Reed Douglas - Fire and Bomb

Author : Reed Douglas
Title : Fire and Bomb A Comparison between the Burning of the Reichstag and the Bomb Explosion at Munich
Year : 1940

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Foreword. Seven years ago the reign of Adolf Hitler over Germany and the regime of National Socialism in the German Reich began, as they are now likely to end, with a holocaust. The Reichstag, the German Parliament-house, went up in flames one night; the enemies of National Socialism were proclaimed to have fired it; they were immediately and ruthlessly suppressed; the power of National Socialism in Germany was thus made absolute; and subsequently a great trial was held, with five men in the dock, to convince the world of the truth of the original assertion - that the enemies of Hitlerism had committed a deed so timely and welcome to Adolf Hitler and his lieutenants. The hastily-built structure of the trial, put together by men who underrated the difficulties of such a task, was not proof against the infra-red rays of world publicity. Four of the accused men were proved innocent and had to be acquitted; the fifth was a half-witted dupe who was proved (1) to have been in the Reichstag, and (2) to have been incapable of causing this great conflagration without many accomplices. He was beheaded. The burning question 'Who fired the Reichstag?' was left unanswered by the trial. Every avenue of investigation which led in the direction of the National Socialists themselves was blocked by the German Supreme Court. Nevertheless, and in spite of every effort to conceal them, trails were several times uncovered during the trial which would have led to that quarter if they had been pursued. The same chance which made of me a journalist, and a journalist working in Berlin, took me past the Reichstag at the moment it broke into flames. I entered it at the same moment as Hermann Göring himself; followed every detail of the long judicial investigation that was made known; and attended every sitting of the trial. Thus I came to know this particular subject more thoroughly than any other foreigner. I felt that it was one of major historical importance and made the study of it an especial hobby. Yet, in the years that have lapsed since then, I have, in reading and re-reading the evidence, repeatedly found something new, discovered fresh discrepancies in the evidence, fitted missing pieces to the jigsaw puzzle that the trial left half-finished, until to-day I am convinced of a very strange thing: in the very Supreme Court of the German Reich itself, assembled to vindicate National Socialism, that truth was actually revealed which will surely emerge if a second Reichstag Fire Trial is ever held - that the National Socialists fired it themselves! The main reasons for this conviction are set out in the following account. But they are not the only reasons for writing it. Another motive is that a second spectacular trial - The Munich Bomb Trial - may soon be staged, this time with the British Empire, instead of the Communist International, in the dock! In 1933 Adolf Hitler wished to convince the world that Russian Bolshevism, his ally today, was the mortal enemy of National Socialist Germany; in 1940, apparently, he hopes to persuade the world that Britain fills that part. In 1933 three Bulgarian Communist exiles, a German parlour-Bolshevist, and a mentally deficient Dutch destitute were put in the dock. In 1940, if the Munich Bomb Trial is held, the accused, according to the statements of the German secret police, are to be an exiled German, once one of Adolf Hitler's own chief supporters; a German of whom none had ever heard and of whom nothing is known, apparently a second van der Lubbe; and two British officials who by a trick were decoyed to the Dutch-German frontier and there kidnapped by German agents. The chief result of this Munich Bomb Trial, if it come about, is already clear to see - that, like its predecessor, it will leave unanswered the main question, in this case, 'Who planted the Munich bomb? But for an understanding of the methods by which such mock-trials are staged, a knowledge of the Reichstag Fire Trial is essential. To that end it is worth while briefly to resurrect from the mists of derision into which they have long since disappeared, the Crazy Gang of witnesses - lunatics, convicts, drug-addicts, self-confessed murderers, police-spies, stool-pigeons, garrulous charwomen, and sycophants - which was paraded before the Supreme Court of the German Reich in the endeavour to conceal the truth and whitewash National Socialism; to show how the proof of National Socialist guilt could have been obtained if every recurrent possibility of this had not been sternly repressed; and to recall how a German court of law was turned into an obscene harlequinade by warping its procedure to gain a political end. But even the harlequinade is a thing of dignity compared with the things that happen behind the scenes, while it is being prepared, and while it is in progress. There the torturers, the third-degree men, and the drug-experts hold sway. The products of their work have been seen often enough in the great Soviet show-trials, but only once in Germany - in the unforgettable figure of van der Lubbe, the dupe. These are the men, these masked figures behind the scenes, who make such trials possible. Without them, not even the flimsiest screen of plausibility could be put together, for the delusion of the credulous and the baffling of the sceptics. Such men made the Reichstag Fire Trial. Such men will make the Munich Bomb Trial. The course of the Munich Trial, if it be held, will be much clearer to follow if the method, the technique, of staging a great political trial be understood. The Reichstag Trial offers the perfect example. ...

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