Hitler wasn’t big enough!

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halfir 11/Apr/2006 at 05:39 AM
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As ever, I am indebted to our ’source guru’ geordie to alerting me to the source that forms the basis of this thread -Eglerio-In Praise of Tolkien edt. by Anne Etkin Quest Communications Inc 1978,  a collection of short articles on Tolkien, including the  famous ’Times Obituary’ by C S Lewis.. X(

In his Foreword to FOTR, Tolkien, in opposing the idea that LOTR was in any way allegorical, comments specifically:

’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 essentially along the same lines , if that disaster had been averted. Its sources are things long before in my mind, or in some cases already written, and little or nothing was modified by the war that began in 1939 or its sequels.

The real war does not resemble the legendary war in its process or its conclusion.’

Nan. C.L. Scott and her husband twice visited Tolkien at his Sandfield Road house in Oxford in the Spring of 1966.

In talking of Tolkien and allegory she recounts:

’Even more limiting than religious allegory, a narrow political interpretation of literature was his special detestation; and he spoke with scorn of the critics who had tried to reduce the War of the Rings to an analog of World War 11 with Hitler as Sauron, the Dark Lord.

"Hitler wasn’t big enough! He wasn’t important enough!" he told us, which was , perhapa, to say that Hitler was not mythic; for even Tolkien’s most lifelike and individualized characters  are larger than life as well and possess a mythic dimension that extends beyond one, age, one era, one war. {Nan C.L.Scott- Tolkien-Hobbit and Wizard- article in Eglerio-In Praise of Tolkien}.

Tolkien’s comments here compare well with his comments in Letter # 45, written to his son Michael in 1941 when he says:

’that ruddy little  ignoramus Adolf Hitler’

and Letter # 81 to CT written in 1944:

’We knew that Hitler was a vulgar and ignorant little cad.."

Indeed, as Ms. Scott says:

’Hitler was not mythic’.X(

 

 

 

 

 

 

Endril 11/Apr/2006 at 11:30 AM
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I agree you Halfir, Hitler wasn’t big enough so Tolkien would inspire from his personality in his works or in creating Sauron. Hitler doesn’t matches Sauron as the last is the perfect image of the high lord of evil. Hitler made a lot of mistakes in his strategyes, Sauron must be the best image of a warrior evil mind.
Feliath Dunami 11/Apr/2006 at 11:47 AM
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Shows why one should always read the foreword...

Very interesting, halfir- I just wanted to add that, besides the points you mentioned, the motives of Hitler and Sauron were different as well. I don’t believe Sauron was trying to eliminate "inferior races" as was Hitler, nor did Sauron believe in one "perfect race". In addition, Hitler came in to power by pretending to want what was best for Germany, saying that he would help bring her out of the severe economic crisis which she was still in after the end of WWI. Sauron, if I’m not mistaken, never tried to mask his true colors- from the time he started to strengthen himself again in Barad-Dur it was probably evident what his intentions were. So again, more differences between the two.

Plus, the fact that The Shadow of the Past was written before Hitlers rise to power pretty much removes that theory from the drawing board... and if anyone knows anything about WWII they would know that it was nothing like the War of the Ring.

*ends long ramble*

Yet another great topic from a great loremaster!
Master of Doom 11/Apr/2006 at 02:12 PM
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Certainly Sauron was bigger than Hitler.  Hitler was powerful, no doubt, but he was still just a man.  Sauron was a maia, akin to the gods.  There really can be no comparison. 

Also, as Feliath pointed out, once you get past the fact that they were both dictators, there really is not too much that is similar about them.  In fact, they are quite different.

Geirve 11/Apr/2006 at 02:51 PM
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Very interesting, Halfir, and thanks to Georgie for inspiring yet another fascinating topic. It’s almost midnight where I live, so just a quick note.

Feliath, as far as ’wanting what was best’ goes, Sauron and Hitler were not that different. It seems Sauron initially also wanted ’good’ (according to his understanding of this term, which apparently was not shared by many):

"He [Sauron] had gone the way of all tyrants: beginning well, at least on the level that while desiring to order all things according to his own wisdom he still at first considered the (economic) well-being of other inhabitants of the Earth." (my insertion, The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, #183)

The real difference between Sauron and Hitler is stated further in this quote:

"But he went further than human tyrants in pride and the lust for domination, being in origin an immortal (angelic) spirit" (ibid)

Sauron was a fallen immortal spirit, and, what’s more, Sauron proclaimed himself to be god and demanded worship. And, as Tolkien said:

"Of course in ’real life’ causes are not clear cut — if only because human tyrants are seldom utterly corrupted into pure manifestations of evil will." (ibid)

