14 Historical Events That Might Have Parallels in the Fantastic Beasts Universe
J.K. Rowling has stated that events that happen in the Muggle World often have parallels in the Wizarding World. After the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, Potterheads were effectively starved of new canon information until April 2012, when Pottermore 1.0 launched. This gave new insight into heaps of background characters and global wizarding history that was rarely, if at all, touched on in the books. Among these events are the Global Wizarding War, which ended with the greatest duel ever witnessed: the 1945 clash between Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald at Godric's Hollow.
If Grindelwald sounds familiar to you, it might be because you paid a lot of attention to the books, or it might be because you saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Grindelwald is basically the Wizarding World's equivalent of Adolf Hitler, whose history is outlined briefly in Deathly Hallows. Considering the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them franchise will take place between 1926 and 1945, we're going to examine some Muggle World events during this period that might play a key part in influencing future Fantastic Beasts movie plots and events.
Mein Kampf Is Published in 1925Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons
To start us off with our theorized history of the Wizarding World and why Gellert Grindelwald is at the center of the Global Wizarding War, we must look at what was one of J.K. Rowling's many influences when creating the character of Grindelwald: Adolf Hitler. In 1925, Hitler published his autobiographical manifesto, Mein Kampf, which hosts not only the political ideas of the National Socialist party but several instances of the advocacy for genocide, stating:
The nationalization of our masses will succeed only when, aside from all the positive struggle for the soul of our people, their international poisoners are exterminated.
Other instances in the text point towards Hitler's ideas of empire expansion for the sole benefit of giving more and more resources to the German population while displacing others, specifically those living in Eastern Europe.
Gellert Grindelwald had several similar ideas, some of which are highlighted in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in a letter from Albus Dumbledore to Grindelwald:
Your point about Wizard dominance being FOR THE MUGGLE'S OWN GOOD - this, I think, is the crucial point. Yes, we have been given power and yes, that power gives us the right to rule, but it also gives us responsibilities over the ruled. We must stress this point, it will be the foundation stone upon which we build. Where we are opposed, as we surely will be, this must be the basis of all our counterarguments. We seize control FOR THE GREATER GOOD. And from this it follows that where we meet resistance, we must use only the force that is necessary and no more. (This was your mistake at Durmstrang! But I do not complain, because if you had not been expelled, we would never have met.)
While it remains to be seen if Gellert Grindelwald publishes a manifesto in the Fantastic Beasts universe, it wouldn't exactly be a stretch to incorporate that into a future film, considering they've already brought up the "Grindelwald attacks in Europe."
The United States Stock Market Crashes in 1929Photo: NARA / Wikimedia Commons
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is set in New York City in 1926. The biggest stock market crash in history happens three years later. Rowling and company would be fools not to include some kind of ramifications for the American Wizarding population, considering one of the prominent characters in the new film is a No-Maj. European witches and wizards utilize galleons, sickles, and knuts as their currency and the crash could potentially influence pricing and values in the Wizarding World since they're made exclusively out of gold, silver, and bronze.
Further, the thought that wizards obtain raw materials exclusively from farmers, miners, and the like that reside within the magical community doesn't make logistic sense, so depending on any potential flux in value of Wizarding currency, we might even see an increase in the overall wealth of the Wizarding community during this time, rather than a depression.
In our reality, the effects of the market's crash were felt worldwide and were one of the key factors when it came to the United States' period of isolationism until 1939 when they entered World War II after the attacks on Pearl Harbor.
Nazis Start to Gain Control of the German Government in 1930Photo: German Federal Archives / Wikimedia Commons
In the 1930 German federal election, the National Socialist Party gained a stunning 95 seats in the Reichstag, the German legislative body, up from 12. At this point in history, Hitler had been leading the party since 1921 and proved to be an incredibly influential political leader, playing on the fears and inadequacies of the German population in a post-Great War society. This rise to power was also fueled by the Great Depression's impacts on the German workforce. Massive unemployment and financial instability swept across the nation. Further, it should be noted that Joseph Goebbels, famed Nazi propagandist, was introduced into Hitler's inner circle at this time.In the Fantastic Beasts universe, we know Gellert Grindelwald had a lot of followers. His movement was large enough to build its own prison for its enemies. We've seen multiple forms of government in the Wizarding World (The Ministry of Magic, The Magical Congress of the United States, just to name a few), so it wouldn't be absurd to think that continental Europe has a similar political structure that Grindelwald had influence over. This theory especially holds water considering how similar modern-day Death Eaters are to Nazis.
Adolf Hitler Is Appointed Chancellor in 1933 and Passes the Enabling ActPhoto: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons
Two years and two elections after the massive upswing in Nazi representation in the Reichstag, nothing was really getting done. Two politicians, Franz von Papen and Alfred Hugenberg, wrote a letter to the German president, asking him to appoint Hitler as chancellor, an outsider to the established political system that had just recently gained traction in the Reichstag as leader of the National Socialists. With his public speaking skills and knack for turning a phrase, it was thought that he could influence the ideas of millions of citizens, which, in fact, proved true.
In March1933, Hitler's government introduced and passed what is known as the Enabling Act. This law gave Hitler's cabinet the power to enact laws without the consent of the Reichstag for four years. This, combined with the Reichstag Fire Decree, which suspended basic rights and allowed for imprisonment without trial, effectively transformed Hitler's Germany into a dictatorship.
Presently, we have no idea what the full extent of Grindelwald's influence over politics in the Wizarding World is, but considering the fully "legal" path that Hitler's government took to obtaining that level of control, who would be surprised if Grindelwald is portrayed as anything but a charismatic leader?
Concentration Camps Open in 1933Photo: Magister/Wikimedia Commons
Dachau was the first of many concentration camps created by the Nazi government with the purpose of housing political prisoners and enemies of the state. Between concentration camps and the extermination camps that were later designed for the sole purpose of killing prisoners on a massive scale, the Nazis established more than 40,000 sites where previously unimaginable horrors were carried out.
In the Harry Potter universe, Grindelwald built his own prison, Nurmengard, to house political prisoners, and eventually, himself at the end of the Global Wizarding War, up through the time of Voldemort's rise to power and quest for the Elder Wand. Whether or not this prison was the only one of its kind remains to be seen, but similarities between Nuremgard and concentration camps don't stop at its construction. Words on the gates leading into Dachau read "Arbeit Macht Frei," or "Work Sets You Free," effectively a taunt to the prisoners entering the camps who knew there would be no escape. Above the gates to Nurmengard, Grindelwald's famous phrase "For The Greater Good," was inscribed, essentially conveying a similar message to incoming prisoners.
Adolf Hitler Becomes Führer on August 19, 1934
The day before German President Paul von Hindenburg died, the cabinet enacted a law stating that the office of the president would be eliminated in the event of his death and the powers of the presidency would be merged with that of the chancellor. And thus, the office of Führer und Reichskanzler was created, giving Hitler supreme command over the armed forces, the government, and basically anything else one could imagine. To give you an idea of how much influence he had, this merging of power was approved by 90% of the voting electorate in a referendum.
It's unknown what degree of political status Grindelwald will hold in the Fantastic Beasts universe, but the slow and calculated rise to some level of power is bound to be present at some point, if not by Grindelwald, then by one or more of his peers.