Day 28 – The Reichstag Fire, “Dangerous” Immigrants & Emergency Decrees

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“Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril. If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!”

Thus, in typical thin-skin, knee-jerk Twitter-ese, President Trump issues a Don Corleone “and that day may never come” warning in the wake of a court-ruling stalling his seven-country travel ban.

Nothing makes people more willing to give up their rights than an emergency.  And nothing primes the pump better for an emergency decree than a worst-case-scenario actually happening.

Adolf Hitler didn’t take over Germany by force–he was elected chancellor, not dictator in 1932 and sworn in on January 30, 1933.  He promised change, jobs for the working class and most importantly plenty of scapegoats to blame for losing WWI and the nation’s terrible economy.  A 24-year-old out-of-work bricklayer provided Hitler his “sign from God.”

Hitler hadn’t been in office for a month when the Reichstag was set fire, the guilty party a newly arrived Dutch immigrant and communist Marinus van der Lubbe who was arrested inside the burning building.

The next day, the aged President Hindenburg gave Hitler his “Reichstag Fire Decree” which suspended rights until Hitler shot himself 12 years later, including:

  • Habeus Corpus
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Right of Free Association
  • Right of Public Assembly
  • Privacy Rights for Telephone and Post

Despite claiming that he acted alone, thousands of communists were arrested and communist members of the government were not permitted to vote.  One month later, the Enabling Act was passed, permitting Hitler to rule by decree and five years later Poland was invaded and WWII began.

It was never disproven that the guillotined van der Lubbe wasn’t the guilty party.  Hermann Goering joked that he had set it, after all.  And perhaps it was just a stroke of luck for the Nazis.  But Hitler needed a country ready to already be living in fear, anger and finger-pointing.  It’s easy if you don’t have to spend time supplying facts such as crowd-size, actual murder rates, people “pouring in” and the ambiguous identities of millions of illegal aliens who obtained voter registration cards much easier than most fifth generation Americans in southern states.

Fear is a powerful motivator.  Realized fear can be cataclysmic.

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About Kevin Walsh

Kevin began in 2013 as an experiment that was as simple as "What's a blog?" and ended up becoming a forum for fellow writers. He's been a high school teacher for 28 years and worked as an administrator and instructor in colleges for 6. Contact him at: He is also the producer of the web-series and blog, www.DiggingDetroit, founder and producer for MMD Productions at which offers quick, professional photography, video and multimedia solutions for individuals, organizations and businesses. His high school media production text, "Video Direct," has been used in 40 states--and he occasionally still sells a few. He is the current president of the non-profit DAFT (Digital Arts Film and Television) which sponsors the Michigan Student Film Festival. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, is married to Patrice and is tolerated by his two kids Aidan and Abby who have all graciously allowed him to write about them on occasion. Follow Kevin on Twitter @kwteacher

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