George Orwell published Animal Farm in August 1945, in the closing weeks of the Pacific War. Even then, most naïve supporters of the wartime Soviet-British-American alliance were no longer in denial about the contours of Moscow’s impending postwar communist aggression.
The short, allegorical novel’s human-like farm animals replay the transition of supposedly 1917 revolutionary Bolsheviks into cynical 1930s Stalinists. Thereby, they remind us that leftist totalitarianism inevitably becomes far worse than the supposed parasitical capitalists they once toppled.
Orwell saw that the desire for power stamps out all ideological pretenses. It creates an untouchable ruling clique central to all totalitarian movements. Beware, he warns, of the powerful who claim to help the helpless.