What does the Battle of the Windmill in Animal Farm symbolize in real life events? In other words, what event in real life can be tied to the Battle of the Windmill?

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andrewnightingale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The battle represents World War ll, called The Great Patriotic War, but relates to two especially significant battles during the war: the Battle of Stalingrad (23 August 1942 – 2 February 1943) and the Battle of Moscow (October 1941 – January 1942).

During the former, fought on the Eastern Front, Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of Stalingrad. The battle was epitomised by fierce fighting at close quarters and air raids. It is regarded as one of the bloodiest battles in modern warfare and also the largest. Close to two million were killed in the battle. Both sides suffered heavy losses and the German forces and its allies were forced to withdraw. The battle was, therefore, a victory for the Soviets.

In the second battle, the conditions were quite similar. Both sides suffered heavy losses. The Germans advanced on Moscow and tried to surround the city in a pincer attack by launching two major offences. The Soviets resisted their attacks, however, when they constructed three major defensive belts and by employing many reserve troops and extra soldiers recalled from areas where fighting was not that severe. They stopped the Germans and then launched an offensive of their own. The Germans were forced to retreat.

The destruction of the windmill represents the destruction of what the Soviets had achieved by the time the Second World War began. The two battles nearly devastated both cities and, as already mentioned, heavy losses had been suffered. However, through their resilience and bravery, the Soviets survived these onslaughts, just as the animals did. 

jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Battle of the Windmill in Chapter 8 of Animal Farm represents the fighting in World War II, particularly the Soviet victories over the Nazis fought at great cost to the Soviets. Before this battle in the novel, Mr. Frederick of Pinchfield, a neighboring farmer, buys wood from Napoleon but pays for it with fake bank notes. As a result, Napoleon puts Frederick under a death sentence. This situation is similar to the relationship between the Soviet Union, represented by the animals, and the Nazis, represented by Frederick, at the outset of World War II. The Soviet Union and the Nazis had signed a Non-Aggression Pact in 1939, but then the Nazis went back on their word and attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. 

Frederick and his men attack the farm, and they blow up the windmill. The animals fight back, although Frederick's men have guns, and chase the men away. As a result, the animals suffer heavy losses, as several animals die. This result is similar to the heavy losses the Soviets suffered as they pushed the Nazis out of Russia. Like the Soviets, the animals celebrate their victory in the Battle of the Windmill with great fanfare.