PS Halfir, you mentioned once in passing that the reading of "Osanwe-kenta" made you more sympathetic to my stand on Sauron’s motives and moral state in II Age. Would you like to discuss it here, or do you think it would derail the thread too much (after all, it has nothing to do with Hitler)?
halfir 11/Apr/2006 at 03:02 PM
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Geir: I think it deserves a thread in its own right as it is an important topic.X(
Gerontian 11/Apr/2006 at 04:28 PM
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I am always surprised when I read statements by those who claimed that LOTR was an allegory of WWII.  It has never once struck me that way. To my mind, there was nothing mythic, epic or heroic about the rise of facism and national socialism in Germany, save in the propoganda. To compare Hitler with Sauron only gives me a chuckle, and I just cannot see it. I cannot imagine Sauron holding immense rallies in front of cheering orcs, ranting and raving about his superiority and the superiority of the orcish race, nor having once been a corporal, a jailed revolutionary and a failed artist.  Where did critics find such ideas? Sauron was of mythic proportions, and so was the evil he engendered in the story. Hitler was a catastrophe and a megalomaniac, but as Geir points out, far short of a fallen, immortal spirit.
Dis 11/Apr/2006 at 04:42 PM
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There is also something about the mythic that does not dwell on the true horrors that humans in the real world can be capable of. I’m quite thankful for that. The mythic can lift the spirit whereas thinking on the horrors that Hitler and his ilk have dreamed up sickens the heart.

Sauron was created by Tolkien to represent evil at it’s most powerful, but the focus of LoTR was the heroism of the apparently small and insignificant individual.

Mayu 11/Apr/2006 at 04:58 PM
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I appreciate the points being made here, however, I do not think that comparing anything to Hitler or the Nazi’s should ever be taken lightly. Indeed, I am not at all sure that this is a subject which should be discussed. No-one here, I can only imagine, is old enough to have lived through the horrors Hitler perpetrated. Despite how much we read of it and know of it we can never truly understand the true evil of it all. To even consider such real life events in the same way as a work of fiction, which however great that is what Tolkien’s work is, I find rather inappropriate. How can one even ask the question: Who is more evil Sauron or Hitler? Without question it is Hitler because he was real. The unimaginable suffering he and the Nazis caused millions of people all over the world in WWII is without parallell. Maybe I misunderstand the point of this thread, and I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but I find some of the statements in this thread rather distrubing.
halfir 11/Apr/2006 at 05:34 PM
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No-one here, I can only imagine, is old enough to have lived through the horrors Hitler perpetrated.

Xiayou: I was born in 1942 and while only a child  during the main period of WW2 was well aware of what it meant to my family and others. I recall that we had evacuees staying at our house in the country, I remember being put in a cupboard under the stairs, and also being rushed out to the bunker in our garden during air raids. I remember  my mother’s friend in a neighboring street who was mixing a cake when a bomb fell and the mixing spoon was blasted down her throat. I remember the tragedy of a shell-shocked ex-officer who latterly lived nearby and to whom we as children were so cruel because we thought him crazy- we had no comprehension of what he had endured.  I remember bombs exploding in the fields opposite our house, and and most of all I remember the face of my mother when she learned, after the end of the war, that her twin sister  had been murdered by the Nazi’s in Ravensbruck.

So I have every right to talk about WW2 and Hitler, and I see nothing at all wrong with this thread which simply discusses the erroneous view that some critics have held in comparing Hitler to Sauron , or claiming that Tolkien intended Sauron to be a mirror-image of Hitler.

As to comparing ficitonal and non-fictional evil, in some ways people are able to comprehend the evil portrayed in fiction more than that in RL - as T S Eliot so appositely said: ’Humankind cannot bear too much reality’!

 

greypigeon 11/Apr/2006 at 09:14 PM
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No one here, I can only imagine, is old enough to have lived through the horrors Hitler perpetrated.

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  Santayana I believe?

Perhaps few of us lived through that time but some of us know people who were affected.  Mrs. Leitgeb, (A woman I befriended at a nursing home I worked at) believed that the further it got from those times the less people would want to talk about it in a need to forget and that in itself was dangerous.

Sauron,  thankfully he is fiction we can close the book and he is over when we are done reading, his doctrine cannot be preached by mislead individuals. However evil no man in history (IMHO) hits the Mythic mark. I can see that the war of the ring does not in fact represent WW2 it’s something on a different level. The war of the rings is over a deeper and much darker evil that began brooding centuries upon centuries before in the times written about in the Silmarillion didn’t it?

