Parallelism of Stalin and Napoleon
The novel Animal Farm, was written by Eric Arthur Blair, commonly known by his pen name, George Orwell. Orwell was born in British India on June 25, 1903. He was an anti-totalitarian, journalist, writer, and soldier in the Spanish Civil war as a member of the Trotskyist socialist party. Animal Farm is an allegory, fable and satire based on the people, politics and happenings during the era of Stalin. In the novel Animal Farm, Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin who was the man who became a tyrant ruler and led many people to their deaths.
The devastations committed by Stalin can be compared to the devastations committed by Napoleon in Animal Farm. As an allegory, Orwell uses Napoleon`s dogs, false confessions and the starvation of the hens to represent the Secret Police, the show trials and the starvation of the Ukraine. In the allegorical novel, there are many occurrences in which Orwell associates Napoleon`s dogs to Stalin`s Secret Police. In Animal Farm, the dogs are raised by Napoleon and are used for his own protection, for killing other animals and for causing fear throughout the farm to stop them from arguing against him.
The dogs use fear to force animals to work and as a means to control the them. The dogs also kill and intimidate any animal who opposes Napoleon. An Rupert 2 example of the comparison between the dogs and the Secret Police in Animal Farm is shown when Snowball is forced to leave the farm. Napoleon sees Snowball as a threat to his chances of winning the vote of not working on the windmill, so he orders his dogs to chase Snowball off the farm. After this event has passed, Napoleon makes a few changes to the operation of the farm.
Many of the animals disagree with his changes and a few began to protest; however, the dogs instill fear in the animals, making them too afraid of them to argue as shown when Orwell wrote, “All four of them sprang to their feet and began speaking at once. But suddenly the dogs sitting round Napoleon let out deep, menacing growls, and the pigs fell silent”(36-37). Another example is when it is announced that the construction of the windmill will be carried out.
Squealer explains to the animals why Napoleon had this sudden change of heart and even though some of the animals did not understand some of his speech, the dogs made the animals accept Squealer`s explanation through fear. Napoleon`s dogs utilized their power in order to instill fear within the animals, and coerce them into thinking and acting according to Napoleon`s wishes. The animals became cowardly because they were afraid to say or do something that would go against Napoleon, and thereby become targets to his dogs.
Furthermore, the use of Napoleon`s dogs in Animal Farm is the same as the use of the Secret Police in the era of Stalin. In Stalinist Russia, the main perpetrators of his terror were the agents of the Secret Police, who were Stalin`s puppets in oppressing his people. Stalin`s Secret Police caused paranoia to dominate the people of the USSR, “People lived in terror of the sound of a knock on the door or an elevator that opened at their floor”(middlebury. edu). People were always waiting anxiously to see if they were going to be the next victims of the Secret Police. Rupert 3
Like in the novel, the animals had to be careful of their actions and what they said or else they could be killed by Napoleon`s dogs. Stalin`s Secret Police were extremely loyal to him, just like the dogs were very loyal to Napoleon in Animal Farm. Not only were they both loyal to their `leaders`, but the Secret Police and Napoleon`s dogs both used force and fear to control people. Also, the Secret Police, or Napoleon`s dogs, coerced the USSR citizens, or the animals, into supporting them. Furthermore, in Animal Farm Snowball is used as an allegory to represent Leon Trotsky.
When Snowball is chased out of the farm, this represents the act of Trotsky leaving the USSR in order to save himself from being executed by Stalin`s Secret Police. Although Trotsky was able to slip away at that time, most of his friends and family and anyone who supported him were murdered by the Secret Police or pressured to commit suicide. Similarly, in Animal Farm, anyone who Napoleon thought was associated with Snowball was killed by his dogs. Next, we can relate the incident of the animals` false confessions in Animal Farm to the show trials that took place in the era of Stalin.
Orwell writes about the show trials, in the novel, after Squealer announces that Snowball was working alongside Mr. Jones the whole time. Napoleon arranges a meeting with all the animals, but to their dismay, he orders his dogs to kill many of them. First, Napoleon`s dogs are ordered to drag four pigs to Napoleon along with Boxer, however, his strength allows him not to be captured. It should be noted that before this happened, it was shown that the four pigs were opposed to Napoleon`s ideas and that Boxer disagreed with what Squealer had to say about Snowball.
