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Of Commies, Witches and Crucibles. McCarthyism Here’s how it all started: WWII The allies (America, Britain, etc.) enter into an uneasy and reluctant.

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Presentation on theme: "Of Commies, Witches and Crucibles. McCarthyism Here’s how it all started: WWII The allies (America, Britain, etc.) enter into an uneasy and reluctant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Of Commies, Witches and Crucibles


3 McCarthyism Here’s how it all started: WWII The allies (America, Britain, etc.) enter into an uneasy and reluctant alliance with Russia to effectively surround Germany and end the war. February 1945 Yalta Conference: Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill agreed on free elections in all Eastern European nations.

4 McCarthyism Here’s how it all started: July 1945 Potsdam Conference: Stalin reneged on allowing free elections and left armies in Eastern Europe to make it a buffer zone. Russia was perceived as expansionist. March 1946 A speech delivered by Churchill signaled the official start of the Cold War.

5 Senator Joseph McCarthy Senator Joseph McCarthy is responsible for falsely accusing many of Communism.

6 Era of McCarthyism Late 1940’s and mid-1950’s Widespread congressional investigations take place. HUAC (House on un-American Activities Committee) is established. It is first chaired by Edward J. Hart 1945– 1946 McCarthyism= A mid-twentieth century political attitude characterized chiefly by opposition to elements held to be subversive and by the use of tactics involving personal attacks on individuals by means of widely publicized indiscriminate allegations especially on the basis of unsubstantiated charges. *A time when national security took precedence over ordinary law.

7 Elements of McCarthyism “A Guide to Anti-Communist Action” published secret informants blacklisting individual rights impaired loyalty oaths books seen as “threats to the free world” were purged from school libraries book publishing restricted Hollywood began making “safe” movies professors shrank from teaching controversial topics “Is Your Neighbor a Communist?” pamphlets

8 Legacy of McCarthyism build-up of a nuclear arsenal disastrous involvement in Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam Communist party was virtually dissolved liberal, left wing decidedly weakened decline in quality of art and literature, particularly movies push for national health insurance dissipated effective public criticism of American foreign policy became non-existent FBI’s secret program harassing political dissenters in 60’s-70’s Watergate-related felonies of the 1970’s Iran-Contra scandals of the 1980’s continuing impaired relations with Cuba, China, North Korea

9 I have here in my hand a list of 205... a list of names






15 "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America." Michelle Bachmann 10/17/08

16 McCarthyism = Witch Hunt A witch hunt is a search for witches or evidence of witchcraft, often involving moral panic, mass hysteria and lynching, but in historical instances also legally sanctioned and involving official witchcraft trials. "Witch-hunt." Wikipedia. 10 May 2010. Web. 13 May 2010


18 Without Further Ado... I present to you, fascinating background info on witchcraft and witchcraft trials.

19 Witchcraft – When it Wasn’t (Or Earlier in History – People were smarter) In the 8th century St Boniface declared that belief in witches was unchristian. The 9th century German emperor Charlemagne decreed the death penalty for anyone who burnt someone to death as a witch. –It was decreed that belief in night-flying was an hallucination In later centuries various European rulers would declare that there was no such thing as witch- craft.

20 Then, Well, People Went Crazy First the clerics... By the end of the 15th century the Papacy itself would decree that witches did in fact exist. –the Canon Law Capitulum Episcopi made witchcraft no longer a superstition which could not be acted against but a heresy. Pope John XXII was the first to instruct the inquisitors to proceed against witches because he personally lived in continual terror of them. In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued a historical papal bull which marked the beginning of official action against suspected witches Protestant reformers also accepted the danger of witches and witchcraft.

21 In 1486, Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of the Witches) was published as a text to provide instruction on how to detect and deal with witches

22 ... then the Academics Because there was now papal approval, supersition quickly evolved into theory. By 1450 the first books on the theology of witchcraft began to appear in Spain, declaring that witchcraft was itself a new heresy. This grew into demonology or study of witchcraft. –Various academics and monks pondered such the difficult aspects of witchcraft such as how the devil could actually impregnate a witch. Did he first have to take the form of a woman, be impregnated by a man (succubus) and then pass the impregnation on to the woman (incubus)? SMART PEOPLE ACTUALLY STUDIED THIS!

