When George Orwell wrote Animal Farm, one of his goals was to bring honor and recognition to those who were oppressed and killed by Stalin's regime. He did this by showing them as kindhearted, courageous, and hardworking people in his book.
Thinking Skill - Contextualization
I used context in this project to further understand people decisions and the motives behind these decisions. Because much of my research and writing was based on George Orwell's Animal Farm, knowing the context on why and when he wrote it proved important. Other important part that context played in my project is in my history paper on the Second Red Scare. Knowing the context behind accusations and events helped me understand why so many people acted the way they did during the Red Scare, and why many people were comfortable giving up their privacy in an attempt to halt the spread of communism.
Russian Revolution and Animal Farm
June 25th, 1903, in eastern India the soon to be famous author George Orwell was born. He would attend school in England, and by 1928 he would consider himself a writer. His lack of success in trying to get a job in London and him being forced into poverty caused him to write his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London. Although he originally considered himself to be an anarchist, into the 1930s George Orwell considered himself a socialist. This is because George Orwell thought that socialism was the only system that would uphold free speech long term, which was important to him because he was a writer. George Orwell visited Spain in 1936, which was during the Spanish civil war, where he wrote, “Above all, there was a belief in the revolution and the future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of equality and freedom. Human beings were trying to behave as human beings and not as cogs in the capitalist machine.” He saw this as a cause worth fighting for, and listed himself in the militia to fight against a rebellion against the republican government. However, as communist manhunts, ordered by Stalin, grew in Spain, George Orwell was forced to flee from the country. This ordeal would cause him to become a staunch anti-Stalinist, and to eventually go on the write the incredibly popular book, Animal Farm.
Animal Farm and the Russian Revolution
The book Animal Farm draws many parallels to the Russian Revolution 1917. The animals, which are malnourished and overworked, start a revolution to take the barn for themselves. This is similar to how the Russian working class, also starved at the time, took the means of production for themselves though revolution. Both the Russians and the animals instate communism (or animalism as it is called on the farm) and are relatively happy at first. However, as time goes on a brutal dictator takes control of the system, and uses an overreach in power to manipulate and oppress his workers.
The Meaning Behind Animal Farm
Aside from being a powerful message against Stalin, Animal Farm also carries a theme behind it. In my opinion this theme is that a lack of information is the gateway to a controlled society without freedom. This is because throughout the book, as more information was forgotten by the public or hidden by the pigs, the more control Napoleon got. This helped Napoleon kill other animals on the farm and drive the animals into fear. One example of this is when Napoleon executes several animals on the farm for suspected plotting with snowball. When some animals question whether or not killing animals was allowed by the farm’s commandments, Napoleon twists the words to add an excuse for his killings by telling them that “no animal must kill another animal without cause”. Because the animals forget the commandments and couldn’t read, no one could tell Napoleon was lying, and he could continue killing others. Another reason for George Orwell’s writing of Animal Farm is to bring honor to those killed by Stalin. These people had been murdered by Stalin, and George Orwell felt that they would be dishonored and that this would continue to happen unless more people spoke out against Stalin. George Orwell also believed that the Soviet Union dishonored his political ideology, socialism. He believed
Mr. Jones and Czar Nicholas
The often drunk and incompetent farmer, Mr. Jones, is George Orwell’s parallel to Czar Nicholas. Both of them were rulers before the revolution, but were either chased away, (Mr. Jones), or executed by guillotine, (Czar Nicholas). Both were known by their subjects as cruel and overall poor leaders, leading many to starve under their rule. After having their rule toppled, neither leader was able to regain control during their lifetimes.
Old Major and Karl Marx
Both being cited as inspiring their respective revolutions, Karl Marx and Old Major created the idea behind communism and animalism. They inspired the working class to rise up against those above them through revolution and seize the means of production. Both Karl Marx and Old Major died before the revolution began, but still had an enormous impact on the ideology behind the revolutions.
Napoleon the Pig and Stalin
After the revolution, Stalin and Napoleon both began to emerge as leaders of the new societies. Both Stalin and Napoleon are portrayed as gruff, cunning, and brutal leaders An example of this in Animal Farm is when Napoleon chases Snowball out, this left the other animals “silent and terrified” and ensured Napoleon complete control over the farm. As Soviet Russia and Animal Farm grow poorer and poorer, Stalin and Napoleon grow wealthy and powerful. They use a secret police to enforce their laws, and kill many people throughout their bloody rulership. Although this is George Orwell’s depiction of Stalin, Stalin viewed himself very differently, and used Soviet media to create a personality cult around himself. This media depicted him as a savior of his country and a father of the Russian people. This propaganda depiction of himself is far different from the bloodthirsty murderer George Orwell knew him to be.
