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The Reichstag Fire (ePub)

Military > Greenhill eBooks P&S History > By Century > 20th Century WWII

By Sven Felix Kellerhoff, Roger Moorhouse
Greenhill Books
File Size: 37.1 MB (.epub)
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9781784389048
Published: 1st April 2023


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When the German Reichstag went up in flames on the evening of 27 February 1933, Hitler used the incident to seize power, claiming it was the work of Communists planning a violent uprising.

But who really started the fire? Were the Nazis to blame, or was it the work of lone arsonist Marinus van der Lubbe? This debate has been raging for more than eighty years. The Reichstag Fire seeks to shed light on this pivotal event that changed the course of world history.

Through a thorough and unbiased analysis of original source material, award-winning journalist Sven Felix Kellerhoff charts the outbreak of the fire, the Reich Cabinet's response to the event, Marinus van der Lubbe's repeated confession to the crime, and the far-reaching consequences of the fire.

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Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

For anyone with interest in Nazi Germany, this is a great primer to the events around the Reichstag Fire, and the Fire itself. Kellerhoff's text is well-translated, and it conveys the finer points of history well. He contextualises the Fire, but also how the aftermath of Nazi Germany has coloured contemporary perception of the events.

NetGalley, Varun Oak-Bhakay

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Reichstag Fire: The Case Against the Nazi Conspiracy, by Sven Felix Kellerhoff and translated by Karina Berger, is a detailed and very convincing argument against the popular idea that the fire was a Nazi plot. Even more disturbing is what it says about the way history is sometimes done, even by established historians, when the desire to place blame outweighs, for them, the desire to seek the truth.

This reprint brings together most of the available information about the fire, the investigation, and the various conspiracy theories that surrounded it from the beginning. I am familiar with other accounts that make good cases for this being the act of a single man, but those accounts largely focus on a single perspective, bringing into the argument what fits in their larger narratives. This book tries, and succeeds quite well, in bringing everything into a narrative that is strictly about the fire, with the other narratives (Nazi, communist, workers, etc) playing supporting roles. This makes for the most convincing presentation that I have come across.

While this contains a lot of detail and makes several arguments, this is not an academic work, it is a detailed work for a broad readership, but a readership that wants to think as they read rather than just be fed a lot of information. So if your interest lies in this area, no matter what amount of formal or informal background you may have, this is accessible.

The fact that nothing seemed to support any of the conspiracy theories beyond the fact the Nazis did work it to their advantage, yet professional historians insisted on speculating as though the theories had some evidence to support them, makes one wonder just how much of history is equally misguided. We know that the "victors" write the histories, and they skew it to their benefit, but skewing and totally ignoring the facts before you are two different things.

Recommended for anyone with an interest in the early years of the Nazi regime, as well as those who may only remember the brief account of the fire likely offered in any kind of survey course.

NetGalley, Jack Messer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

An interesting and academic look at one of the seminal events in Nazi Germany. The Reichstag building fire was the event that gave Hitler the power to truly become the dictator of Germany who destroyed so many lives.

NetGalley, Caroline Palmer

About Sven Felix Kellerhoff

Sven Felix Kellerhoff is a journalist.

About Roger Moorhouse

Roger Moorhouse is an historian of the Third Reich. He is the author of the acclaimed Hitler's Third Reich in 100 Objects and The Devil's Alliance, and has been published in more than 20 languages. He is also a tour guide and visiting professor at Warsaw's College of Europe. You can see him on Twitter at @Roger_Moorhouse.

Nazi Germany's parliament building "The Reichstag" is destroyed by fire

27th February 1933

possibly set by the Nazis, who blame and execute Dutch Communist Marinus van der Lubbe

View all events View all anniversaries

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