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McCarthy, Blacklists, HUAC, and The Crucible by Arthur Miller How can an author use a historical situation to comment on a current problem? Why did Miller.

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Presentation on theme: "McCarthy, Blacklists, HUAC, and The Crucible by Arthur Miller How can an author use a historical situation to comment on a current problem? Why did Miller."— Presentation transcript:

1 McCarthy, Blacklists, HUAC, and The Crucible by Arthur Miller How can an author use a historical situation to comment on a current problem? Why did Miller set this play during the historical Salem Witch trials when it is about the Red Scare of the 1950s?

2 Quick 20 th century history lesson… In 1919, a group of Communists (the newest, most radical political view to date) overthrew the Czar (king) of Russia. In 1919, a group of Communists (the newest, most radical political view to date) overthrew the Czar (king) of Russia. Known as the “October Revolution,” this shift in power led to the growth of the Soviet Union. Known as the “October Revolution,” this shift in power led to the growth of the Soviet Union.

3 Quick 20 th century history lesson… Most Americans, though wary of Communism, didn’t think about it too much. Most Americans, though wary of Communism, didn’t think about it too much. Communism was somewhat popular among left leaning groups such as artists and intellectuals, and an American Communist Party began. Communism was somewhat popular among left leaning groups such as artists and intellectuals, and an American Communist Party began. The party was never large or powerful, but it existed nonetheless. The party was never large or powerful, but it existed nonetheless.

4 THEN CAME WWII… Though the United States was allied with the Soviet Union in World War II, its end signaled the beginning of the Cold War. Though the United States was allied with the Soviet Union in World War II, its end signaled the beginning of the Cold War. The Cold War was the buildup of military power and strategic locations between the two superpowers that emerged in the world after WWII (the U.S. and Soviet Union). The Cold War was the buildup of military power and strategic locations between the two superpowers that emerged in the world after WWII (the U.S. and Soviet Union).

5 Was it still okay to hold Communist views in America? Despite the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, it became highly suspicious to be a Communist or have been a Communist. Despite the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, it became highly suspicious to be a Communist or have been a Communist. As the United States stockpiled arms and began competition with the Soviets, ANYTHING that dealt with Communism became seen as a threat. As the United States stockpiled arms and began competition with the Soviets, ANYTHING that dealt with Communism became seen as a threat.

6 HUAC By the late 1940s and 1950s, the American government became alarmed that Communists might try overthrow the American government and way of life (much as had happened in Russia in 1919.) By the late 1940s and 1950s, the American government became alarmed that Communists might try overthrow the American government and way of life (much as had happened in Russia in 1919.) As a result, HUAC was born. As a result, HUAC was born.

7 What is HUAC? HUAC stands for: HUAC stands for: House Un-American Activities Committee. House Un-American Activities Committee. HUAC was a Congressional committee that investigated anyone it thought to be “Un- American.” HUAC was a Congressional committee that investigated anyone it thought to be “Un- American.” By the late 1940s, HUAC turned its eye on Hollywood. By the late 1940s, HUAC turned its eye on Hollywood.

8 What did HUAC find? Numerous actors, playwrights, and musicians were interrogated, and several admitted to formerly holding Communist views. Numerous actors, playwrights, and musicians were interrogated, and several admitted to formerly holding Communist views. 19 people (this is an important number) were originally named, and they in turn were asked to name more names. 19 people (this is an important number) were originally named, and they in turn were asked to name more names.

9 Blacklists Eventually, Hollywood studios, afraid of upsetting HUAC, created BLACKLISTS. Eventually, Hollywood studios, afraid of upsetting HUAC, created BLACKLISTS. These were lists of people who had been named or even mentioned in the HUAC hearings. These were lists of people who had been named or even mentioned in the HUAC hearings. Once blacklisted, these people could not work anywhere in the entertainment industry. Once blacklisted, these people could not work anywhere in the entertainment industry.

10 Who was blacklisted? Over 300 entertainers were placed on blacklists and one point or another, including Charlie Chaplin (actor), Pete Seeger (folk singer), Richard Wright (writer), Dorothy Parker (writer) Lucille Ball (actress), and Leonard Bernstein (composer). Over 300 entertainers were placed on blacklists and one point or another, including Charlie Chaplin (actor), Pete Seeger (folk singer), Richard Wright (writer), Dorothy Parker (writer) Lucille Ball (actress), and Leonard Bernstein (composer).