Snowball and Trotsky
The main opposition to Napoleon and Stalin, Snowball and Trotsky are other revolutionary war leaders. They are both portrayed as charismatic, smart, and brave. This is shown during the battle of Cowshed, when Snowball defends the farm, and is even hit by a bullet but keeps fighting. Snowball and Trotsky are eventually forced out by the dictators, and Trotsky is murdered by an assassin sent to kill him.
Although all the major ones are listed above, other connections can be made from the characters in Animal Farm to those in the Russian Revolution. Both boxer and the proletariat, (the working class of Russia), are hard workers and the backbone of the revolution. Squealer is the propaganda machine which churned out fake information about Stalin throughout Soviet Russia. Finally, the sheep are the average Soviet citizen, mindlessly accepting what is given to them and repeating it.
Why Animal Farm Works
Animal Farm was written by George Orwell, and stands as a literary work speaking out against Stalinism and Soviet Russia. This book is about a group of animals who grow tired of living under their farmer, so they start a revolution and take the farm for themselves, however, life ruled by themselves is not all it was made out to be, and soon a tyrant pig known as Napoleon takes control and begins a long reign of oppression and murder. Overall, I thought the book was very well written, and something that everyone can benefit from reading not only once, but two or three times. The book is not only a good fantasy story without context, but contains very well drawn references between the characters and events to the Russian Revolution. Although the story is short, George Orwell is able to cover a remarkable amount of topics and events within the only one hundred forty one short pages. My only complaint about the book is that the animals can seem unrealistically stupid at times, believing the pigs obvious lies without question, this in my opinion lowers this book as a fantasy story, but raises it as a criticism of Soviet Russia, as George Orwell is using the animals as a metaphor for the Russian citizens who ate up Stalin’s lies. Overall, I think this is a very good book, both in fantasy and political commentary, and that readers can benefit from reading it multiple times.
Comparing Animal Farm to the second Red Scare was a lot harder than comparing it to the Russian Revolution, because George Orwell's original intent with Animal Farm was to criticize Stalin. Ultimately, the five characters I decided to compare are Napoleon, Snowball, Boxer, Farmer Jones and Moses. I felt that these characters had personality traits that could be applied to many people, and not just those that George Orwell envisioned them to. The first character I imagined for this infographic was Boxer, because his hardworking and brave nature could be applied to many people in America. This led the way to me thinking about what traits Animal Farm characters had that could be applied to Americans as well.
Analyzing McCarthy Speeches
Analyzing McCarthy Speeches
McCarthy’s Letter to the President
In McCarthy's letter, Enemies From With, he accused 57 members of the state department, (a group within the executive branch tasked with foreign policy), of being treasonous communist sympathisers. He also stated that those 57 names are only the ones known, and that many more reside within the state department.
In McCarthy’s Virginia speech to the American people, he also hinted at communists being within the state department, but he didn’t mention their goals or how many he suspected there were. In this speech, McCarthy’s main goal was to drum up public support for the republican party, and to criticize Marx, Lenin, and Stalin. He criticized the east of being communist and atheist. He compared this to the capitalist, christian west. He claimed that Karl Marx expelled people from the communist party for mentioning things like love, justice and morality.
Criticism of McCarthy
As McCarthy’s restriction of personal freedoms began, many Americans began to speak out against him. One such person was Margaret Thatcher. She criticised McCarthy’s policies as national suicide. She spoke out against the partisanship and finger pointing in washington, saying, “I condemn a Republican “Fascist” just as much as I condemn a Democrat “Communist.” I condemn a Democrat “Fascist” just as much as I condemn a Republican “Communist.” They are equally dangerous to you and me and to our country.She also said that the parties need to focus less on elections and show more patriotism towards the American people. The second main theme of her speech was that holding unpopular views should not cost an American citizen their freedom or safety. To conclude the speech she mentioned that she had drafted a statement from her and six other republican senators.
1. We are Republicans. But we are Americans first. It is as Americans that we express our concern with the growing confusion that threatens the security and stability of our country. Democrats and Republicans alike have contributed to that confusion. 2. The Democratic administration has initially created the confusion by its lack of effective leadership, by its contradictory grave warnings and optimistic assurances, by its complacency to the threat of communism here at home, by its over sensitiveness to rightful criticism, by its petty bitterness against its critics. 3. Certain elements of the Republican Party have materially added to this confusion in the hopes of riding the Republican party to victory through the selfish political exploitation of fear, bigotry, ignorance, and intolerance. There are enough mistakes of the Democrats for Republicans to criticize constructively without resorting to political smears. 4. To this extent, Democrats and Republicans alike have unwittingly, but undeniably, played directly into the Communist design of “confuse, divide and conquer.” 5. It is high time that we stopped thinking politically as Republicans and Democrats about elections and started thinking patriotically as Americans about national security based on individual freedom. It is high time that we all stopped being tools and victims of totalitarian techniques—techniques that, if continued here unchecked, will surely end what we have come to cherish as the American way of life.