23 ... then the general population (and greed, envy, jealousy) 14th century - Black Plague killed more men than women, so witches were blamed 15th century - epidemics of syphilis in Europe were believed to be caused by witches Witches were believed to cause a variety of misfortunes called “maleficium” –Causing beer or cheese to spoil –Causing a family cow to dry up –Causing the deaths of people, particularly children –Causing food poisoning and sickness

24 ... a belief in a real, tangible devil Witches were believed to sign a contract with the Devil and possibly sleep with him Witches were believed to participate in regular “Witch’s Sabbaths” where there was wild, naked dancing and orgies with demons

25 Witches were all somehow spawned by the devil and participated in bizarre supernatural activities. –They anointed themselves with "devil's grease" made from the fat of murdered babies. This enabled them to slip through cracks and key-holes and down chimneys. –It gave them the ability to fly at night on broomsticks and so participate in the witches' sabbath or meeting with the devil, at first weekly but later almost on a nightly basis. At the sabbath, all danced in honor of their Dark Lord and played on macabre instruments like skulls and human bones. They kissed the devil in his many forms. Then they would have sex with the devil, write in his book, cast spells and feast on grisly meals.

26 ... Social intolerance What is social intolerance? Social intolerance is a process by which one person or group hates or shuns another person or group due to differences they possess. Social intolerance is a process, which advances from feelings, which occur as responses to one or more environmental factors. Environmental factors could spark fear, which is normally a major reason for prejudice’s birth. –Ugly, poor, outspoken, childless women –People who don’t agree with the majority –People who look different –Midwives

27 ... and, finally, good old-fashioned misogyny Suspected witches were overwhelmingly women –Usually middle-aged to elderly –Unmarried –“Humble” social status (beggars) –Somewhat less fertile than other women –Disagreeable, aggressive, or self-assertive personalities –The unattractive or deformed

28 Religious Leaders, Academics, Greed, Envy, Misogyny, Fear of the Devil Combined to Create Hysterical Cries of Witchcraft

29 And Innocent People Die 16th and 17th centuries - witch crazes in Europe killed over 10,000 women Salem, MA over 140 people accused and over 20 people executed

30 Salem Witch Trials Elements of Witchcraft/Witches “Tests” were used to determine if someone was a witch –the “devil’s mark” ( an oddly shaped mole) –the water test –weighing against a bible –spectral evidence Example of spectral evidence

31 Salem Witch Trials Contributions to Belief in Witches Misogyny and sexism Social and religious upheaval as a result of the religious wars Women’s struggle for more influence and power in society Economic pressures “Scape-goating” after personal or widespread misfortune The spread of disease and its accompanying climate of fear Fear of and belief in a physical, tangible devil

32 Witch-mania Comes Full Circle Witch-mania began to collapse during the late-17th century. A new spirit of religious toleration began to form. Witch-mania became a spent force. 18th century (Age of Enlightenment) writers such as Voltaire railed against superstition and witchcraft and made believers in such superstition appear as fools.

33 Dance Break


35 The Crucible

36 A vessel, usually porcelain, used for melting material that requires a high degree of heat * Makes metal strong through intense heat and pressure * Removes impurities from the “base” ore * Imagery of fire, heat, pressure, burning, passion, hellfire throughout the play

37 The Crucible was written by Arthur Miller in 1953 as an allegory for McCarthyism or the so called Red Scare. Wanting to point out to the world the amazing parallel between the unjust Salem Witch Trials of 1692 and the Red Scare from 1948 to 1956, Miller wrote The Crucible to make a powerful statement about the dangers of hysteria and the dehumanization that can result.

38 It all started with the improper behavior......of three teenage girls: –Abigail Adams –Mercy Lewis –Mary Warren Who brought disaster to Salem, MA a tiny (at the time) Puritan village 15 miles north of Boston

39 But first, Arthur Miller Born in Harlem 1915 More of an athlete than a student in school Worked as a common laborer – farmhand, warehouse clerk, waiter and truck driver Went to Univ. of Michigan to take journalism and playwriting courses

40 Major Plays and Prizes Death of a Salesman, 1949 – won the Pulitzer Prize The Crucible, 1953 – won the Tony award for best play Considered one of the most gifted playwrights in the 40’s and 50’s

41 1954 – Became America’s Most Controversial Playwright In that year, the State Dept. refused to issue him a passport to attend the European opening of The Crucible. The grounds were that he was suspected of supporting the Communist movement

42 Miller - a Liberal, but not a Communist A very political person, a liberal thinker politically and economically Denied any involvement or sympathy with the Communist party However, HUAC (House UnAmerican Affairs Committee) called Miller to a meeting Under interrogation he refused to name Communist sympathizers Found guilty of contempt Later released

43 Analogy: Salem Witch Trials of 1692 compared to the Communist “witch hunt” of the 1950’s “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?”

44 Literary and Critical Overview The Crucible exposes the ignorance produced by mass hysteria. Miller wrote the play as a response to the McCarthy investigations during the 1950’s of communism in the government. The play’s main conflict centers around the rights of an individual versus those in authority. The central theme of the play deals with an individual’s search for self-awareness and self-realization through commitment.


46 Surely, People Don’t Still Believe in Witches?! YES THEY DO

47 Consequently

48 South African Pupils Burn ‘Witches' to Death Wednesday, 5 September 2007 Two South African women have been burned to death after a group of students accused them of bewitching their high school with evil spirits. Msaba Zungu and Thabitha Thusi, both 60, were seized from their homes near Manguzi in KwaZulu-Natal province. Students and adults dragged them to a sports field where they were doused with petrol and set alight on Sunday. Investigators said Ms Zungu died at the scene and Ms Thusi succumbed to her burns injuries on Monday. Police captain Jabulani Mdletshe told BBC News: "On 17 August, students at the high school began to cry randomly and did not know why. They held meetings and decided the problem was these two women who had cast a bad muthi (spell) on the school.”

49 Union Says Jealousy Behind ‘Witchcraft' Murders Jealousy may have been at the centre of the murder of two women accused of bewitching a KwaZulu-Natal school. Teachers’ Union spokesperson Thompson explained, "What happened is a case of witchcraft that started last year. This woman that was killed... she has a female child studying grade 12 and was the only child passing. The other students were failing." He said the girl's grandmother was known to be an umthakathi (traditional healer). He said the girl's classmates decided to take action against the umthakathi, whom they blamed for their failures at school. London Mail and Guardian online MIRANDA ANDREW SOUTH AFRICA 7 Sept 07

50 India's Jharkhand state October 2009 Five women were accused of causing harm, a suspicion bolstered by local witchfinders and a cleric. A mob dragged them before a large crowd, where they were stripped and beaten until the authorities intervened. They were lucky. Every year hundreds of Indians, mostly women, are murdered by their neighbours, usually in the most atrocious manner. Malcolm Gaskill 5 April 2010

51 Congo (1998 – 2003) The war in Congo killed millions, mostly through starvation and disease. High child mortality was widely blamed on "night dancers" – witches who steal blood and smear poisons on houses. European witches of the 16th century were charged with identical crimes Malcolm Gaskill Monday 5 April 2010

52 Fawza Falih Muhammad Ali Saudi woman who made international headlines after she was condemned to death for practicing witchcraft in 2006. The IHRC (Islamic Human Right Commission) notes Fawza Falih was prevented from a defense at the trial, and that she was sentenced only on the basis of one man's testimony of allegedly causing him impotence. Denied access to her lawyer, a confession was extracted via 35 days of repeated beatings. The beatings were so severe she had to receive medical treatment. Although Fawza Falih has since recanted her confession, and no further evidence has come forth, the Court of Appeals on September 1, 2006, upheld the decision to execute her anyway, in the name of "public interest.” "Fawza Falih." Wikipedia. Web. 13 May 2010.

53 In 2005 three Londoners were convicted of cruelty to an eight-year-old Angolan girl they believed to be a witch. Her tormentors, one of them her aunt, had tried to "beat the devil out of her". Malcolm Gaskill 5 April 2010

54 Woman, 81, Stabbed Fifty Times January 13, 2010 Independent Online An 81-year-old woman was stabbed 50 times and her throat slit allegedly by her neighbour who accused her of witchcraft in KwaKwiliza near Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal police said on Wednesday. "It is alleged that her neighbour killed her after he accused the elderly woman of killing two of his family members through witchcraft,“ said Captain Jabulani Mdletshe. He said police were called to the scene but the man had already escaped.

55 'Sorcerer' faces imminent death in Saudi Arabia Sebastian Usher, BBC New London Thursday, 1 April 2010 The lawyer for a Lebanese man sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for witchcraft has appealed for int’l help to save him. Ali Sabat was the host of a popular Lebanese TV show in which he predicted the future and gave advice. He was arrested by religious police on sorcery charges while on a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia in 2008. His lawyer, May el-Khansa, says she has been told Mr Sabat is due to be executed this week. Mr Sabat did make a confession, but Ms Khansa says he only did so because he had been told he could go back to Lebanon if he did. Human rights groups have accused the Saudis of "sanctioning a literal witch hunt by the religious police". An Egyptian working as a pharmacist in Saudi Arabia was executed in 2007 after having been found guilty of using sorcery to try to separate a married couple. There is no legal definition of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia, but horoscopes and fortune telling are condemned as un-Islamic.


