February the Reichstag
caught fire. When the police arrived they found Marinus
van der Lubbe on the premises. After being tortured by the Gestapo
he confessed to starting the Reichstag Fire. However he denies
that he was part of a Communist conspiracy. Hermann
Goering refuses to believe him and he orders the arrest of
several leaders of the German
Communist Party (KPD).
Hitler heard the news about the fire he gave orders that all
leaders of the German
Communist Party should "be hanged that very night." Paul
von Hindenburg vetoed this decision but did agree that Hitler
should take "dictatorial powers". KPD
candidates in the election were arrested and Hermann
Goering announced that the Nazi Party planned "to
exterminate" German communists.
van der Lubbe the German police charged four communists with
setting fire to the Reichstag.
This included Ernst
the chairman of the KPD
Dimitrov of the Soviet
van der Lubbe was found guilty of the Reichstag
Fire and was executed on 10th January, 1934. Adolf
Hitler was furious that the rest of the defendants were
acquitted and he decided that in future all treason cases were
taken from the Supreme Court and given to a new People's Court
where prisoners were judged by members of the National
Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP).