I thought the matter of who set the Reichstag fire was laid to rest years ago. Apparently not. Are mainstream historians still divided over the matter? Ian Kershaw"s “Hitler” has Marinus van der Lubbe as the sole arsonist.
I look forward to your feedback.
In 1981, a West Berlin court declared that the trial had been “a miscarriage of justice,” though they stopped short of saying that he had been innocent. In 2001, evidence emerged that the conspiracy theory had been right along, with historians announcing that the Nazis had been the ones responsible for the fire, though even then others disagreed — and, as recently as 2014, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum noted that “the origins of the fire are still unclear.”
The investigation was conducted by the Berlin Police Department, who were not associated with the Nazi Party and had no reason to cover up anything. Van der Lubbe confessed to it freely, and had a criminal record as an arsonist beforehand.
The Telegraph article is filled with hearsay (e.g., “Rall is said to have told prosecutors…”) and is very short on any evidence to back up its assertions. No evidence is not evidence.
Germany eventually pardoned him, but only on the basis that justice under Nazism was inherently unjust. They did not address whether he actually set the fire.
It occurred at a very convenient time to suit the Nazis’ agenda and enable them to bring forward emergency powers legislation, and immediate firmer action against whole categories of opponents. So I suppose it’s not beyond the bounds of impossibility for van der Lubbe to have been manipulated, if he was already a known arsonist and loose-lipped as to his intentions, or at least fo have been allowed to go on his way while plans for a reaction were being finalised.
Likewise I don’t suppose anyone will ever know the full truth of the Moscow apartment bombings in 1999…
*"At the heart of the story is a small group of Gestapo (Nazi secret police) officers who investigated the fire in 1933, and then provided historians with information about it after 1945. Most prominent among them was the first chief of the Gestapo, the young Rudolf Diels. Around Diels were the detectives Walter Zirpins and Helmut Heisig, who were the first to interrogate van der Lubbe on the night of the fire (Heisig was subsequently the officer in charge of the investigations); Rudolf Braschwitz, Heisig’s deputy; and Heinrich Schnitzler, who was not involved in the investigations but who held the post of chief administrator of the Gestapo. If one believed what these men said after the war – and most historians have believed it – they all concluded from the beginning that van der Lubbe had acted completely alone, and bravely insisted on this point to Nazi leaders like Herman Göring, bringing Nazi rage and even retribution on their own heads.
The problem is, documents from the investigations (which during the Cold War were housed in the USSR and then in East Germany, and only became freely available to researchers in the 1990s) completely contradict this picture of brave cops telling truth to power. In fact Diels’s officers worked hard to track down and arrest Communists in connection with the fire, even fabricating evidence against them and suborning perjury; Diels himself complained to the chief prosecutor that the prosecutor had not indicted all the suspects Diels’s officers had produced."*
Given the available forensic evidence (that one feeble-minded vision-impaired person could not have started such a large fire), the political situation at the time and the fervent Nazi campaign to blame Communists, it makes a lot more sense that Hitler’s henchmen were actually responsible for both the fire and its aftermath.
Richard Rhodes in “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” also states it was the Nazis. Perhaps there is something to it.
p. 25 “On the night of February 27 a Nazi gang directed by the head of the Berlin SA, Hitler’s private army, set fire to the imposing chambers of the Reichstag. The building was totally destroyed. Hitler blamed the arson on the Communists and bullied a stunned Reichstag into awarding him emergency powers.”