Historical Background to Animal Farm

Historical Background to Animal


Karl Marx was a German scholar who lived
in the nineteenth century. He spent most of his life studying, thinking
and writing about history and economics. A many years of study, much of
it spent in England, he believed that he understood more deeply than anyone
who had ever lived before him why there is injustice in the world.

He said that all injustice and inequality
is a result of one underlying conflict in society. He called it a 'class
struggle', that is, a conflict bet the class of people who can afford to
own money- producing businesses, whom he called 'capitalists' or 'the bourgeosie',
and the class of people who do not surplus money to buy businesses and
who are therefore forced to work for wage whom he called 'workers'.

Marx said that, because it was always in
the economic interest of capita to take advantage of or 'exploit' workers,
nothing could persuade capitalists change their ways. In other words, peaceful
progess toward equality and socia justice was impossible. The only way
to establish justice, he said, was for t workers to overthrow the capitalists
by means of violent revolution. He urged workers around the world to revolt
against their rulers. "Workers of the worl unite!" he wrote. "You have
nothing to lose but your chains."

Another thing Marx taught was that organized
religion, the churches, help capitalists to keep the workers quiet and
obedient. Religion, according to Mar 'the opiate of the masses'. The church
tells working people to forget about th injustice they meet in their lives
and to think instead of how wonderful it wi in the after- life when they
go to heaven.

Marx, with his colleague, Engels, spread
his ideas in two famous books, Capital' and 'The Communist Manifesto'.

In the early years of the twentieth century,

Russia was ready for the ide Marx. The Russian people were extremely discontented
with their ruler, Tsar Nicholas II, who had little interest in governing
and was neglecting the count badly. Making conditions even more miserable
for the people were the hardships the First World War and a particularly
cold winter.

By 1917, the Russian people were desperate
enough to accept a revolution. fact, they got two for the price of one,
the first in March when the Tsar was deposed and a provisional government
was set up. Then in November a political called the Bolsheviks led a further
rebellion which ousted the provisional government. The leaders of the Bolsheviks,

Lenin and Trotsky, began to build a Russia, one built on the ideas of Marx,
where everyone was equal, where all property was owned by 'the people'
rather than by capitalists and where the wo were in control of the goernment.

Not long afterward, Communist Russia was
attacked by Britain, America and France, who wanted to get rid of the communist
government. They were afraid th workers in their own countries might be
inspired to imitate the example of Rus Trotsky, a highly intelligent and
energetic communist leader, led the defence Russia with great success.

After Lenin's death in 1924, a power struggle
began between Trotsky and a leader within the Communist Party named Stalin.

While Trotsky was a brilliant intellectual and an idealist, Stalin was
a simpler, quieter sort of person, wh based his power not so much on plans
and ideas as on alliances with other memb of the Communist Party. While

Trotsky believed in Russia's trying to assist wo all over the world to
rise up in communist revolutions against their bosses, S wanted Russia
to take care of its own business. The rivalry between the two leaders went
on for several years.

Eventually 1929 Stalin gained the upper
hand and drove Trotsky from Russia. Stalin later up a scheme to industrialise
the backward country which he called the Five-Yea Plan. It included a number
of Trotsky's ideas which Stalin had previously opposed. As Russia developed
under Stalin, members of the Communist Party took for themselves many privileges.

All the original communist ideals of Marx received service, but it became
clearer and clearer that members of the Communist Party becoming a ruling
class that was not equal to non-members.

Most important of all to Stalin was ensuring
that he remained in power. H often used the most brutal tactics. Chief
among his creations were two highly effective political weapons - an efficient
propaganda machine which more and m promoted the idea of Stalin as a great,
nearly god-like leader, and a secret p force which kept the country quiet
through the use of terror. At one point dur his rule, he organized 'Show

Trials' in which many of