Ellis Washington
Hitler's Reichstag fire and the Progressive pretext for Tyranny
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By Ellis Washington
May 20, 2015

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.

~ Historian William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich

The road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference.


~ Historian Ian Kershaw

Prologue: Historical Precursors to Hitler's Reichstag Fire

The Beer Hall Putsch, also known as the Munich Putsch, was an unsuccessful coup d'etat effort by the Nazi Party leaders Adolf Hitler, Erich Ludendorff and other Kampfbund ("Battle-league") leaders – to take power by force in Munich, Bavaria, during November 8–9, 1923. Approximately 2,000 Nazi men marched to the Munich Square and engaged in a series of protracted battles with police. The riots led to the death of 16 Nazis and four policemen.

Adolph Hitler and Rudolph Hess were arrested two days later and charged with treason. However, from Hitler's viewpoint, there were several positives from this coup against Germany. First, the Putsch immediately catapulted Hitler from obscurity to national and international attention. During Hitler's trial, he made masterful use of the 24 days it lasted to transform negative event into a huge positive venue to make public his National Socialist ideas known to the German people and throughout Europe. Hitler was eventually found guilty of treason and he was sentenced to five years in Landsberg Prison. The second positive to Hitler arose with the writing in prison and eventual publication of his memoir Mein Kampf (My Struggle), which was published in two parts – Vol. I (1925), Vol. II (1926) and transcribed by his fellow prisoner, Rudolf Hess, who essentially was the ghostwriter of this book, transcribing Hitler's rantings into a coherent narrative. Mein Kampf was an immediate national bestseller and brought Hitler fabulous book royalties and more national and international celebrity.

Riding high on his ascending national superstardom, Hitler was freed from jail on December 20, 1924, having served only nine months. The last benefit Hitler from the Beer Hall Putsch was his understanding that the pathway to power was through legal, democratic means. Therefore, the Putsch influenced Hitler to change National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) tactics, which would lead to an aggregate dependence on the advancement and promotion of Nazi propaganda.

A second precursor to the Reichstag fire was the legend of Horst Ludwig Wessel (born October 9, 1907 – February 23, 1930) was a German Nazi Party activist and a member of Ernst Röhm's SA-Sturmfurher. Hitler made Wessel a martyr of the Nazi revolution as a result of his violent death in 1930. Hitler mandated that a song of triumph be composed called the Horst-Wessel-Lied also known as Die Fahne hoch ("The Flag On High"), which became the Nazi Party anthem and, de facto, Germany's co-national anthem during the Nazi Era (1933 to 1945). Below is the stanza containing Wessel name:
    Be saluted, you died the death of honour!

    Horst Wessel fell, but a thousand new [men] arise.

    The banner-song blasts forth before the Brown Army,

    SA prepared to follow him in the path.

The Reichstag fire solidified Hitler's tyrannical power

On January 30, 1933, Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor and leader of the coalition government. As Chancellor, Hitler demanded that German President Paul von Hindenburg to disband the Reichstag (German Parliament) and demand new parliamentary elections which would be held on March 5, 1933. Hitler's Machiavellian scheme was first to solidify a National Socialist majority, to eventually secure his position as both Chancellor and President of Germany and eliminate all communist resistance. Hitler desired to use pseudo-legal strictures to eliminate democracy by passing the Enabling Act. The Enabling Act was a special law which gave the Chancellor the power to pass laws without the participation of the Reichstag; to essentially rule as a dictator. Ironically Hitler's new dictatorial powers were allowable under the old Weimar Constitution (1919-32) whereby the President could rule by decree in times of emergency using his Article 48 powers. However, the extraordinary supremacies of Hitler's Enabling Act went even further; empowering that the Chancellor (not President von Hindenburg) held these immense powers.

