The penultimate step towards Adolf Hitler gaining complete control over the destiny of Germany were taken on the night of 27th February 1933 when the Reichstag was destroyed by fire. The fire was almost certainly planned by the Nazis, Goebbels and Goering in particular. A Dutch communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, was made scapegoat for the fire, but the main outcome was that Hitler was given an excuse to have all the Communist deputies of the Reichstag arrested, and managed to obtain a decree from President Hindenburg giving the Nazi goverment powers to inter anyone they thought was a threat to the nation. Furthermore the Presidential decree allowed the Nazi government to suppress the free speech of its political opponents. Despite all these advantages, in the elections of March 5th 1933, the Nazis only managed to acheive 44 percent of the votes. Even with the suppression of the Communist deputies, Hitler was still short of an overall majority and nowhere near the two-thirds majority needed for any change in the German constitution.
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