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How is Lord of the Rings Parallel to World War II?

Updated on July 16, 2011

Sauron vs. Hitler. Who would win? Regardless the outcome of that epic battle, have you ever noticed the parallels between Lord of the Rings and World War II? There is a shocking amount once you start paying attention. This is most likely because of when Tolkien was alive.

West vs. East

In elementary textbooks, children are taught that the armies of the Western countries worked for peace and liberty, whereas the Eastern countries fought for domination in World War II. This concept is somewhat stereotypical, but the idea does exist in Lord of the Rings. Think about it. Gondor, Lothlorien, Rivendell,and even the Shire are all located in the West. Moria, Mordor, and Mount Doom are strongly established on the Eastern side of Middle Earth. In the final battle, it is the kings of the West versus the dark, forbidding forces of the Eastern armies. From this perspective, it is quite possible that the courageous heroes, i.e. Gandalf, Eragorn, Merry, Pippin, Legolas, Gimli, etc., represent the Western armies fighting against the potent evil of the East. To emphasize my point, you should watch Peter Jackson's movie trilogy because he does an amazing job with the visual imagery.

Map Of Europe

Mussolini is to Hitler as Saruman is to Sauron

Every evil dictator must have a disposable, easily manipulated sidekick. It is beyond cruel how the dictators regard their loyal followers, but it is also necessary to strengthen their rule. Both Mussolini and Saruman were puppets for their great masters. Both men were powerful and influential, but their hearts fell into corruption. If you are doubting my comparison, look at the documentaries and other episodes on the History Channel!


Which is more dangerous, words or the palantir of Orthanc? Hitler’s weapon of choice was the effect words have on the human psyche. His words were able to change the morals and minds of some the most dignified people. In Lord of the Rings, words are represented by the palantir of Orthanc. Its harsh, unrelenting force draws people to Sauron like words drew people to Hitler.

Ending the Battle

Long wars must go out with a BANG, literally and metaphorically. In World War II, the entire thing came to an end when the Americans dropped the two atomic bombs on Japan. The country was so severely crippled that it was unable to fight the assault since the American had done the unthinkable. Similarily, Frodo, Sam, and even Smeagle completely eliminate Sauron and his forces when the ring is returned to Mount Doom.

The War Goes Everywhere

World War II effected just about the entire world. When soldiers would return home, they would find wounded and desperate homes. Fortunately, many of the homes were repaired and a new era arose. When the hobbits eventually returned home to the Shire, it was not the place they had left. War had touched even the friendly creatures of the Shire, but the villagers were able to overcome the horrors (such as missing second breakfast or tea) with the help of the returning heroes. Now, you should go read the book to see exactly what I'm talking about!


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      HAerugherjghe 14 months ago

      This made me rip out my G key. Don't worry. I put it back in. *Wink Wink* ;)

    • Findecano profile image

      Findecano 2 years ago from Venezuela

      Well, the connections you make are all good and well I think, but while he still lived Tolkien was confronted with the question of his work containing some allegoric content related to the events of his own lifetime, and he firmly rejected the idea, so maybe he wouldn’t have given validity to the points you make in your hub.

      Um, also, the palantir is a means of communication, not manipulation, let alone mass manipulation, as there is only a few in the hands of specific individuals.

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      Blackpaw 3 years ago

      "As for any inner meaning or 'message;, it has in the intention of the author none. It is neither allegorical nor topical...The crucial chapter, 'The Shadow of the Past;, is one of the oldest parts of the tale. It was written long before the foreshadow of 1939 had yet become a threat of inevitable disaster, and from that point the story would have developed along essentially the same lines, if that disaster had been averted...The real war does not resemble the legendary in its process or its conclusion. If it had been inspired or directed by thedevelopmentof the legend, then certainly the Ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated by enslaved, and Barad-dûr would not have been destroyed but occupied." (Foreword to the Second Edition, LotR).

      So No. It is not.

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      Alex 4 years ago

      I was wondering on this too. Here's some ideas I came up with:

      Rohan is France, Wormtounge is Vicy France, the battle at Helmsdeep is DDay, the elves are the US coming to save the day, Gondor is Britain, constantly keeping the Nazis at bay, the dwarfes are the russians, hammers!

    • Kris Oller profile image

      Kris Oller 5 years ago from Modesto, Ca

      I can see where you might find the parallels between the two. But what I think is so great about the book is that Tolkien wasn't actually writing about WWII; he was much more about things being applicable (since he didn't like allegory).

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      hiit 5 years ago

      Great hub, looking forward to come back and fascinted by your posts. Thank you.

      Ron from Fitness Tips

    • TalesofEronumera profile image

      TalesofEronumera 5 years ago

      You are an awesome writer. Keep it up! You just earned yourself a follower.