For this purpose the pigs were forced to confess to crimes they did not commit, and subsequently were killed by Napoleon`s dogs. Rupert 4 One of the pigs` confessions was, “that they had collaborated with him in destroying the windmill”(56), which was impossible for them to have done. Also, the hens that lead the rebellion against giving up so many eggs, were killed. Immediately after this horrible event, some more animals were forced to commit to crimes they did not commit. At this point, it is obvious that Napoleon arranged this meeting so that he could eliminate his opposition.
Stalin also arranged the show trials to get rid of his opposition. Many of his opponents were forced to fabricate crimes that they could not have possibly done. In Animal Farm the killing of the animals who committed to false crimes represent anybody who opposed industrialisation and the kulaks who opposed collectivization. The killings also represent the death of Stalin`s political opponents through the show trials. The killing of the four pigs represents the killing of Bukharin, Rykov, Zinoviev, Kamenev and many others.
Nikolai Krestinsky was one of the many people who were tried and convicted. Krestensky pleaded not guilty at his trial, however, the next day admitted he was guilty by saying, ” I request the Court to register my statement that I fully and completely admit that I am guilty of all the gravest charges brought against me personally, and that I admit my complete responsibility for the treason and treachery I have committed”(art-bin. com). With this in mind, many people were tortured physically or psychologically in the form of threats to relatives and family members being arrested.
Also, at the time of the show trials, anybody who refused to admit to their crimes did not go on public trial, but were executed anyway. Lastly, we can see how the starvation of the hens in Animal Farm can be compared to Stalin Rupert 5 starving the Ukrainian people. In Animal Farm, Napoleon decides to have the hens lay and surrender four hundred eggs a week in order to help pay for grain and meals. The hens, however, are not too pleased to hear this and decide to rebel against Napoleon and his wishes.
The hens destroy their eggs by flying up to the rafters and laying their eggs there, which fall to the ground and break. This act of defiance causes the hens to be on bad terms with Napoleon as proven when he orders, “the hens rations to be stopped”(51). During the time the hens were without food, nine hens die. When Stalin saw that the wealthier Ukranian farmers, termed as kulaks, were a threat to his collectivization ideas he created the term “dekulukization”, which was an effort to create collective farm units and to eliminate independent farm-holdings.
Stalin tried unsuccessfully to gain the support of the poorer class of peasants by portraying the kulaks as a danger to society. When the poor farmers sided with the kulaks, Stalin had them become new targets of dekulakization. Stalin had demanded a very high quota for grain from the Ukrainian farmers, and as a result in the summer of 1932, Ukranian farmers argued that they could not deliver the amount that they were demanded to provide. Like in Animal Farm , the hens rebelled against Napoleon for his outrageous request for four hundred eggs per week.
Also, when the hens decided to destroy their own eggs, it represents the way the Ukranian farmers burned their own crops and farms than hand them over to Stalin and his government. Furthermore, when Napoleon decreed, “That any animal giving so much as a grain of corn to a hen should be punished to death”(51), it is a comparison to how Stalin had anybody who attempted to help a kulak killed. Rupert 6 Additionally, in Animal Farm when the hens die, it is said that they die because of coccidiosis. This represents the cover-up of the Ukrainian famine.
Many people were not allowed to enter Ukraine or leave, especially journalists, because Stalin feared that the famine of the Ukrainian people would be revealed in the media. Also, by purchasing weapons and products from Western countries, the Western countries returned the favour by remaining silent about the starvation of the Ukranians. Overall, Orwell`s novel Animal Farm, is a truly perceptive novel on true events which occurred during Stalinist reign. Orwell uses his novel Animal Farm and his allegorical character Napoleon to show the reader what kind of atrocities Stalin committed during the time of his reign over the USSR.
He parallels Stalin with the character Napoleon to criticize totalitarian rule in the USSR. Orwell brilliantly uses Napoleon`s dogs, the animal`s false confessions and the starvation of the hens to represent the Secret Police, the show trials and the starvation of the Ukrainian people. The acts committed by both Napoleon from Animal Farm, and Stalin both show what tyrannical rulers they were. Both Napoleon and Stalin demonstrate how easily `absolute power corrupts absolutely`.