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(German, ‘imperial parliament’) The legislature of the German Second empire and of the Weimar Republic. Its role was confined to legislation, being forbidden to interfere in federal government affairs and having limited control over public spending. Under the Weimar Republic it enjoyed greater power as the government was made responsible to it. On the night of 27 February 1933 the Reichstag fire occurred. Goering and Goebbels allegedly planned to set fire to the building, subsequently claiming it as a communist plot. The arsonist was a half-crazed Dutch communist, Marinus van der Lubbe. The subsequent trial was an embarrassment as the accused German and Bulgarian communist leaders were acquitted of complicity and only van der Lubbe was executed. But the fire had served its political purpose. On 28 February a decree suspended all civil liberties and installed a state of emergency, which lasted until 1945. Elections to the Reichstag were held on 5 March 1933, but by the Enabling Act of 23 March 1933 the Reichstag effectively voted itself out of existence.

Subjects: History.

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