The Cultural Reichstag Fires

Remember the Reichstag fire? It was perhaps the seminal event that sealed Germany’s fate as a socialist dictatorship before the Allies were finally able to pry that nation out of the jaws of Nazism in 1945 (although for the eastern portion of the country human dignity and freedom wouldn’t come for another 40-plus years thanks to Soviet imperialism).

If you’re not familiar with that event, the date was February 27, 1933. Adolf Hitler had been sworn in as Germany’s chancellor just four weeks hence, though his Nazi party was in an unstable position at the center of a coalition government holding a small plurality of 32 percent of the seats in the Reichstag — Germany’s parliament under its Weimar Republic. At the time Hitler had an agenda in mind to secure a much larger portion of the Reichstag’s seats in order to create a majority for passing an Enabling Act that would allow him essentially to rule by decree, at an election set for March 5.

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