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Old 11-20-2017, 10:32 AM   #9
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An excellent find and thank you for sharing it Squatter! I agree it's a neat little piece of history from the earliest fan review I'm aware of! A reminder that we all find something different to draw us in. With Major Lewis it was Lothlorien and Fangorn, and Samwise and Gimli.

Indeed by accident, a great deal of it can be read topically - the Shire standing for England, Rohan for France, Gondor the Germany of the future, Sauron for Stalin: and Saruman in the "Scouring of the Shire" for our egregious Mr Silkin, the town planner (and destroyer)!
The only one I'm struggling with is "Rohan for France," but I have very little knowledge on mid-late 1940s France and how Lewis thought to make that connection.

It's interesting he connects Sauron to Stalin and Saruman from the "The Scouring of the Shire" to "Mr. Silkin." Doing a quick search, I wasn't able to find much about Mr. Silkin, other than at the time Major Lewis wrote this review Lewis Silkin was the Minister of Town and Country Planning, and created the Silkin Test in 1949. Lewis is definitely attributing the destruction of the English countryside happening under Silkin's leadership.

I agree with Inziladun that I never connected Sauron to one of the WWII fascist dictators. Although, I also read LOTR in the 2000s, and not from the perspective of someone who lived in the time of these historical figures. So, it's not surprising Major Lewis warns Tolkien about the critics are going to say the story is allegorical and written to be a political satire. Sauron as Stalin makes more sense than Hitler, to be honest. I would say, Stalin was perceived as a bigger evil, and greater threat than Hitler (especially after the war). It could be the British and French felt a closer shared connection with the German people than they did the Russians, but for years leading up to WWII the belief was Hitler could be dealt with rationally and reasoned with, Stalin couldn't be. You could say the leading European powers were trying to deal with Hitler as a misbehaving little brother, because they were hoping to use Germany as a stop to the spread of Stalin's communism.

"Gondor as the Germany of the future"...hmm I'm trying to think of where Lewis is going with that comparison. Is it during much of LOTR Gondor was a dwindling empire? Gondor had lost much of it's territories over the years and was continuing to decline under Denethor's leadership. Which also makes a connection to Germany interesting, because Denethor did not oppose Sauron based on the grounds that Sauron was the Dark Lord and big bad evil, but Denethor perceived Sauron as his political rival and threat. But "Germany of the future" seems to suggest post-war Germany and the rebuilding effort, like Gondor would have to do after the War of the Ring.
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