Authors generally use at least portions of their life experiences in their writings, and Arthur Miller is no exception. He published The Crucible in 1953 as an historical account of the Salem Witch Trials. This play also serves as a reflection of something America, and Miller personally, had just experienced, called McCarthyism.
Senator Joe McCarthy was head of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, and he went on a hunt to track down anyone connected to Communism or participating in other activities which were anti-American. One of McCarthy's primary targets was Hollywood and the connected arts, and Miller was brought before the committee for questioning. This play is his way of demonstrating the madness caused by unreasonable fears which are treated as fact by unthinking people.
Though The Crucible is much more than a criticism of a particular experience in his own life, Miller was undoubtedly prompted to write this play because of his experience. John Proctor called what happened in Salem "a black mischief," and certainly that must have been the same thing Miller thought about McCarthy and his hearings.