57 The Final Stage Yeah, but we don’t believe in witchcraft, so what’s this have to do with us?

58 “The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, and explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, ideas, prejudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, prejudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. A thoughtless, frightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all its own for the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, is that these things can not be confined to the Twilight Zone.” - Rod Serling

59 What do witches and communists have in common?

60 They make great scapegoats! And everyone knows that: “A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem”


62 scape·goat ˈ ske ɪ p ˌ go ʊ t/ [skeyp-goht] –noun 1. a person or group made to bear the blame for others or to suffer in their place. 2. Chiefly Biblical. a goat let loose in the wilderness on Yom Kippur after the high priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on its head. Lev. 16:8,10,26.


64 A long, long time ago in 1953, Arthur Miller wrote a play based on actual facts Facts horrifying even today, despite being based on events which took place over 300 years ago. The accusations of a group of children stirred up such fear in their small community that it led to persecution and hangings What makes the story so important even today is that it applies to all “witch”hunts; yes, witch hunts take place every day. To Recap:

65 20 th Century Witch Hunts The Holocaust Japanese-American internment camps Hippies/Vietnam war protestors Aids victims Homosexuals Minorities – racial profiling Anyone who resembles a “terrorist” Immigrants



68 YouTube - Sean Penn Narrates 'Witch Hunt' A New Documentary

69 JK Rowling Denied Top US Honour Wednesday, 30 September 2009 BBC News JK Rowling's Harry Potter's books have sold more than 400 million copies Harry Potter author JK Rowling missed out on a top honour because some US politicians believed she "encouraged witchcraft", it has been claimed. Matt Latimer, former speech writer for President George W Bush, said that some members of his administration believed her books promoted sorcery. As a result, she was never presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

70 "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out if they are pro-America or anti-America." Michelle Bachmann 10/17/08


72 Lou Dobbs reported that an "invasion of illegal aliens" was bringing "highly contagious diseases" to America 7/08 a 25 year-old Mexican and father of two, was murdered because of his ethnicity in a brutal beating allegedly by four current and former high school football players Jay Severin on Boston’s WTKK-FM: "It's millions of leeches from a primitive country come here to leech off you and, with it, they are ruining the schools, the hospitals, and a lot of life in America.” 2009 FBI statistics suggest a 40% rise in anti- Latino hate crimes between 2003 and 2007, the latest numbers available. Southern Poverty Law Center The number of hate groups in America has climbed more than 50% since 2000, mainly by exploiting the issue of undocumented non-white immigration. Amid Swine Flu Outbreak, Racism Goes Viral Anti-immigrant hatred spreads on talk radio, Web sites “No contact anywhere with an illegal alien!” conservative talk show host Michael Savage advised his U.S. listeners this week on how to avoid the swine flu. In a November 10, 2002 broadcast, Jimmy Swaggart called for the expulsion of Muslim students in the U.S., demanded the profiling of passengers with a “diaper on their head” and suggested violence against Muslims. In 2006 a Florida talk radio forum had a ‘serious’ online discussion about Muslim internment A 2006 Gallup Poll found that 39% of Americans think Muslims should carry special ID cards Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch suggests collective punishment for Muslims in America 2006 she was sentenced only on the basis of one man's testimony of allegedly causing him impotence. Jealousy may have been at the centre of the murder of two women accused of bewitching a KwaZulu-Natal school. During the medieval Black Plague, Europeans blamed Jews, saying they poisoned the wells. In an 1892 cholera pandemic, the U.S. blamed immigrant European Jews. In the flu of 1918, Markel said, “Italians blamed the Spanish. The Spanish blamed the Italians. For HIV it was gay men and Haitians.” --Now, the 2009 swine flu epidemic is blamed on Mexican immigrants.

73 19 March 2010

74 NY Times: April 23, 2010 PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona signed the nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration into law on Friday. Its aim is to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. –The law, which proponents and critics alike said was the broadest and strictest immigration measure in generations, would make the failure to carry immigration documents a crime and give the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.

75 Arizona's Immigration Witch Hunt Challenges Federal Authority But the law doesn't target drug dealers so much as it stigmatizes Arizona's large Mexican population. "The way it's tailored is very clear. You're looking for brown-skinned individuals.... It's people coming across the border illegally and they're talking mostly about Mexicans," Santa Cruz County sheriff Tony Estrada told Tucson TV station KGUN9. DeWAYNE WICKHAM USA TODAY April 27, 2010

76 Last Thoughts - A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure until he begins to blame somebody else. - John Burroughs In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance, he laid the blame on a woman. - Lady Nancy Astor To err is human. To blame someone else is politics. - Hubert H. Humphrey



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