What happened at the Battle of the Cowshed in the book Animal Farm?

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Wikipedia contains a detailed discussion of Orwell's Animal Farm. The following is an authoritative quote from that article:

The Battle of the Cowshed represents the allied invasion of the Soviet Russia in 1918, and the defeat of the White Russians in the Russian Civil War.

Following Germany's defeat in World War I, the victorious allies made an attempt to defeat the Bolsheviks who had taken over the Russian government, but they were repulsed. This is represented allegorically by Orwell as the "Battle of the Cowshed" in which the humans try to retake the farm from the animals.

The article on "Animal Farm" in Wikipedia offers a thorough explanation  of every aspect of Orwell's book plus much additional background information.

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The Battle of the Cowshed is the first action of the animals against the humans.  They act on it spontaneously after Old Major's brilliant inspirational speech and after learning the song about the Beasts of England.  The humans are pushed out, the animals act bravely (except for Mollie who hides during the battle and later goes to work for the humans in return for ribbons and sugar), and the pigs take over the operations of the farm.  This battle is the most successful of the battles against the humans...while it is not premeditated, it is executed well as they have the element of surprise.  Very few injuries/deaths occur for the animals in this altercation. 

Check the links below for further information on this battle and state of the minds of the animals afterward.

http://www.enotes.com/animal

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