly showing that the British murdered Himmler in 1945. The problem with Allen’s documents, which he so triumphantly announced he discovered in 2005 are that they were alleged to written on a 1940s type-writer, but were actually produced on a 21st century laser printer. Allen is a fraudster who is totally discredited as a historical writer. Through this matter does not deal with the Reichstag fire, but I would say on the basis of this incident, that Allen is a extremely unreliable source at best. Moreover, this story about the secret tunnel that is alleged to have allowed the Nazis to enter the Reichstag to burn it down has long been discredited. This story was first produced at the Counter-trial organized by Willi Münzenberg in London in 1933, through Münzenberg had that it was the SA that were the arsonists. It is true that there was a tunnel going from Hermann Göring's office to the Reichstag, but it was and is a tunnel for water piping, not for allowing people to travel to and from the Reichstag. Other then changing the identity of the alleged arsonists from the SA to the SD, Allen is merely repeating the long-discredited story about the “secret tunnel” first concocted by Münzenberg way back in 1933. --A.S. Brown 18:17, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Dear Dr Brown et.al., please realize that a couple of years ago a German scholar detected, and published, a relevant source (a report written by Ralph C. Busser 1934: "The Riddle of the Revolution") on that issue: Osteuropa in Tradition und Wandel. Leipziger Jahrbücher (ed. RLS Saxony), 3 (1) 2001, 217-283, MF 80.136.111.63 07:27, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
    • Thank you for the info, but I am not familiar with that journal. Perhaps, if you have read that article, and feel some of the information is pertinent, please bring it onto this page. Also, thank you for describing me as Doctor Brown, but given that I don't have a doctorate, that is not quite accurate description. I removed the following lines because there are false:

"The Nazis' twelve year terror over their opponents had started."

"The fire seemed to have been started in several places".

In regards to the first, at the beginning of February 1933, several weeks before the Reichstag fire, Hermann Göring in his capacity as Prussian Interior Minister had already enrolled thousands of SA men into the Prussian Police as "auxiliary police", and given the SA men serving as "auxiliary police" free reign to terrorize anti-Nazis, so it seems to me to describe the Reichstag fire as marking the beginning of Nazi terror is somewhat inaccurate. In regards to the second sentence is wrong; Fritz Tobias in his definitive account of the fire makes it quite clear the main fire broke out in the Session Chamber, and then spread to the rest of the building. --A.S. Brown 22:55, 23 July 2007 (UTC)

Unreferenced german articles?[edit]

What? Who put this talk page under that category? This article has TOO MANY citations, or so I heard.Tourskin 22:16, 30 August 2007 (UTC)

Needs verification[edit]

"It is now accepted by all historians today that van der Lubbe acted alone, and the Reichstag fire was merely a stroke of good luck for the Nazis"

"All" is a lot, and 1999 is not "today". From a scientific standpoint, all that can be said is that van der Lubbe was involved in some way. Dysmorodrepanis (talk) 15:49, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

As per de:,

Es handelte sich eindeutig um Brandstiftung, die Schuldfrage ist bis heute nicht zweifelsfrei geklärt. (de:Reichstag)

and

Die Frage, ob van der Lubbe den Reichstag allein in Brand setzte oder ob auch andere daran beteiligt waren, lässt sich aus heutiger Sicht nicht abschließend beantworten. (de:Marinus van der Lubbe)

[my italics] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dysmorodrepanis (talkcontribs) 15:52, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Innocent???[edit]

I just saw on the news that he was found innocent??? Or they retracted the death penalty. I'm not sure what they exactly did, but he did it but is now officially forgiven. :) Webhat (talk) 01:46, 11 January 2008 (UTC)


German Supreme Court ("Bundesgerichtshof") on that issue[edit]

10.01.2008 2/2008 [released Jan. 10, 2008; orig. dated Dec. 6, 2007]

"Aufhebung des Urteils gegen Marinus van der Lubbe festgestellt

Die Bundesanwaltschaft hat am 6. Dezember 2007 festgestellt, dass das Urteil gegen den im „Reichstagsbrandprozess“ verurteilten Marinus van der Lubbe aufgehoben ist.

Dem niederländischen Staatsangehörigen Marinus van der Lubbe war zur Last gelegt worden, am 27. Februar 1933 den Reichstag und zuvor andere öffentliche Gebäude in Berlin in Brand gesetzt zu haben. Das Reichsgericht hatte ihn deshalb im sogenannten „Reichstagsbrandprozess“ am 23. Dezember 1933 wegen Hochverrats und Brandstiftung zum Tode verurteilt. Er wurde am 10. Januar 1934 hingerichtet.

Die Aufhebung des Urteils beruht auf dem Gesetz zur Aufhebung nationalsozialistischer Unrechtsurteile in der Strafrechtspflege vom 25. August 1998. Die Feststellung der Aufhebung erfolgte von Amts wegen; sie wurde durch einen Berliner Rechtsanwalt angeregt. Das Urteil unterliegt der Aufhebung, weil die Verhängung der Todesstrafe auf zwei spezifisch nationalsozialistischen Unrechtsvorschriften beruht, die zur Durchsetzung des nationalsozialistischen Regimes geschaffen worden waren und die Verstöße gegen Grundvorstellungen von Gerechtigkeit ermöglichten. Dies gilt zum einen für die Notverordnung zum Schutz von Volk und Staat vom 28. Februar 1933. Diese Vorschrift führte bei Straftaten wie den dem Angeklagten zur Last gelegten die Todesstrafe ein. Das Gesetz über die Verhängung und den Vollzug der Todesstrafe vom 29. März 1933 bestimmte zudem, dass diese Verschärfung der Strafe auch rückwirkend auf Taten anzuwenden sei, die vor dem 28. Februar 1933 begangen worden waren. Erst durch Anwendung dieser Vorschriften gelangte das Reichsgericht dazu, gegen den Angeklagten die Todesstrafe zu verhängen.

Unberührt bleibt das Urteil hingegen hinsichtlich der vier freigesprochenen Mitangeklagten, darunter des späteren bulgarischen KP-Chefs Dimitroff." —Preceding unsigned comment added by M.Eser (talkcontribs) 18:13, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


My German is not very good, but I believe the above translates as declaring Marinus van der Lubbe burned down the Reichstag, but the verdict is overturned because the two laws under which Van der Lubbe was convicted were created by the Nazis and therefore invalid. Specifically, I believe the judgment states that the Reichstag Fire Decree and another law introduced on March 29, 1933 which imposed the death penalty retroactively were unconstitutional, and therefore because the laws were illegal, any sentence imposed by those laws are therefore null and void. I may also add that since Van der Lubbe was convicted and executed for being part of a Communist conspiracy to overthrow the Reich government, and since there was no such conspiracy, that part of the verdict should also be declared null and void. Taking into consideration all of the legalities and illegalities of the case, none of this changes the basic fact that Van der Lubbe burned down the Reichstag alone, but rather he should not have been convicted and executed for a crime he did not commit (i.e. being part of a Communist plot) and under the laws which he was convicted under. --A.S. Brown (talk) 22:49, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


Dear A.S. Brown: Although my German meanwhile is not at all as rosty like my English;-) I´ve got equal problems to understand the very message of that text - I would like to interprete in the manner Hannah Arendt (in 1964) worked out: `This should have never happened`, but I fear that´s an overinterpretation of "Rückwirkungsverbot" (although the text mentioned "Notverordnung" [emergency decree] dated Febr. 28, 1933). The only thing the declaration of the the "Bundesanwaltschaft" cleared up - acc. to the individual Lubbe-case he would have never been killed. The text sounds as if German lawyers as members of a prominent juridical agency like "Bundesanwaltschaft" were afraid of publicly delaring: The total Reichstag Fire Trial was from the very beginning to the last end completely illegal (and as such a crime itself) and, in the sense of H.A., should have never had happened. Looking on the role of the public prosecutor, at that time named "Reichsanwalt", this would mean: Lubbe should have never accused. This would be a strictu-sensu-argumentation in an anti-Filbinger way; Hans F. publicly declared as BW-Prime Minister (1978): ´Was damals Recht war kann heute nicht Unrecht sein´ [What was (regarded) as right (during the Nazi years) can never be illegal now] - but I fear it´s not the business of any prominent juridical figure in current Germany (like Mrs. Harms) to think any moral, political, and juridical problem to an end, for if so "Bundesanwaltschaft" must have stated publicly whenever generalizing the Lubbe-issue: What at that time was (self) declared as right was in fact basically illegal (if not criminal) ... best, M. Eser 80.136.115.190 (talk) 18:05, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

The prominent German High Court Judge Dr D Deiseroth (SPD) actually published a critical shortpiece against the “Alleintäterschaftsthese” (declaring van der Lubbe as the single arsonist of the German Reichstag in the end of February, 1933) as coined out since the early 1960iers by Tobias/Mommsen & theirs academic cronies - here´s a completely free-of-charge-version (in German) [[1]] Malteser.Falke (talk) 14:29, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

The ruling doesn't say anything about whether van der Lubbe had actually burnt down the Reichstag, but simply that he was executed because he had been found guilty of doing it. The rationale for the ruling is that the two laws which were the base for the death verdict were only put into effect after the crime, which renders them void. My take is the Bundesgerichtshof didn't want to go into details about the guilt question because it obviously couldn't have arrived at a definitive solution, and because the question was irrelevant for the ruling. -- Syzygy (talk) 14:06, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Van Der Lubbe Capitalisation[edit]

Hi guys,

A bit trivial, but thought I'd mention it: The capitilisation of "Van Der Lubbe" (or however it's actually meant to be :-)) is all over the place.

I *think* it's meant to be "(...) van der Lubbe (...)", but am not sure... Nickwithers (talk) 12:40, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Actually, no. In Dutch you write "Marinus van der Lubbe" but "Van der Lubbe" without the Christian name. Since the lack of a capital ltter is confusing even (or perhaps: especially!) in an English text, I am going to change that. --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 13:58, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

"The impression The Brown Book gives is that Communists and Communists alone are victims of Nazism. "

I think that is a subjective perspective which shouldn't be included in the article. No one wants to read about peoples impressions of history, they want to read history. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 65.190.19.24 (talk) 21:47, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

Er, not exactly. I think people who come to this article and a lot of articles which are as controversial, will be interested in people's impressions of history. The problem with this passage (and I thank you for pointing it out) is that it is not sourced and the impression given here is the impression of the writer. Wikipedia does not allow original research. --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 22:18, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

van der Lubbe[edit]

I have put in a final section about the Dutchman from a recent book by Bahar and Kugel which shows very clearly why and how the Nazi's started the fire. He has also been exonerated by a German court. Peterlewis (talk) 17:23, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

I am glad this new research finally finds its way here. But we've got a problem, and I do not mean the fact that the exoneration does not necessarily mean the authorities now believe he did not do it (as was explained before). There are still people today who claim he did it on his own (Sven Felix Kellerhoff, only this year). I agree that the majority view now is (or still is) that Van der Lubbe COULD NOT have done it on his own. However, saying that he got help does not mean he got help from the nazis (actually, if he got help, he probably never knew himself it was nazis helping him, or he would have said so at the trial). There are two problems with the paragraph as it is now:
1) it does not mention the fact that at least one scientist still believes Van der Lubbe did it on his own
2) the quotation is very long and the rest looks rather un-encyclopaedic: it contains a rhetorical question! "And why would he try to light a fire on the central table?" Actually, this thing looks like a copyvio. From the book you mentioned, probably. You should also have put the ISBN number, so people could verify the source: Berlin 2001 ISBN 3-86124-513-2 --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 22:34, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
There is no copyvio in fair use and quotation. I am concerned that the previous version of the article neglected the more recent results of German academics using new Gestapo files held in Moscow. In particular, the new book includes evidence of a forensic nature and since I work in this area myself, I think it important that readers should have the whole picture and not a biased one produced only by historians, and deeply influenced by nazi and communist politicians (both of whom tampered with the evidence). Peterlewis (talk) 07:03, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
Well, there was certainly a lot of WP:OWN before on this page, but that does not mean the pendulum should now go to the other extreme. Unfortunately, Wikipedia is about verifiability, and not about truth. We also need to establish why the work you use is verifiable and reliable. If less than one month ago, this was published (I hope you understand German) we really cannot say that it is clear where the bias lies (interestingly, the Gestapo files are not mentioned in the Welt article, so we do not know what Mommsen et al have against Bahar-Kugel, though I guess they will say the KGB tampered with the evidence, as was said before on this talk page). I have found one book review/rezension of the work you use which is both very critical (mentions a few obvious mistakes), but also says that Tobias' work has now been superseded, you may not like it, because it is by a ... historian: but an Austrian historian - I think we should quote that to illustrate the verifiablity of Bahar-Kugel. Nevertheless, copy violation or not, the text of the paragraph looks unencyclopaedic, we really cannot keep this rhetorical question. I am rather busy, but I could make an exception for this one: you may e-mail me the German text it was based on. My written German is rather awful, but I can still understand and read most things. Note: I am also starting to think that most of the remaining argument is still happening in Germany, courtesy of Mommsen, and most other countries (including Switzerland and Austria) have moved on.--Paul Pieniezny (talk) 14:53, 12 March 2008 (UTC)


