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Monday 23 October 2023

Tolkien Was Red-Pilled On WW2.


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Tolkien was red-pilled on WW2 before it was cool. I have just started reading The Lord of the Rings again for the first time in many years and in the introduction to the 1991 Tolkien addressed the idea of whether or not his work was an allegory. He explains that it was not, and in the process why it is explicitly not an allegory for World War 2,

“It was written long before  the foreshadow of 1939 had yet to 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. Its sources are things long before in mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing in it was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels.

The real war does not resemble the legendary war[1] in its process of its conclusion. If it had inspired or directed the development of the legend, then certainly the ring would have been seized and used against Sauron; he would not have been annihilated but enslaved, and Barad-dur would not have been destroyed but occupied. Saruman, failing to get possession of the Ring, would in the confusion and treacheries of the time have found in Mordor the missing links in his own researches into Ring-lore, and before long he would have made a Great Ring of his own with which to challenge the self-styled Ruler of Middle-earth. In that conflict both sides would have held hobbits in hatred and contempt: they would not have long survived even as slaves.”[2]

Some people believe that World War 2 was a clear case of the good guys verse the bad guys. But those more familiar with Churchill’s machinations behind the scenes for war, both in the early 1900’s before WW1 and prior to WW2, and of the ambitions of FDR in the United States, and especially of the evil of Stalin in working hard to set up the conditions for a big war in Europe, know that it was more a baddies verse baddies affair. Every side was evil. 

It is a big red-pill moment when you learn of the corruption that got the western world involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It is a far larger shock to the system when you realize that the same corruption was behind the second world war. A war many consider motivated (at least on the allies side) by as pristine motives as you can get for a war. 

But it is an encouragement to see the view that Tolkien held. Because he is clearly saying here that if his book, The Lord of the Rings, were an allegory, then every side would have been evil. That would have been a terrible book indeed, just as it was a terrible period in the history of this world.

Not all wars are bankers wars. But most wars are unnecessary wars that cost rivers of blood for little benefit for the average man. Don’t fall for war propaganda. It is good to want to defend your nation, but if your men are called to a far off land, far from your own country and told they must fight there to defend your nation, ask some hard questions. Because if there are borders, between borders, between borders, before that enemy could threaten your own people, then you can be pretty certain that they are not about the business of defending your own country. They are fighting for foreign interests. 

Tolkien was red-pilled before it was cool. How could he not be? His insight into the inner workings of mankind are first class.  

List of References

[1] The war in the Lord of the Rings.

[2] J R R Tolkien, 1991, The Lord of the Rings, HarperCollinsPublishers.

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