Communism Through The Eyes of George Orwell




Communism Through The Eyes of George Orwell

Throughout history, writers have written about many different subjects based on their personal experiences. George Orwell was the pen name of Eric Blair. He is one of the most famous political satirists of the twentieth century. He was born in Bengal, India in 1903 to an English Civil Servant and died in 1950. He attended Eton from 1917 to 1921, and served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma from 1922 to 1927 before moving to Europe.Two of his most famous books, Animal Farm, written in 1946, and Nineteen Eighty-Four, written in 1949, were written about the political and social environment surrounding his life. ³The driving force behind his two satires is an intense revulsion against totalitarianism, combined with an even stronger revulsion against its defenders among left-wing intellectuals.²1 In most of George Orwell¹s books and essays, there is a strong autobiographical element due to the fact that he spent many years living with Communists in northern Great Britain (a small number of people started to follow Communism in northern Great Britain when it started in Russia). George Orwell¹s writing was affected greatly by his personal beliefs about Socialism, Communism, Fascism, and Totalitarianism, and by the revolts, wars, and revolutions going on in Europe and Russia at the time of his writings.
George Orwell was a Socialist2 himself, and he despised Russian Communism3, and what it stood for. Orwell shows this hatred towards Communist Russia in a letter he wrote to Victor Gollancz saying, ³For quite fifteen years I have regarded that regime with plain horror.²4 Orwell wrote this letter in 1947, ten years after announcing his dislike of Communism. However, he had thought a great deal about Communism and what he disliked about if for a long time before he announced it to the public. Orwell ³did not expect anything good from the Communist²5 and therefore Communism personally did not affect him, but ³He was concerned with it (Communism) only because it was a problem for others.²6
In Animal Farm, ³an animal fable satirizing Communism,²7 Orwell uses farm animals in England to satirize Russian Communism and its leaders. One animal he uses is a pig named Napoleon, whose counterpart in the Russian Revolution is Joseph Stalin. After Napoleon takes charge of the farm, he assumes the role of a dictator that benefits himself much like Stalin did. During Stalin¹s reign, 1929-1953, he used terror to enforce his laws, and allowed no one to oppose his decisions. If someone did oppose him, he would punish him or her harshly. In Animal Farm, Napoleon also uses violent force to enforce his laws. Napoleon showed this force when he ³called upon them to confess their crimes....When they had finished their confession, the dogs promptly tore their throats out, and in a terrible voice Napoleon demanded whether any other animal had anything to confess.²8 This violent force that Joseph Stalin used to enforce his laws is one of the main reasons that Orwell disagreed with the main principles behind Communism and its leaders.
Another comparison that Orwell makes between Napoleon and Stalin is the changing of history to benefit themselves. In Animal Farm, Napoleon often changes history to make himself look better. Even though Snowball, the other pig that was in charge with Napoleon, was the true hero in the ³Battle of the Cowshed,²9 Napoleon makes himself out to be the hero. Squealer, one of Napoleon¹s top pigs in command, says,²Do you not remember how, just at the moment when Jones and his men had got inside the yard, Snowball suddenly turned and fled...that it was just at that moment when panic was spreading and all seemed lost, that Comrade Napoleon sprang forward with a cry of ŒDeath to Humanity!¹²10 Just as Squealer retold the event to Napoleon¹s benefit,the same thing can be said about Stalin. After he ³became dictator of the Soviet Union, he had history books rewritten to say that he had led the revolution with Lenin.²11 This however is not the truth. In reality, it was Leon Trotsky who led the revolution with Lenin. This is just one of the many comparisons that Orwell makes between Stalin and Napoleon. Stalin was what Orwell and people who were against Communism feared the most; a