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On 27th Feb 1933, Berlin’s Reichstag building was destroyed. A newsreel covers the aftermath and there is footage of the ruined building. Click here to see the collection, or click the stills below for the individual films.

The fire meant more than damage to an impressive structure – it was an immensely important event in the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany. Adolf Hitler was able to use the event to obtain emergency powers, which he used to suppress opposition to Nazi rule. By the end of March, Hitler was a dictator and Germany’s struggling democracy was finally dead.

The gutted interior. Click the still to view the film.

The gutted interior. Click the still to view the film.

"Berlin. Martial law in Germany, follows burning of the Reichstag on eve of fateful General Election." Click the still to view the newsreel.

“Berlin. Martial law in Germany, follows burning of the Reichstag on eve of fateful General Election.” Click the still to view the newsreel.

A French Pathé News film compares the interior of the building before and after the fire. Click the still to view the contemporary newsreel.

A French Pathé News film compares the interior of the building before and after the fire. Click the still to view the contemporary newsreel.

For British Pathé’s collection of films on the Reichstag fire, click here.

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