The exploitation of the so-called “insurrection” at the Capitol on January 6th calls to mind one of history’s most notorious events: The Reichstag Fire that changed Adolf Hitler from being Germany’s chancellor to being Germany’s Führer.
On the night of February 27, 1933, the parliamentary building in Berlin — the Reichstag — went up in flames. It was obvious from the beginning it was an act of arson. Hitler and the National Socialists seized upon the shocking event, claiming Germany was on the verge of a Communist insurrection. The official report issued by the German government the day after the fires read:
“The burning of the Reichstag was intended to be the signal for a bloody uprising and civil war. Large-scale pillaging in Berlin was planned for as early as four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday. It has been determined that starting today throughout Germany acts of terrorism were to begin against prominent individuals, against private property, against the lives and safety of the peaceful population, and general civil war was to be unleashed.”
As the newly appointed chancellor, Hitler was granted extensive powers to suppress the uprising and over the next 90 days consolidated his control. Across Germany, police and paramilitary units encircled government buildings to protect against anticipated attacks. Hundreds of Communists and their associates were arrested and questioned. The Communist press and radio were shut down. Their mail was opened, and their telephones tapped. But the biggest blow to the German communist movement was the removal of their elected members of the Reichstag, thus giving the National Socialists a working majority.
A Political Motif
“Reichstag Fire” has become an irrepressible political motif on the exploitation of public and political fears to consolidate power. In the post-Fire elections held on March 5, 1933, the National Socialist share of the vote rose to 44%. The allied German Nationalist Party received 8%. Hitler had seized control. German belonged to him.
Today, 88 years later, the Left is fanning the flames of fear over the events of January 6 and trying to exploit it. The rowdy behavior of a small number of a generally peaceable assembly is being used to remove lawfully elected members of Congress. The Leftist Media is spewing theories of mass insurrection and spreading dishonest claims of “insurrection deaths”. In reality, the demonstrators were at the Capitol to peacefully support a petition to Congress to appoint an electoral commission that would conduct a ten-day emergency audit of the voting procedures in Arizona and two other states. But this fact is not being explained to the general public. In reality, the threat to our democracy is not what happened on January 6, it’s the ongoing witch hunt to “root out insurrection”.
Hitler’s Reichstag Fire playbook is being followed step by step: false claims of “insurrection related” deaths; masses of troops guarding public buildings; widespread claims of bomb plots and mysterious conspiracies; wiretapping; surveillance, massive round-ups of political suspects, and the removal of unreliable members of the police and military. All this is being done to remove or nullify enough members of Congress to secure permanent Democratic control of the Federal Government.
There is a further lesson to be learned from the Reichstag Fire Gambit: The importance and value of being able to have a fair trial.
Hitler put Communist party leaders on what he thought would be a useful show trial. War hero Reichminister Herman Göring testified as four leading Communists sat in court next to the actual arsonist. But this was a tactical mistake. The Communists provided a vigorous defense presenting exculpatory evidence — even cross-examined Göering. In his verdict, the Judge found that, except for the arsonist himself, there was insufficient evidence to connect the accused Communist leadership to the fire or the alleged conspiracy of insurrection.
This was a blow to Hitler but by this time he had already consolidated his power. The results of the trial became irrelevant. But had the verdicts been arrived at earlier, the history of the 20th Century could have played out very differently.
Stalin Takes Note
Joseph Stalin took particular interest in the trial since it was directed at his Comintern and based on the claim of an international Communist conspiracy. He noted later that a show trial can go wrong if managed by an honest judge, if the defendants were defiant, if exculpatory evidence was admitted, or if the schemes of agent provocateurs were revealed. Stalin put these lessons to use in the Great Moscow Show Trials (and purge) of 1936 – 1938, managed by his favorite prosecutor, Andrey Vyshinsky, and his favorite judge, Iona Nikitchenko.
How To Stage a Show Trial
It’s déjà vu all over again. As it prepares for the largest political trial in United States history, the Federal Government is keeping tight control of the evidence. The Feds are releasing only a handful of video clips that show violence by demonstrators and withholding videos that show defendants cooperating with Capitol Hill police or peacefully waiting in line to enter the Capitol. Official reports claiming multiple deaths caused by the “insurrection” have not been retracted; including a blatantly false claim regarding police officer Brian Sicknick. In reality, the only demonstration-related death was that of Ashli Babbitt, an unarmed Air Force veteran shot as she clambered through a broken window. The government is refusing to release its videos of her murder and has exonerated the unnamed shooter after a secret in-house investigation.
The Federal Government also continues to conceal the identity of many of the most active “insurrectionists,” raising suspicions of agent provocateurs. There is an ongoing vast search of the emails and websites of participants in the Trump rally of that day, looking for any extremist statements. Surveillance, wiretapping, and the collection of phone metadata and geo-locator data of citizens associated with the defendants are common. Reports from many defendants indicate that strong-arm questioning is widespread with great pressure applied to testify to the existence of a conspiracy to seize power. Several Republican members of Congress are being targeted for investigation. And it’s not over yet.
The tradition of the Reichstag Fire Gambit, and how it was exploited to give Hitler limitless power, is alive and well in Washington. A truly frightening reality for all Americans who cherish freedom, fair play, and the rights guaranteed to all citizens by the U.S. Constitution.
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