A week before the planned elections, on the 27th February 1933 the German parliament building, the Reichstag, was deliberately set on fire. Without doubt, the Reichstag fire was one of the most significant crimes of the last century. Marinus Van der Lubbe, a Dutch communist was found at the scene, he stood trial, was found guilty and executed. In the days following, Hitler and the Nazi government used this 'evidence' of  a planned uprising to arrest thousands of members of the Communist Party, to close their newspapers and to prevent them campaigning in the election. This was the first step taken to creating the Nazi dictatorship.

This website is designed to encourage students to critically examine the sources available to historians exploring the question of 'who really set the Reichstag on fire?'.