You can infringe copyright by quoting, for which there is sound case law. Fair use is a defense to that. Whatever the law says about it, Wikipedia policy, Wikipedia:Plagiarism, says
Under guidelines for non-free content, brief selections of copyrighted text may be used, but only with full attribution and only when the purpose is to comment on or criticize the text quoted.
--Prosfilaes (talk) 00:12, 24 March 2008 (UTC)
That is exactly how I have used the quotation from the book which is referenced in the article. Wikipedia should be up-to-date with its articles. Peterlewis (talk) 06:37, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

The Bahar/Kugel book seems to have stirred a hornet's nest of debate, which must be a good thing. My own contribution was deleted, probably because the editor concerned doesn't want to face raw facts, especially the forensic evidence from photographs as well as the Moscow files. The photo of the window van der Lubbe allegedly climbed is shown on one of the pics I uploaded, and it indicates that smashing the window would not only have been very difficult but dangerous in terms of falling glass. His apparent use of firelighters to light many small fires (which went out, such as the one on the table by the window) shows just how incompetent he was as an arsonist. The fire in the main chamber was much more serious and probably started by petrol easily supplied by the SA via Goering. How historians can ignore technical evidence only shows their gullibility in analysis. Peterlewis (talk) 13:06, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Photo request[edit]

Image:Reichstagsbrand.jpg seems to have evaporated from Commons. Does anyone know the current copyright status of the famous photo of the fire itself, or know of a free, equivalent replacement? --Dynaflow babble 02:27, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Starting time of fire[edit]

It says in the opening from the article 21:15 and later on in the section fire it says 10pm, do u think its worth it to change? because should have the same information in one article... 24.81.138.248 (talk) 04:11, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Case closed?[edit]

I was surprised that the article claims that "Recent research has confirmed the widely-held belief at the time, that the Nazis organised the arson attempt in order to seize power" and offers no citation.

AFAIK, historians still do not agree as to who the culprit was.

I did a search and according to this article, the cause of the fire is still debated:

"Historians continue to disagree whether van der Lubbe acted alone, or if the Communist Party or even Hitler's Nazi Party (NSDAP) set the blaze.

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3150026,00.html

Likewise, this news article says "Historians still debate whether van der Lubbe acted by himself or if the Nazis were involved in the crime":

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601100&sid=a1uFc6Al9J_c&refer=germany

Finally, the Encyclopedia Britanica says "The fire is the subject of continued debate and research."

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9063085/Reichstag-fire

12.10.248.51 (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 17:18, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

I added factual accuracy and citations needed meta-tags until the above can be resolved. I did not edit the actual text of article in any way.12.10.248.51 (talk) 17:35, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

See my comments above, and the reference is Bahar and Kugel's book of 2001. I think readers should see what evidence has been revealed by their research, and by new forensic analysis of the original photographs taken by the police of the fire remnants. None of the evidence taken at the crime scene have been examined by historians of the older school, for example. Peterlewis (talk) 17:44, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

