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In George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm, Mr. Frederick’s men attack and destroy the rebuilt windmill. They do so mainly because Animal Farm is an allegorical fable, in which Mr. Frederick and his farm represent Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, Napoleon and Animal Farm represent Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union. In 1941, Hitler, having signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler, suddenly unleashed a massive surprise attack on the Soviet Union, devastating much of the country. Frederick’s attack on the windmill, therefore, is Orwell’s allegorical version of Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union. Orwell’s account of the attack, and of the events preceding the attack, closely parallels real historical events:
There were fifteen men, with half a dozen guns between them, and they opened fire as soon as they got within fifty yards. The animals could not face the terrible explosions and the stinging pellets, and in spite of the efforts of Napoleon and Boxer to rally them, they were soon driven back. A number of them were already wounded. They took refuge in the farm buildings and peeped cautiously out from chinks and knot-holes. The whole of the big pasture, including the windmill, was in the hands of the enemy. For the moment even Napoleon seemed at a loss.
The “fifteen men” represent the overwhelming force that Hitler threw against the Soviets. The fact that the animals are “soon driven back” represents the great success the Germans initially experienced. The fact that the animals feel overwhelmed represents the way in which the Soviets also initially were overwhelmed by the German onslaught. The Germans quickly seized a huge swath of Soviet territory, just as Frederick’s men seize the “whole of the big pasture, including the windmill.” Finally, the fact that Napoleon seems “at a loss” resembles the way in which Stalin felt shocked and dumbfounded by the Nazi surprise attack.
The destruction of the windmill represents the ways the Nazis destroyed much of the industrial infrastructure of the Soviet Union.
In short, Orwell’s account resembles, almost point-by-point, real historical events in the early 1940s.
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