Morwien 11/Apr/2006 at 09:23 PM
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i agree that hitler wasnt big enough for sauron. plus one must consiter their goals

Hitler- he was out to destroy the ’lesser’ races (especially the jews) - he was trying to expand germanys borders to make space for his ’master race’ the arayans-

Sauron- he wants to take over middle earth- he wants to be worshiped as a god, having all as his subjects- he wasnt all for once race of beings- he had many  servants and hardly favors his most numerable servants the orks-

very differnt people and goals...

Mayu 12/Apr/2006 at 05:08 PM
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Everyone has a right to talk about anything, all I meant was that some, not everyone and not anyone in particular, people when they discuss issues like this take it all to lightly, that I object to.

I don’t understand, are people here discussing the views some people have had in comparing Hitler to Sauron? Or are they discussing that issue itself? There is a huge conceptual difference between these discussions.  I don’t see any problem either in discussing the views of critics on this issue. What I do see a problem with, and have seen in some posts in this thread, is people actually comparing Hitler to Sauron. I don’t see how that’s healpful at all. Commenting on how wrong other people have been in the past in saying this, I would agree with too.

halfir 12/Apr/2006 at 05:46 PM
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Xiayou: I have reread all the posts on this topic- which is the erroneous comparison of Sauron with Hitler by some critics and the only person who appears to be confused by the issue is you. Everyone else is quite clear that they agree with Tolkien’s dismissal of such a comparison and several have given reasons why. I fail to understand why you seem to have a totally different take to others on this subject:

I don’t understand, are people here discussing the views some people have had in comparing Hitler to Sauron? Or are they discussing that issue itself?

We are all discussing the former and giving reasons why we disagree with it.

Oin 13/Apr/2006 at 06:49 PM
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I do not fully agree with the participants of this thread - certiainly upon actually reading the books and knowing the history of the Second World War one realises that Hitler cannot be Sauron, but I do believe that Tolkien is wrong in his estimation of the importance of Hitler.

Tolkien fails to give Hitler credit where he is due - both Hitler and Sauron attempted to create a religion based on their beliefs (Sauron’s belief that he was God - Hitler’s Nazis were a pseudo-cult based on the major Nazi themes). Hitler also was far more important than some "ignorant little cad". He was the greatest orator of the 20th century (yes, even surpassing Churchill, if not by much), and he achieved what few others in history could accomplish - turning a destitute, hopeless nation into the greatest military power that history had seen up to that point. He was responsible for the dawn of the Atomic Age, though indirectly - and he was certainly the main cause of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain. He made (through his declaration of war on the United States) the US a superpower. He did not live long enough nor achieve enough in his lifetime to be described as a mythic character - but then again, we do not live in an age of mythic heroes anymore. There is no Middle-Earth in Earth anymore - no Saurons, no Elessars, no Elendils - just history’s judge of a man. Tolkien is right that Hitler was not mythic, but he doesn’t allow for the fact that there are little or no modern day myths. If anything, however, Hitler has in the past 60 years come close to mythic status - he has become the "boogey man" of today . In that sense he has attained a sort of legendary status amongst present day people.

While now I am far wiser than I was when I believed that the War of the Ring was an allegory for something else - but it is easy to see why others could make the same mistake and think that Hitler was Sauron, especially with a modern-day view being projected upon a mythos such as Tolkien’s.

Earlendil 13/Apr/2006 at 07:11 PM
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Young though i am, being an English major has allowed me to dabble in WWII history, and i can safely say that I doubt anyone who lived through a war that killed an estimated 60 million people should want to dedicate their life’s work to remembering it. Any similarities that can be drawn between Sauron and Hitler can just as easily be abolished by their contrasts. Those of you out there who know a little history will know exactly the sort of thing i’m talking about, but i will not utter the words here. The main point remains thus: Sauron is mithical and so far from any earthly creature of the real world that its no large wonder to me that this subject sparked such animosity in Tolkien. Afterall, if he had rooted Saurons charicter in hitler, every time he wrote the name Sauron or consiquently even thought of him, he would have had a picture of hitler spring into his conciousness. Whom in their right mind would want a thing like that? & Tolkien wasn’t crazy!
halfir 13/Apr/2006 at 08:49 PM
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Oin: I think you need to attend a course on ’Cause and effect’ for much of what you have stated as resulting from his existence  was in no  way the purposed intention of Adolf Hitler.X(
Moros 13/Apr/2006 at 09:11 PM
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Just to add something to what Oin has said, since it came to me while reading his post - Sauron was/is a Maia, and therefore has an unquestionably long lifespan. Hitler, as we well know, was a man - a human being - with a limited and very short life compared to Sauron. What does that have to do with anything? Well, consider how much Sauron could have done had he had the same lifespan as Hitler. Not very much. He wouldn’t have even been able to build Barad-dûr in that timespan. Hitler was really able to do a lot with the time given to him.