My take on this: Bahar and Kugel have, for many people but not obviously the Mommsen side (who prefer not to take a look at the evidence used by Bahar and Kugel, claiming that it is tampered - as if historians would not be able to deduct some truth even from such evidence, as historians have been able to deduct truth form the archives of the East German secret service, and surely no one is suggesting those could not possibly have been tampered with?), been able to prove that Van der Lubbe could not have acted on his own. It should be noted that the Mommsen side have a problem, because they have staked a lot of their what I, and others would call "Chaos Theory" history of Nazi Germany on the fact that everything happened more or less organically, and not because Der Fuehrer wanted it to happen. I am sure that view of Mommsen can be sourced and yes, perhaps it should be included in the article as well, after we do some logical re-organizing to split it into event, trial(s) and later theories. There is a problem with the order of the chapters as we have them now. Note that finding out who helped Van der Lubbe (I see your Deutsche Welle source - pardon the bilingual pun - is actually mentioning the Communists again there) is not so easy, but Bahar and Kugel also tried to prove a) that the Communists could not have been helping Van der Lubbe and b) that the Nazis covered up their tracks later - and that is precisely where they get some criticism from Martin Moll, who claims proving the KPD did not do it was like taking owls to Athens (coal to Newcastle) and that at least one of the cover-up "murders" (of the Prussian Gestapo leader Diels, killed accidentally at a hunt) could not possibly have any link to the Reichstag fire, as it happened in ... 1957! But Mommsen is still a monument (although now a dilapidated one) in German history, so it takes guts to ignore what he has written and supported many years ago ...--Paul Pieniezny (talk) 12:35, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, we should definitely add cites to Bahar and Kugel's book, however, I do not think it's factually accurate to say that the 'Nazis were resposible' thesis has been confirmed. The previous three articles I posted all say that historians still disagree. So, I think that needs to be changed.
Also, Der Spiegel published a 10-page rebuttal to Bahar and Kugel's book:
'Der Spiegel published a 10-page rebuttal of the four historians' conclusions. It said: "The thesis which holds that van der Lubbe was the only arsonist involved remains the most plausible explanation."'
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/04/15/wnaz15.xml
In the interest of balance, I think we should also add a line or two referencing the Der Spiegel article.
So basically, I am proposing this:
1) Add cites to Bahar and Kugel's book
2) Replace the last sentence of summary to say something like "Historians continue to disagree whether van der Lubbe acted alone or if the Nazis were involved in the crime and remains a topic of debate and research."
3) Add a few sentences referencing the Der Spiegel rebuttal.
Obviously, we don't want an edit war so that's why I'm making my proposals here first so we can reach a concensous before making any changes to the article. Thanks.

12.10.248.51 (talk) 16:45, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

I (and User:Peterlewis, I suppose) would probably want to have a good look at the Spiegel article and how (or even: whether) it rebuttals the primary fact in the book by Bahar and Kugel: that Van der Lubbe could not have acted on his own. The Telegraph article only specifically mentions a rebuttal of the cover-up theory. Of course Tobias and Momsen were Social Democrats, but that does not mean that their work was not used by ex-nazis and neo-nazis. If you claim that all Germans, past and present, are responsible for the holocaust, you are also saying that being a nazi in Germany is like being a democrat or a republican in the USA. --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 20:31, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
By the way, why do you not take an account? Some of the other edits on that IP number (particularly one on the women pirates page) do not inspire a lot of confidence in you - though of course, that edit may not be yours at all. --Paul Pieniezny (talk) 20:35, 15 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not arguing the merits of Bahar and Kugel's book. I'm arguing that historians still disagree. To prove disagreement, I only have to provide one cite. I've already provided 4.
As for the women pirates page, it was not me. I try not to make too many edits to Wikipedia. I made some recent edits to the false flag page, and you'll note that I posted the reasons for my edits on the discussion page. 12.10.248.51 (talk) 12:56, 16 April 2008 (UTC)
OK, it's been a week. Unless someone else has something to comment on, I will make the changes suggested above. 12.10.248.51 (talk) 15:30, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
OK, it's been a couple more weeks. I completed the changes mentioned above and removed the factual accuracy disputed tag. 12.10.248.51 (talk) 18:27, 16 May 2008 (UTC)
I think this article is somewhat biased against the idea that the Nazis started the fire. It is touched very lightly. That is the most popular explanation, and seemingly the most realistic. Do you really expect anyone to believe that the Nazis of all people would just wait for a saving grace to fall out of the sky for them? Who are these 'some historians'? Only one guy, some 'Kershaw', is mentioned in a reference to a book without an ISBN. This stinks of NPOV. --IronMaidenRocks (talk) 03:03, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Forensics[edit]

My point about the controversy is quite separate from all the political arguments about motivation and so on. It is that this fire has not yet been investigated from a modern forensic viewpoint. My interest in Bahar and Kugel's work is that they published many original photos taken shortly after the fire, which are very revealing about the nature of the attack on the building. They also revealed a great deal about what happened to some of the alleged participants, who were murdered in the night of the long knives. Peterlewis (talk) 20:44, 15 April 2008 (UTC)