On February 27, 1933, just after 9:00 pm, the Berlin Fire Department was alerted that the Reichstag was burning. The building was virtually destroyed by the blaze when extinguished by the firemen at 11:30 pm. Upon inspection the firemen and police found twenty bundles of inflammable material (firelighters) unburned lying throughout the ruins. That evening Hitler was having dinner with Hermann Goering at the apartment of Joseph Goebbels in Berlin. Upon receiving the news, Hitler and Goebbels' immediately left the apartment and drove the few blocks to the Reichstag, just as the firemen had brought the fire under control. Meeting Hermann Goering at the Reichstag, he proclaimed to Hitler, "This is Communist outrage! One of the Communist culprits has been arrested." Hitler would characterize the fire a "sign from God" and prophesied it was a Fanal (signal) predestined to mark the commencement of a Communist Putsch (revolution) that Hitler was ordained to utterly annihilate.

Epilogue: Hitler's Reichstag fire in Modern Times

The phrase "Reichstag fire" is employed by modern writers to represent a catastrophic event perpetrated by a political party or political revolution, coordinated in a means that casts guilt on their political rivals, therefore causing the rivals to be regarded with distrust by the general public. Also known as "false flag attack" in modern histories the destruction of the palace of Diocletian at Nicomedia has been defined as a "fourth-century Reichstag fire" used to vindicate in 303 AD a destruction of all Christian churches as part of a systematic persecution of Christians who were a despised religious minority during this period of history. Most infamous was Nero's genocide of Christians to hide his bankruptcy of the Roman Empire. The Roman historian, Tacitus, in book 15, chapter 44 of his Annals (circa116 AD), there is a passage which discusses the relatively recent events of Jesus, Pontius Pilate, and a mass execution of Christians ordered by Nero after a six day fire that burned much of Rome in July 64 AD. Nero set the fire in the heart of Rome to clear more land for his "Pleasure Palace."

Returning to Hitler, the Historian William Shirer in his classic opus on Hitler, The Rise and Fall of Third Reich, wrote how quickly events moved in a fascist direction since Hitler was complicit in the Reichstag fire and murdered over 1,000 people in a series of Nazi show trials as a cover up for his and Goering's crimes of burning down the Reichstag. Cui bono? – Who benefits? Historian Shirer wrote:
    It will be remembered that the aged President [Hindenburg] was bamboozled into signing the decree the day after the Reichstag fire when Hitler assured him that there was grave danger of a Communist revolution. The decree, which suspended all civil rights, remained in force throughout the time of the Third Reich, enabling the Fuehrer to rule by a sort of continual martial law.
This "continual marital law" is what Lenin's Head of the Red Army, Leon Trotsky would call "the Perpetual Revolution" years before to identify the comprehensive means and ends of Communist Revolution. In modern times (circa 1900 – present) the Socialist-Progressive coalition has solidified its power over virtually every nation state in the world including America and every country in Europe. Using seemingly innocuous phrases repeatedly like the 1960s Student for a Democratic Society (SDS) mantra – The issue is never the issue, the issue is always the revolution, or Socialist Saint Saul Alinsky, beloved by both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, the latter who did her senior thesis on Alinsky at Wellesley College (1968). Rule No. 12 from his book Rules for RadicalsPick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. Finally, Obama's former Chief of Staff and current Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel always said, "Never allow a crisis to go to waste." These and other socialist tactics and phrases were specifically designed to seize and wield absolute power; they haven't changed since the days of Hitler and the Nazi Party's rise to power in the 1920s-40s. For example, recall the words of Hermann Goering, Hitler's Reich-Marshall at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II:
    Naturally, the common people don't want war, but after all, it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag people along whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.
On the political Left remains the idea that the September 11th attacks were an inside job reaching up to the highest levels of government is still believed by many Democrats. These are the so-called 9/11 Truthers and have likewise been associated to the Reichstag fire pretext by conspiracy theorists raising suspicion whether Al Qaeda actually was involved in the plane attacks or even if Al Qaeda was culpable, the U.S. government used this tragic pretext as an attack to do what Hitler did after the Reichstag fire – restrict civil liberties and under the Patriot Act, greatly increase militarism in America including the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.

