Cuban Missile Crisis Vs. The Salem Witch Trials

Cuban Missile Crisis Vs. The Salem Witch Trials

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The way many events in the world today are depicted although entertaining and good news stories are not necessarily true. We must go beyond the news and find the real facts of what happened before jumping to conclusions and panicking. As with all popular culture people believe what the news tells them, whether it is true or not, it is a crucial that the true facts are provided to prevent events of mass hysteria such as the Salem Witch Trials and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Salem Witch Trials in "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller and the Cuban Missile Crisis are both great examples of widespread panic leading to mass hysteria, major events of chaos in history, and two situations that eventually were resolved whether the outcome was bad or good.
The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962 and the Salem Witch Trials are two instances of mass hysteria in history. To begin, the United States had never had a communist country near it's borders and with the Soviet Union constructing Nuclear Launch sites in Cuba "the imminent threat of nuclear war had never seamed so near to home"(McConnell 13). In the Salem witch trials the people of Salem had never before dealt with any instances of the devil in their town until this time, when the girls of the town began to claim that they were bewitched. Many of the events in the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Salem Witch Trials could have been completely avoided if there had been more honest people at the time. If the girls from Salem had admitted that they were not possessed by Lucifer and that they were just faking it to get back at someone there would never have been the Salem Witch Trials and innocent people would not have been hanged. If the United States, Soviet, and Cuban governments had been honest with each other during and before the Cuban Missile Crisis there is a very strong possibility that none of it would have ever happened. To conclude, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Salem Witch Trials are two obvious events of mass hysteria in history.
The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Salem Witch Trials had very in depth stories on their causes and also on what really happened. The Cuban Missile crisis is the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear war.

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When the Soviets installed nuclear missiles just 90 miles of the coast of the United States in Cuba U.S. armed forces were put at their highest state of readiness. The United States government insisted that the missiles were placed in Cuba as offensive weapons. The government officials "justified every move by the United States with the charge that the missiles Cuba received were offensive weapons" (Cannon 153). But, as Fidel Castro Stated "'A knife in the hands of one of the Playa Giron invaders is an offensive weapon', Fidel said over television at the height of the crisis, making the point that it is the use to which a weapon is put that makes it offensive. In real life one must consider to what actual purpose the Cuban missiles were installed, not merely what was possible" (Cannon 153). When examining all sources it is hard not to wonder if maybe the United States did over react and that the missiles were only there for Cuba to use as defensive weapons. In response to the United States reaction to the missiles Fidel said "If they attack us, we will resist, if they totally blockade us, we know how to resist it. Anyone who wants to inspect Cuba had better come prepared to fight their way in" (Cannon 157). In the town of Salem during the witch trials many people viewed witchery not as casting spells like many people think of witch craft today, but as anything that was against the church or that went wrong in life. When witch craft surfaced in Salem it was used so "Old scores could be settled on a plane of heavenly combat between Lucifer and the Lord; suspicions and the envy of the miserable toward the happy could and did burst out in the general revenge" (Miller 169). In addition, in Salem the claims of witchcraft were just a form of expression gone badly. It would be like in today's world going into an area of mostly a minority race and being afraid of that type of people or if you tried to speak your mind and it ended up being a very racist speech. In other words "The witch hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom" (Miller 168). In conclusion, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Salem Witch Trials were both instances in history of mass hysteria.
In addition, the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Salem Witch Trials both came to a final solution although possibly not the best end to situation. On October 28th, 1962 the tension between the United States and Cuba had reached a breaking point. Fearing the worst Khrushchev accepted Kennedy's peace offer. In a public radio address Khrushchev said he would "remove offensive weapons from Cuba and requested the aid of UN inspectors to assist with the removal process" (McConnell 19). In the Salem Witch Trials John Proctor says "A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud – God damns our kind especially, and we will burn together!" (Miller 227). Proctor is saying that Danforth knows that the girls are lying about being possessed by the devil and that God damns all liars. In the end Proctor decides he would rather hang then give his name up and sign himself to lies. He explains to Danforth "Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!" (Miller 240). In conclusion, although the solutions for the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Salem Witch Trials were very different and were for the better in some aspects and the worse in others they still made a huge impact on society.
It is only natural for people to assume the worst when it comes to anything that has a possible outcome involving danger or destruction, but we need to stop and ask our selves these questions, "what is really happening? Do we actually know what is going on and if it really is bad?" The Crucible and the Cuban Missile Crisis are both great examples of widespread panic leading to mass hysteria, major events of chaos in history, and two situations that eventually were resolved whether the outcome was bad or good. Understanding the facts is an important part of all events and should be integrated as a huge part of what is depicted as dangerous or bad.
Works Cited
Cannon, Terence. Revolutionary Cuba. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1981.
Leone, Bruno et. al., eds. The 1960s Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1997.
McConnell, William S. Ed. Living Through the Cuban Missile Crisis. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2005.
Miller, Arthur. "The Crucible". The Language of Literature. Ed. Arthur N. Applebee. Evanston, Illinois: McDougal Littell, 2000. 164-240.
McConnell, William S. Ed. Living Through the Cuban Missile Crisis. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2005.
Williams, Byron. Cuba: The Continuing Revolution. New York: Parents Magazine Press, 1969.
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