BY FACING HISTORY AND OURSELVES
Learn about Hitler’s early measures against “enemies of the state,” including the Enabling Act and the first concentration camp at Dachau.
While the Nazis were focusing on putting Germans back to work in the midst of the Great Depression, they also unleashed attacks on their political opposition as soon as Hitler became chancellor. On the evening of February 27, 1933, alarms suddenly rang out in the Reichstag as fire destroyed the building’s main chamber. Within 20 minutes, Hitler was on the scene to declare: “This is a God-given signal! If this fire, as I believe, turns out to be the handiwork of Communists, then there is nothing that shall stop us now from crushing out this murderous pest with an iron fist.”
Marinus van der Lubbe was the man the Nazis captured that night. He confessed to setting the building ablaze but repeatedly insisted that he had acted alone. Adolf Hitler paid no attention to the confession. He saw a chance to get rid of what he considered the Nazis’ most immediate rival—the Communists—so he ordered the arrest of anyone with ties to the Communist Party. Within days, the Nazis had thrown 4,000 Communists and their leaders into hastily created prisons and concentration camps. By the end of March, 20,000 Communists had been arrested, and by the end of that summer more than 100,000 Communists, Social Democrats, union officials, and other “radicals” were imprisoned.
Were any of them responsible for the fire? The question was irrelevant to the Nazis. They had been given an opportunity to get rid of their enemies, and they took it.
READ FULL ARTICLE HERE… (facinghistory.org)
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