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Animal Farm is an allegory of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent policies of the U.S.S.R. Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin and, less directly, Napoleon Bonaparte, the latter in order to show how power corrupts. Snowball represents Leon Trotsky. And Old Major represents Karl Marx. Stalin (Napoleon) and Trotsky (Snowball) played significant roles in the Russian revolution. Ultimately, Stalin made a non-aggressive pact with Hitler (Mr. Pilkington) which Trotsky did not agree with. As a result of this and other disagreements, Stalin had Trotsky removed from power and deported; just as Napoleon did with Snowball.
Karl Marx (Old Major) was a German philosopher most famous for writing The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital. In Marx's philosophy of history, called historical materialism, capitalism would give way to socialism (or communism) with a Worker's Revolution. This had tremendous impact on Stalin, Trotsky and other socialist/communist revolutionaries in Russia. So, Old Major represents this influence on Napoleon, Snowball and the other animals and Old Major represents the founder of the philosophy upon which the animal revolution was based.
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