28 February, 2021

February 28, 1933

The Reichstag Fire Decree.

The preamble translated into English:

Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State

On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:

§ 1.
Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of (opinion) expression, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications. Warrants for House searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

This was issued within hours of the Reichstag fire. The Reichstag was equivalent to our Congress building. The fire was believed to have been arson, and Hitler blamed an insurrection by the Communist Party of Germany. He used this is as a method to restrict civil liberties, including the freedom of speech, and to essentially make the opposition party illegal.


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