The whole truth about the Reichstag fire will probably never be known. Nearly all those who knew it are now dead, most of them slain by Hitler in the months that followed. Even at Nuremberg the mystery could not be entirely unraveled, though there is enough evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the Nazis who planned the arson and carried it out for their own political ends.
From Goring's Reichstag President's Palace an underground passage, built to carry the central heating system, ran to the Reichstag building. Through this tunnel Karl Ernst, a former hotel bellhop who had become the Berlin S.A. leader, led a small detachment of storm troopers on the night of February 27 to the Reichstag, where they scattered gasoline and self-igniting chemicals and then made their way quickly back to the palace the way they had come. At the same time a half-witted Dutch Communist with a passion for arson, Marinus van der Lubbe, had made his way into the huge, darkened and to him unfamiliar building and set some small fires of his own. This feeble-minded pyromaniac was a godsend to the Nazis. He had been picked up by the S.A. a few days before after having been overheard in a bar boasting that he had attempted to set fire to several public buildings and that he was going to try the Reichstag next.
The coincidence that the Nazis had found a demented Communist arsonist who was out to do exactly what they themselves had determined to do seems incredible but is nevertheless supported by the evidence. The idea for the fire almost certainly originated with Goebbels and Goring. Hans Gisevius, an official in the Prussian Ministry of the Interior at the time, testified at Nuremberg that "it was Goebbels who first thought of setting the Reichstag on fire," and Rudolf Diels, the Gestapo chief, added in an affidavit that "Goring knew exactly how the fire was to be started" and had ordered him "to prepare, prior to the fire, a list of people who were to be arrested immediately after it." General Franz Halder, Chief of the German General Staff during the early part of World War II, recalled at Nuremberg how on one occasion Goring had boasted of his deed.
--William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to relive it.Sadly, however, we always forget the past. We are in need of constant reminders, especially the corporate origins of fascism and Nazism.
- George Santayana, American Philosopher
If you have trouble connecting the dots from Hitler's corporate base to the Nazi state to the Final Solution, a reminder: big companies --I.G Farben (manufactuers of Zyklon B), Thyssen, Krupp --all made fortunes at every step of the way. Like Bush today, Hitler was in the death business.
The Wannsee Conference was held on 20 January 1942, in a villa owned by the SS-Nordhav Foundation in the attractive Berlin lakeside suburb of Wannsee. It was presided over by SS-Lieutenant General Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the Security Police and Security Service. Heydrich summoned fourteen men representing the governmental and military branches most involved in implementing the practical aspects of the Final Solution. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring had charged him with arranging all practical matters concerning the implementation of the Final Solution of the Jewish question.1 Heydrich was an ambitious and meticulous officer who relished the responsibility of power. One of Heydrich's foremost intentions was to make sure that all these men understood perfectly what duties and responsibilities their office was expected to fulfill.In the years leading up to World War II, the phrase "Final Solution of the Jewish Problem" had taken on a series of increasingly ominous meanings in the Nazi vocabulary.2 The various implications had included voluntary emigration, confinement to ghettos in cities located along rail lines, forced removal to concentration camps, and finally, extermination. Heydrich wanted to be certain there was no confusion among the group that, now, the term referred specifically to the murder of all European Jews.A flash forward to the present day proves that despite Santayana's admonition, we have forgotten the past and we are doomed to repeat it.
Heydrich's assistant, SS Lt-Colonel Adolf Eichmann tells us in testimony at his trial in 1961, that the meeting was relatively brief, lasting only an hour to an hour and a half, and that the atmosphere of the meeting was one of cooperation and agreement.3 These high-ranking members of the Nazi government met at mid-day over a buffet luncheon to discuss the annihilation of an entire people.
We will export death and destruction to the four corners of the earth!
--George W. Bush
The Existentialist Cowboy
Why Conservatives Hate America
Spread the word: