I was thinking about the 9/11 conspiracy theories and about historical instances of massive domestic destruction being staged by a political group to help it gain/increase power. What came to mind was the 1933 burning of the German Reichstag (the parliamentary building), which was attributed to communists and which was instrumental to Hitler’s coming to power. [Two disclaimers: (1) this is not intended to imply or suggest any similarity between the current US administration and the Nazi party; (2) 9/11 conspiracy theorization is emphatically not the subject of this thread, deal?)
Most of what I learned about this event came from William Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (okay, I didn’t read the whole thing; that’s a long friggin’ book!). I can’t find the book at the moment, still living out of boxes as I am after moving, but my recollection is that a somewhat unhinged individual was found at the scene who identified as a communist and confessed to the act. He was subsequently executed along with several prominent communist party members. However, if I remember right, Shirer says clearly that the Nazis put the guy up to it and aided him in accomplishing it, thereby fomenting a fear of a communist revolution and enabling the Nazis to dissolve democratic institutions and seize absolute power by declaring a permanent state of emergency. Not unlike the Empire under Palpatine (believe it or not, I actualy thought that aspect of the SW prequel trilogy was fairly well-done – but that’s a topic for another forum…).
I went to the Wikipedia page to brush up on the details. I was surprised to find that the above interpretation is far from well-established; the article is in fact very tentative about there being any compelling evidence linking the Nazis with the Reichstag fire.
So my question for the history buffs frequenting these boards: is the Wikipedia page a reasonable depiction of the historical understanding of the event?
It seems to me to be of considerable historical interest whether there is a confirmed instance of a poliltical group orchestrating a massive terrorist act within their own country – again, I don’t want to engage in any debate about 9/11 (FWIW, I could never believe our current leaders capable of that – flawed men and women, yes, but not evil), but it’s useful to know the limits that humans will traverse in advancing their own interests.