Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Reichstag Fire

I was surprised to encounter this while proofreading a letter to the editor recently:

Germany’s descent into totalitarianism during the 1930s began when agents of the government torched the parliament building then blamed it on the communists. The media went along with the ruse. Is this an appropriate historical analogy to 9/11?

The letter was from one of those one-third of Americans who suspect or believe our government had some complicity in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. And he takes it as unqualified truth that the Nazis burned the Reichstag. But the weight of historical opinion is that they didn't. They certainly exploited it for all it was worth to them, and exaggerated the communist terrorism angle.

But I guess if you fall for one conspiracy theory, you might as well buy the whole lot.