Monday, February 27, 2017

February 1933 - Setting The Stage for War

1933 Chronicles
In January 1933 Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor despite a minority vote, under the assumption that he could be controlled and would cause less trouble being in the government.  By February he was well on his way to becoming a dictator.

Feb 3rd 
With the approval of Germany's President Hindenburg, Adolf Hitler decreed the "Ordinance for the Protection of the German People", which allowed the police to ban any publications which were a threat to public order. Violators could be arrested and detained without a warrant for as long as three months.

Feb 4th
In a secret speech with Germany's senior Army and Navy commanders, Adolf Hitler outlined his plans to begin conscription, to rearm Germany in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919, and, eventually, to invade Eastern Europe to increase Germany's territory.

Feb 7th
The United States Senate voted 53-17 to fire its long-time sergeant at arms, David S. Barry, after he had written a magazine article that suggested that some of the Senators had taken bribes.

Feb 21st
Hermann Göring, the new Nazi leader of Germany's largest state, Prussia, published a decree in the Party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, ordering the Prussian police to shoot any "enemies of the state", and providing for disciplinary action against any policeman who was "inappropriately considerate.”

Feb 22nd
Adolf Hitler authorized the formation of the first Nazi concentration camps (Konzentrationslager), where opponents of the regime would be kept in "protective custody" (Schutzhaft) until they could reform.

Feb 27th
Reichstag fire: Six days before the March 5 national parliamentary elections, the Reichstag building in Berlin, was set afire and was heavily damaged. The fire was discovered at 9:15 pm, and the first responders found more than 60 small fires set throughout the building, with the largest in the chamber where the legislators met. Marinus Van der Lubbe, a 25-year-old Dutchman with a Communist background, was arrested at the scene and made a confession after being questioned by his Nazi captors. A former bodyguard for Sturmabteilung (SA) founder Ernst Röhm, alleged later that the Berlin SA leader, Karl Ernst, had led a group of his troopers into the building through a connecting passage, brought in incendiaries, and then waited for Van der Lubbe to arrive.[76] "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 would write in 1960. Van der Lubbe was executed on January 10, 1934, while Ernst, Röhm, and many of the SA men were executed after Adolf Hitler ordered a purge of the Nazi party six months afterward. The fire would be the pretext for the emergency orders the next day granting Hitler the power to rule by decree.

Feb 28th

Reichstag Fire Decree: Hours after the Reichstag building had been set afire, Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his Cabinet of Ministers drew up an emergency decree for President Paul von Hindenburg to sign under Article 48 of the German constitution. "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and State" took effect immediately upon the President's signature "as a defensive measure against Communist acts of violence endangering the state". Besides suspending guarantees of "personal liberty", "free expression of opinion", "freedom of the press", "the right of assembly" and "the right of association", the decree invoked the death penalty for a wider variety of crimes, including "serious disturbance of the peace" by an armed individual. Hitler's Stormtroopers across Germany conducted mass arrests, including taking members of Parliament into custody.