Analyzing McCarthy speeches was something I did while waiting to meet with a teacher. However, despite it being a short and unplanned project, I am very happy I did it. Analyzing McCarthy 's speeches helped me understand the context of how the Second Red Scare started and the pressure placed on the senators by McCarthy's accusations.
Analyzing the Second Red Scare
The 2nd Red Scare
In the 1940s and 1950s, America, on the brink of a nuclear nuclear war with Russia, entered a period known as the 2nd Red Scare. As propaganda wars between the USSR and the USA were fully underway, the U.S. government began encouraging its own citizens to spy on each other and rat each other out. The government's attempt to root out all communists from the US was reflected in media, sporting events, and most prominent of all, propaganda.
The First Red Scare
Although the second Red Scare was longer and gained more media attention, a first Red Scare had actually happened from 1919-1920. Only a few short years after the Russian revolution (1917) fed up workers in the U.S. formed a communist labor party due to the poverty in the U.S. after the great depression. This made the government fear another successful revolution happening in the U.S. after the government being toppled in Russia. About 3,000 citizens were jailed without right to legal counsel, and many more Russian immigrants were deported over fear of them being a communist.
Elaboration on the Second Red Scare
During the 2nd Red Scare, senator John McCarthy proposed that large numbers of communists had infiltrated the U.S. government. This idea led to the Second Red Scare, and a growing war on domestic communism. The government imposed strict protocols for suspected communists. They were not allowed to run for office, and were subjected to government investigation. Afterwords, the government denounced what happened during this time period, but the debate about Americans’ rights to privacy still continues today.
Sporting events were especially intense during the cold war and even more so during the 2nd Red Scare. In the 1956 olympics, as communism and capitalism vied for global control, athletes competed to bring honor to their countries and to prove that their countries were superior. Many countries, such as the Netherlands and Spain, refused to even compete in the olympics due to the Russian invasion of Hungary. Also, as tensions rose between the Soviets and the Hungarians, a fistfight erupted in the pool during a water polo match between them. This incident between the two countries would be known as “blood in the water” due to the fact that a player left blood from the fight behind in the pool. The tense atmosphere during the olympic games would continue until the late 1980’s.
Because many media organizations have to be government funded, it is easy for the government to take control of them and use them as a mouthpiece during times of war. The cold war was no different. In the beginning of the Cold War, U.S. media began encouraging citizens to support the economic and political stances the government took. However, as the red scare began, the media campaigns grew much more extreme. Phrases such as “Better Dead Than Red” began to be sent out by the media, and movies such as “Red Nightmare” became part of school curriculums. These continued messages sent to the public caused there to be less backlash as the government rolled out policies that would have otherwise been controversial, such as entering the vietnam war.
The final part of the information war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was propaganda. Posters and info sheets were mass produced to sway the public into believing what the government wanted them to believe. One example depicts a mono colored red spy with the title, “THE RED MENACE IS REAL!” and a smaller caption, “Report all suspected communist activity!” This poster encouraged citizens to spy on each other, and fed fears that communists had infiltrated the United States. Another U.S. propaganda piece, titled “The Red Iceberg” was a comic book given to school children. This book emphasized that the U.S. must steer clear of other communist countries, or else it will sink and fail. This propaganda book encouraged cutting the U.S. off entirely from communist countries, and was used to indoctrinate children early.
Works Cited “Animal Farm Characters - Russian Counterparts.” Quia - Animal Farm Characters - Russian Counterparts, www.quia.com/jg/2162385list.html. Daniels, Robert V. “Leon Trotsky.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 5 Jan. 2018, www.britannica.com/biography/Leon-Trotsky. “History - Historic Figures: George Orwell (1903 - 1950).” BBC, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/orwell_george.shtml. “History - Historic Figures: Nicholas II (1868-1918).” BBC, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/nicholas_ii.shtml. History.com Staff. “Joseph Stalin.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/joseph-stalin. History.com Staff. “Karl Marx.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2009, www.history.com/topics/karl-marx. Moran, Daniel, and George Orwell. Animal Farm. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001.
Works Cited “Cold War Propaganda.” The Cold War, 29 Oct. 2014, alphahistory.com/coldwar/cold-war-propaganda/. “Designer Daily: Graphic and Web Design Blog.” Designer Daily: Graphic and Web Design Blog, www.designer-daily.com/. “Doping for Gold.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 14 Dec. 2017, www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/the-cold-war-sporting-front/53/. “The Role of the Media During the Cold War.” E-International Relations, www.e-ir.info/2013/10/26/the-role-of-the-media-during-the-cold-war/. Storrs, Landon R. Y. “McCarthyism and the Second Red Scare.” Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History, 8 June 2017, americanhistory.oxfordre.com/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199329175.001.0001/acrefore-9780199329175-e-6.