Can this be compared to 9/11? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.186.67.7 (talk) 06:02, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

method of execution[edit]

Question of how van der Lubbe was executed: by axe or guillotine? My book says axe and gives lots of details. Wikipedia article says guillotine. Book is "Reichstag Fire" by John Pritchard. This seems like an important point that needs to be cleared up. quote: "The guilty man was beheaded with a shorthandled axe by the State Executioner, who was dressed in top hat, tails, and white gloves." Reichstag Fire, Pritchard. Ballantine Books. 1972. page 151 67.142.130.14 (talk) 10:01, 16 August 2009 (UTC)Tom N

Dead link[edit]

The second footnote has a dead link in it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.198.87.69 (talk) 04:42, 28 November 2010 (UTC)

Lede (changes)[edit]

Changed the "Historians disagree as to .." part, removing the communist involvement. I see no source for that, all the controversy is about whether it was a Nazi plot, or a solo-action of Van der Lubbe. DS Belgium (talk) 19:46, 13 September 2011 (UTC)

Who was in the car?[edit]

"Hitler, Goebbels, the Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen and Prince Heinrich Günther von Hohenzollern were taken by car to the Reichstag, where they were met by Hermann Göring."

This sentence makes it sound as if all these people were having dinner together and all jumped in the same car to go meet Goring. However, at the time of the fire, Papen was dining with von Hindenberg at the Herrenklub just around the corner from the Reichstag; he walked over after sending the aged von Hindenburg home. Was Prince Heinrich dining at Goebbels' house that night? I don't think so. Nickrz (talk) 23:33, 12 November 2012 (UTC)

Article Bias[edit]

This article is extremely bias. It seems the article is inclined to mention possible Nazi involvement in the fire from the very onset. Saying this fire could have been started because it helped the Nazis is like saying 9/11 was helpful for Bush because it won him a second term and a lot of money. I think there should be a section of this article that talks about possible Nazi involvement but I don't feel it's fair to spur it out in every sentence "IT'S GENERALLY BELIEVED THE NAZIS DID IT". 174.50.171.199 (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:11, 19 August 2013 (UTC)

Dispute about Van der Lubbe's role in the Reichstag fire[edit]

"Hans Gisevius, a former member of the Gestapo, indicated that the Nazis were the actual arsonists"

Gisevius served as a liaison in Zürich between Allen Dulles, station chief for the American OSS and the German Resistance forces in Germany. He was was also a member of the July 20 Plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Seems more relevant than his short career as Gestapo man.

This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the German Wikipedia

Not sure that's a good idea. The German article mentions "Physiker und Brandexperten", and quotes Karl Stephan as expert saying that backdraft points to the use of liquid accelerants. This professor in thermodynamics has never published anything on arson investigation (http://www.itt.uni-stuttgart.de/institut/mitarbeiter/institutsleitung/stephan/index.html). He may know a lot about industrial combustion processes, but that expertise is irrelevant here. Bahar and Kugel should have consulted an arson investigation expert, not a university professor. Most backdrafts start with the accumulation of smoke and pyrolysis products from incomplete combustion of solid fuels as the oxygen concentration starts decreasing in the enclosure. Croft’s 1980 review of 123 fires involving backdraft explosions with identified materials indicates that only 11 (9%) were due to volatile materials such as oil, paint, and alcohols. (Croft, W.M., “Fires Involving Explosions – A Literature Review,” Fire Safety Journal, v 3, pp. 3-24, 1980/81.) Ssscienccce (talk) 18:37, 10 November 2013 (UTC)
Van der Lubbe was proud of his actions and freely confessed according to all accounts. Is Hans Gisevius a reliable source? Capitalismojo (talk) 18:36, 15 March 2014 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Reichstag fire/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Question of how van der Lubbe was executed: by axe or guillotine? My book says axe and gives lots of details. Wikipedia article says guillotine. My book is "Reichstag Fire" by John Pritchard. This seems like an important point that needs to be cleared up. "The guilty man was beheaded with a shorthandled axe by the State Executioner, who was dressed in top hat, tails, and white gloves." Reichstag Fire, Pritchard. Ballantine Books. 1972. page 151

Last edited at 09:49, 16 August 2009 (UTC). Substituted at 15:39, 1 May 2016 (UTC)