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Book Burning Essay

1276 words - 6 pages

History of Book Burning
Throughout history we have had books, and so many of those books have had a major influence over the people who read them. Sometimes a book can be so overwhelmingly powerful and have such an influence that the figure of power that it is taking away from tries to destroy it. The simplest, fastest, and most recognizable method of eliminating a book, can be through book burning. Book burnings have been recorded since before the first century, empires and governments collecting and destroying knowledge, whether its for an increase in their power or an attempt for a ideological revolution, the idea of book burnings have lasted through time even to reach our own ...view middle of the document...

Martin Luther’s German translation of the Bible was also burned along with most of the Catholic regions of Germany during the 1640s. the Archbishop of Salzburg personally saw the destruction of every Protestant book as well as Bible that was confiscated and found during the 1730s. Communists during the 1920s had burned an exceedingly large number of decadent western books in the Soviet Union, and several American libraries were burning the supposed works of pro-Communist authors during the era of United States Senator Joseph McCarthy. However in America, some of us tried to remember our own ideals of freedom of speech, in a speech against the red scare during a 1953 commencement address President Dwight Eisenhower told the American people that, “We must not try to conceal the thinking of our own people. They are a part of America.”
In more recent years, Jews burned large quantities of copies of the New Testament in 1984 in Jerusalem. Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses was burned in a formal ceremony in Bolton and Bradford in 1988. Here in America, even more recently, Harry Potter books have been burned all over the United States for their influence over young children as being negative. Overseas more recently a quite famous book named The Da Vinci Code was burned in Rome. Book burnings in history however sometimes did not stop at large quantities of individual books, entire library buildings have been razed to the ground, sometimes multiple times, for example the Alexandria in Egypt where some 200,000 objectionable books were housed; Washington (by the British); Louvain (by the Germans); Sarajevo and, Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258, the waters were said to have turned black with ink from all the books destroyed, also after the Spanish conquered the last Muslin Kingdom of Western Europe, Granada, they emptied all of the city’s libraries and burned them all. All of these book burnings throughout history have had much in common, they each tried to erase history and wipe the slate clean by torching texts and conquering nations.
Perhaps the most famous book burning in history occurred under the Nazi regime on May 10, 1933, there was a previously large burning in Germany also, just a little over 100 years prior however. In 1817 German student associations held a festival for Luther’s 95 Theses 300th anniversary. The festival was held in a large castle, and in order to show love for a unified country rather than a patchwork of states they burned all anti-national and recreational texts and literature which they deemed as “un-german like.” In 1933 Nazi German authorities wanted to completely match professional and cultural organizations with Nazi ideology, ways, and policy. Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda, began to bring...

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