To free himself from what Hitler considered the shackles of Democracy, Hitler had the cabinet draft plans for an Enabling Act, in its first post-election meeting on March 15, 1993. This Enabling Act would have the dual diabolical role of nullifying all of the laws of the hated precursor regime, the Weimar Republic (1919-32), while empowering his cabinet with massive new legislative powers for four years. Secondly, The Nazis created the Enabling Act to seize dictatorial political power where the necessity to form coalition partners for majority support in the Reichstag would no longer be necessary. From this point to April 30, 1945 (when Hitler, knowing that the War was lost committed suicide), Hitler had absolute power in Germany and in the countries Germany invaded during World War II.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat Socialist, is not a Hitler (a National Socialist) yet as a fellow Socialist has learned the Machiavellian political tactics and strategies to seize and keep power and use it against your political enemies to destroy them, or as Hitler demonstrated, use the strictures of "democracy" to help your enemies to destroy themselves since Marx believed that "Democracy is the road to Socialism." Like Hitler did the day after the Reichstag fire, using a manufactured crisis to consolidate absolute power on Feb. 28, 1933, since Jan. 2009 President Barack Obama has repeatedly and unconstitutionally seized and wielded vast, unlawful powers by deconstructing the Constitution and has now essentially become a law onto himself... an American Dictator. Here are just a few examples:
  • "DOJ: In violation of 10th Amendment, sued to prevent Arizona from using reasonable measures to discourage illegal immigration within its borders. Arizona has a large number of illegal immigrants, compared to other states, and needs to be able to act to reduce the number." (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

  • "White House: Made "recess appointments" to the National Labor Relations Board and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau when Congress was NOT in recess. The Obama Administration has ignored the ruling by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals that the appointments are unconstitutional." (SOURCE: Report from Nine State Attorneys General)

  • Without Congressional approval, Obama gutted the work requirement for welfare recipients passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

  • President Obama established an extra-constitutional top secret "kill list" of people (including Americans) who can be summarily killed on sight – presumably by drones – without due process. Once on Obama's kill list, an American citizen can be targeted and executed on the opinion of a single government bureaucrat. That's not how our legal system is supposed to work.
Never underestimate the motives of a tyrant to seize and keep power over the people. Tyrants don't understand nor appreciate the words of Patrick Henry that "The chains of the Constitution were to bind the politicians." The Reichstag fire is just one example. History is replete with examples after examples, however, if the people don't read, don't understand and don't act upon history, then they will according to philosopher George Santayana be "doomed to repeat history." This is the Socialist-Progressive pretext that throughout history and the Ages tyrants have always used to abuse the natural rights of We the People while dominating them in chains of Socialist slavery they always conflate as "freedom." Remember the words of Hermann Goering, Hitler's Reich-Marshall, "[T]he people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country." Tragically, Goering was correct.

America, stop President Barack Obama and the Democrat Socialist Party from using Hitler and Goering's Reichstag fire tactics as a pretext to destroy America, the U.S. Constitution and our Judeo-Christian traditions which are your unalienable natural rights founded under God, the Bible, liberty and natural law.

*N.B.: For further readings on this subject, please see these definitive texts on Hitler and the Nazis: William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Simon and Schuster, 1960), pp. 146, 191-96, 274; Alison Kitson, Germany, 1858-1990: Hope, Terror, and Revival, (Oxford U. Press, 2001); Daniel Goldhagen, Hitler's Willing Executioners (1996); Ian Kershaw: Hitler, The Germans and the Final Solution(Yale, 2008).


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Ellis Washington

Ellis Washington is a former staff editor of the Michigan Law Review (1989) and law clerk at the Rutherford Institute (1992). Currently he is an adjunct professor of law at the National Paralegal College and the graduate school, National Jurisprudence University, where he teaches Constitutional Law, Legal Ethics, American History, Administrative Law, Criminal Procedure, Contracts, Real Property, and Advanced Legal Writing, among many other subjects... (more)

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