Lead: In 1933 the National Socialist Party was a minority in the German parliament, the Reichstag. Adolf Hitler needed some reason to declare marshal law. He found it in a fire.
Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.
Content: Despite his elevation to the office of Chancellor after the elections in November of the previous year, Hitler in 1933 was frustrated. His party was in minority status and other political groups in the Reichstag were effectively resisting his policies. He needed a lever to permit seizing ultimate power. The excuse came in late evening February 27th. Carefully set fires broke out in various parts of the Reichstag building, the seat of the national German parliament. Designed by Paul Wallot during the Imperial years of the previous century, the Reichstag was the living symbol of Weimar democracy struggling to establish itself in Germany, but soon to be destroyed. It was a perfect target and proved a perfect ruse for the Fuhrer’s grab for power.