The Holocaust and Salem Witch Trials are very much alike in many different ways.(“A comparison of the holocaust and the salem witch trials, 1933-1939.”) The salem witch trials of 1692 resulted in the execution by hanging fourteen women and and five men accused of being witches. The Holocaust was a severe tragedy that happened in the early 1940s and will be forever remembered. Two tragedies that will never be forgotten.
“He (Hitler) believed that a person’s characteristics, attitudes, abilities, and behavior were determined by his or her so-called racial make-up”(“Site”). As well as victims of the Holocaust, people of Salem were discriminated against based on ideas set by one person. The Holocaust was a genocide of innocent people based on the Nuremberg Laws set by Adolf Hitler. The Salem Witch trials began when a group of girls ruled, by Abigail Williams started accusing innocent people based on behavior and their status in Salem. A mass murder of nearly six million innocent Jews based on the opinion of one leader can be connected to Abigail Williams influences during the Salem Witch Trials. The connections between the Holocaust and the Salem Witch Trials began with the ruthlessness of leaders, the demise of innocent individuals, as well as the factors that led to these horrific events.
During the Holocaust, the Jews were seen as “demons on Earth”, and Hitler wanted them destroyed. For example, Hitler blamed the Jews for the loss of World War I and the Economic crisis. He made people believe that the Jews are a different kind of race, and he wanted a “perfect society”. What he meant as a perfect society is blond hair and blue eyes. In the Salem Witch Trials, people started accusing people that they want revenge on. Abby Williams blamed Elizabeth Proctor of practicing witchcraft because she wanted to be with Elizabeth’s wife, John Proctor. He said “She (Abigail) thinks to dance with me on my wife’s grave!” (WordPress.com)
During the late fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, thousands of individuals were persecuted as witches. It was thought that these individuals practiced black magic and performed evil deeds, the deeds of the devil. This all happened during a time of great change in Europe, during the time of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the consolidation of national governments. They were persecuted for a variety of reasons, but three major ones were religious reasons, social prejudices, and the economic greed of the people. Religious leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin influenced the ideas of their followers. Religion dominated the time period and it’s easy to see how many opinions
Does the Salem Witch Trials and The Holocaust Have Things in Common? During both of these times mass numbers of people were being killed and driven by fear in their own society. This fear became mass hysteria. Mass hysteria occurred in 1692 in the town of Salem and again “between 1933 and 1945, [when] more than 11 million men, women, and children were murdered in the Holocaust” (Lehnardt 1).
There’s always a danger that the Witch trials will repeat itself again.(Patrick) However, it’s not as common and severe as it was in 1692. An example would be Hitler and the Nazi Party, who used fear to lead their people during the holocaust. They had no choice but to comply.(Fear) Fear can cause violent behavior; it can change the way people think and the way they live. Hitler killed millions of people to show the others what he is capable of. Hitler was ruthless, he didn’t care about anyone else’s feelings or thoughts; if you were a jew, you were to be killed or sent to concentration camps. The way Hitler used his power relates to the Salem Witch trials.
When the group of girls were acting strange and got accused of being witches, everyone started pointing fingers. There was the paranoia that any person could be a part of a conspiracy that was created by the devil caused false accusations to be spread around. This paranoia was used to make false accusations on many innocent citizens because people were trying not to take the focus away from themselves. There was research that was done on those that were accused and what it showed was that most of the accusations were against middle-age women who had few or no children and were widowed. The accused witches “were of low social position, and because of some domestic conflicts, they were accused of other crimes and were considered abrasive” (Brinkley, 86). by other people around them. Once a person was accused of being under the influence of the devil, which is a big offence, they would start to be treated differently from the rest. It wasn’t the actual presence of Satan that caused this chaos, but the anxiety and fear of him that did.
During both the devastating Holocaust in the Germany and the tragic Salem Witch Trials in the small town of Salem, innocent people were brutally killed, causing hysteria among the people. Both groups of people endured hardships because of the hysteria that occurred among them. This hysteria caused people to react in ways that they would not usually act. Both of these events are very historical and help The United States of America be a unified and prosperous country that it has grown to become today. Hysteria is defined as an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping
People often fear things they do not understand. In Nigeria, churches are accusing defenseless children of witchcraft; a boy’s “family pastor had accused him of being a witch, and his father then tried to force acid down his throat as an exorcism ” (The Boston Globe para. 2); permanently impairing the boy. The boy’s father did not understand why or how what his son was and tried to kill him out of fear of the consequences. Pastors were accusing either orphaned or children from poor families as witches because they could not fight back, as way to establish their credentials. Hysteria made the townspeople actually believe and fear witchcraft in both Nigeria and Salem. In the case of “The Dying Girl that No One Helped” one person did not get involved because the police” might have picked [him] up as suspect” he feared the outcome and did not understand the importance of the situation.
In the book The Crucible there are many points throughout that contain fear and show the fear that actually went on in that time period. When the women start getting blamed for all the witchcraft the men all start to fear that they will lose their wives. So the men all go down to the court to try and save them, but instead they all get
Furthermore, Witches were commonplace all over the world with different stigmas and stereotypes attached to them from each respectful culture that contained them (Girard, 1986). It was not until the rise of the Catholic Church that witches soon became associated with black magic and the Devil, leading to mass prosecutions. In the Middle Ages there was a popular belief that demons walked the Earth, leaving disease and devastation in their wake. The church, feeling threatened by the ideologies of Witchcraft, decided to link the old Pagan religion with that of Satanism (Levack, 1987). By doing so, they were able to gather favor from the masses by taking advantage of the fear of the Devil by the public and using it to prosecute those who
In response to The Hammer of Witches and the papal bull issued by Pope Innocent VIII, major witch hunts broke out in Europe. Moreover, these were aided by new technology, the printing press, which helped to spread the mania, even across the Atlantic to America. It is not surprising that the witch hunt started around the13-15th century. During this time, Europe was overpopulated and in a poor condition with dirty streets, crime and diseases everywhere. There had to be a scapegoat for all of the mess which the church decided was witchcraft. A complex social matrix was created once an accusation was made: the accusers would try to prove the source of what had been troubling them, and ideally to gain control over that source by forcing her to back away and remove the
Fear often dictates how people’s mindsets are set up and how they behave during day to day trials and tribulations. Fear is something that can be beautiful and accepting when the fearful allows it to not overcome them but also dangerous and ugly when a concoction of fear and lies is made. We can see this during the 1950’s when The Red Scare took place and in the past with The Salem Witch Trials, both of which black listed people and ruined reputations while also, sadly, taking lives. The two subjects have many similarities, as they allowed history to repeat itself but also many differences, nevertheless they are often put in the same boat, and the question is… Why?
Both Salem, Massachusetts in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, and post 9/11 America are societies that dread witches or terrorists and tries to identify and eliminate them. When people find something that they are afraid of, they will do everything in their power to get rid of that fear. It will not matter to them what they have to do in order to eliminate their unease. Any fear that is great enough can take over people and make them do horrible, unjust things.