11 Then came 1950… In 1950, HUAC reached a new level of hysteria, when a young Senator from Wisconsin delivered a speech where he claimed that 57 people in the U.S. State Department were Communists. In 1950, HUAC reached a new level of hysteria, when a young Senator from Wisconsin delivered a speech where he claimed that 57 people in the U.S. State Department were Communists. His name was Joseph McCarthy, and his legacy would be far reaching. His name was Joseph McCarthy, and his legacy would be far reaching.

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13 Sen. Joseph McCarthy McCarthy was previously unknown, but immediately became a household name. McCarthy was previously unknown, but immediately became a household name. He accused nearly everyone (entertainers, writers, politicians etc.) of being a Communist, though he rarely proved anything and never proved any plots to overthrow the country. He accused nearly everyone (entertainers, writers, politicians etc.) of being a Communist, though he rarely proved anything and never proved any plots to overthrow the country.

14 Eventually McCarthy targeted Arthur Miller… Miller was an established and award winning playwright already. Miller was an established and award winning playwright already. He was also married to Marilyn Monroe, who became a bargaining chip in his investigation. He was also married to Marilyn Monroe, who became a bargaining chip in his investigation. Of course, as you could guess, HUAC wanted Miller to name his friends and associates in the entertainment industry. He spoke basically the same words he would eventually give to his character Francis Nurse (“I do not want to bring trouble on my friends.”) Of course, as you could guess, HUAC wanted Miller to name his friends and associates in the entertainment industry. He spoke basically the same words he would eventually give to his character Francis Nurse (“I do not want to bring trouble on my friends.”) Miller would not turn in his friends. Miller would not turn in his friends.

15 Parallels (from life in 1950s to the play)… Communism=witchcraft (an unseen threat that did not prove to be legitimate). Communism=witchcraft (an unseen threat that did not prove to be legitimate). HUAC and McCarthy=the court, Danforth, Parris etc. HUAC and McCarthy=the court, Danforth, Parris etc. Arthur Miller = Proctor (asked to turn on friends, wife brought into the picture) Arthur Miller = Proctor (asked to turn on friends, wife brought into the picture) Blacklists=list of condemned witches (though people in America didn’t die, their careers were ruined…) Blacklists=list of condemned witches (though people in America didn’t die, their careers were ruined…) McCarthy used his accusations for political and personal gain=Putnam and others use witchcraft hysteria for personal gain. Parris tried to hide behind his power. McCarthy used his accusations for political and personal gain=Putnam and others use witchcraft hysteria for personal gain. Parris tried to hide behind his power.

16 Endings… McCarthy eventually lost power, as people grew tired of his unfounded accusations and strong arm tactics. McCarthy eventually lost power, as people grew tired of his unfounded accusations and strong arm tactics. Miller went on to be one of America’s most celebrated playwrights, and his play The Crucible can be applied to any situation where people blindly follow others in mass hysteria, are accused of guilt by association, or sacrifice their personal freedoms to conform to society. Miller went on to be one of America’s most celebrated playwrights, and his play The Crucible can be applied to any situation where people blindly follow others in mass hysteria, are accused of guilt by association, or sacrifice their personal freedoms to conform to society.

17 The Salem Witch Trials Occurred in 1692 near Salem, a small town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Occurred in 1692 near Salem, a small town in the Massachusetts Bay Colony Salem was founded by Puritans in the early 1600s. Salem was founded by Puritans in the early 1600s. Rev. Samuel Parris was the strict minister who was liked by some villagers and hated by others. Rev. Samuel Parris was the strict minister who was liked by some villagers and hated by others. In the winter of several teenage girls, including Parris’ niece, began behaving strangely. In the winter of several teenage girls, including Parris’ niece, began behaving strangely.

18 The Salem Witch Trials This bizarre behavior was blamed on witchcraft. This bizarre behavior was blamed on witchcraft. Miller takes some liberties with actual historic events in The Crucible; however, he gets the ending correct... Miller takes some liberties with actual historic events in The Crucible; however, he gets the ending correct... Before the witch hunt ended, 19 people had been hanged for being witches, and one was pressed to death for refusing to testify Before the witch hunt ended, 19 people had been hanged for being witches, and one was pressed to death for refusing to testify


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