Animal Farm Viewed Through a Totalitarian Lens

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Animal Farm, written by George Orwell in 1945 tells the story of farm animals who felt constantly overworked by their human master, Mr. Jones. These animals decided to take matters into their own hands (or trotters?) by running off their master so they could have opportunities to work by and for themselves.

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Through the novel, the animals inspired by the idea of a revolution, so that they are no longer working for a human master. Yet, the intelligent pigs, give themselves more privileges. As this happens, they become more like the humans, who were the original enemy. This story is an allegory to a totalitarian society, in which the central government is controlled by one party, and there is a single dictator who uses methods of force to achieve goals. Characteristics seen in Animal Farm specifically mirror those seen in history Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union totalitarian states. According to Sherman and Salisbury, Stalin presented plans that would ultimately make life better so people wouldn’t have to work hard such as his Five-Year plans, but Stalin deceived the people as his Union became more dictatorial (Sherman and Salisbury 703). Nazis in Germany also hoped to promote a pure race and promoted an antisemitic feel in Germany.

As presented in themes and events in Animal Farm and documents from Stalinism and Nazism, life under totalitarian rule includes extreme control using methods of terror and violence, propaganda to influence emotions, and strict regulation of the economy. These characteristics of a totalitarian society reflect the true nature of totalitarian rule in the way that they use their position to obtain rule and achieve goals for societal and economic gain. To begin, Animal Farm demonstrates a main characteristic of life under a totalitarian government by using terror and violence to intimidate the subjects. This is analogous to Stalinism and Nazism as both of these forms of totalitarianism use methods of terror to obtain objectives, which demonstrate the nature of their rule. In Animal Farm, the dogs that were trained to protect Napoleon were extremely vicious as they actually chased Snowball, the pig who began to contend with Napoleon for power, off the farm (Orwell 52, 53). After this, the dogs were seen as intimidating figures to ensure that everyone followed Napoleon, and the dogs were described as fierce-looking as wolves. (Orwell 53). In many ways, Napoleon’s dogs are analogous to the secret police employed by Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. Sherman and Salisbury discuss the use of secret police in the Great Purges in which officials were ordered to kill people who could be seen as possible threats to achieving his goals (Sherman and Salisbury 706). Also, Napoleon became very intimidating as he and the other pigs in leadership began to walk on their hind legs,

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