All told, however, I still do not think that Hilter is on the same level as Sauron for the same reason as I said above (and that which Tolkien points out as well). Sauron is a Maia - a mythical, god-like being - and is far greater than any Man. Hitler, as great as the Nazi’s thought him, was no god. He was a man, like everyone else on Earth.

Asha Greyjoy 13/Apr/2006 at 09:14 PM
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Earlendil--On the contrary, a great many dedicate their lives to the memory of World War II--to the memory of the circumstances that created it, to the memory of the war itself, to the memory of its consequences--to prevent anything similar from occuring in the future.

One of the most well known phrases associated with the memory of the Shoah, or the Holocaust is ’Never Forget
Earlendil 14/Apr/2006 at 07:55 AM
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I take your meaning Firerose Arien. Please do not suppose that i meant to give offense in any way, i simply meant that i do not believe Tolkien dedicated his work for the purpose of remembering WWII. I have a great respect for history and do not wish any to forget the atrocities of WWII. You are correct indeed, for i sould know nothing of the war if others had not taken pains to write their experiences down. I well understand that if nations are to prosper in the future they must first learn from the past. Please allow me to state that I am mortified if anyone took offense to my statment above!
Region 14/Apr/2006 at 08:39 AM
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I think something can be said for and against both sides.

I agree with Oin when he states that Hitler was more important than an ignorant little cad. Hitler was undoubtedly a great orator and had an almost obsessive eye for detail in such matter. An example is that he was always accompanied by two bodyguards, carefully chosen to make sure they weren’t taller than him.
As halfir said there are also some flaws in your reasoning, Oin. 
turning a destitute, hopeless nation into the greatest military power that history had seen up to that point

It was exactly the fac tthat people were hopeless that drove them into Hitler’s arms. His powerful politics would appeal to the people, especially after the economic breakdown. Also, the Prussians were a greater military power than Hitler during his period of war economy.
You also stated that Hitler was the cause of the Cold War: that can be debated. Some historians say the Cold War is a consequence of WWII, because the Sovjets took liberated regions for their own.
Other historians say that the Cold War goes back to the year 1918 with the civil war. Therefore we cannot say Hitler was the direct cause of the Cold War.

On the other hand there are some similarities between those two such as the "Fuhrer" principle, the lies and deceit with which they won their troops (or the people) for them. Another point that we mustn’t forget is that Sauron himself is part of the cause and consequence script, having been Morgoth’s Lieutenant.

Taking all these things into account I do not believe Tolkien ever had the intention of creating a Hitler in his books. There are quite some factors we cannot compare as well (economic downfall in ME? Didn’t think so). Calling Hitler an ignorant little cad however is a very debatable quote and a very ambiguous one to say the least!

geordie 14/Apr/2006 at 09:15 AM
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Calling Hitler an ignorant little cad however is a very debatable quote and a very ambiguous one to say the least!

Not if you read the context of the letter! Clearly, hafir was quoting this line in order to help make his point, and it was successful, IMO. But if one is going to take this quote and use it in a different context - might it not be better to look at the whole letter?

Tolkien was writing about how there are vulgar and ignorant little cads in this country, too - and how someone in a newspaper article had said that the entire German nation should be exerminated because they were rattlesnakes. Tolkien asks ’what about the writer?’ [of the article].
There are other points, too.

With respect - I think it’s probably best to dig out your own copy of the Letters and have a read, before calling anything Tolkien says ’ambiguous’.


Region 14/Apr/2006 at 10:33 AM
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geordie: I have read Letter 81 and, as you said, Tolkien displays his characteristic wisdom by showing the absolutes in which some people deal. It is certainly not my habit to call anything Tolkien says ambiguous but I still feel that especially calling Hitler ignorant is quite extreme.  (although it certainly helped proving halfir’s point!)
geordie 14/Apr/2006 at 11:19 AM
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Ah. Well, what reason do you have for calling what Tolkien says ’ambiguous’ and ’extreme’? I think we must take into consideration the fact that we have the advantage of hindsight regarding Hitler; in this letter [and in the other which halfir quoted] Tolkien was writing during wartime to two of his sons, on topics which were current, and urgent.

Tolkien uses his words carefully; even when merely writing letters to his loved ones in danger [!] . I feel the words ’ignoramus’ and ignorant’ are descriptions of how he actually felt about Hitler. And these are, in Tolkien’s hands, words of the highest condemnation. Tolkien writes [in letter 45]

’I have spent most of my life... studying Germanic matters... There is more force [and truth] than people realise in the ’Germanic’ ideal... You have to understand the good in things to detect the real evil...

I have in this war a burning private grudge against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler [for the odd thing about demonic inspiration and impetus is that it in no way enhances the purely intellectual stature; it chiefly affects the mere will]. Ruining, perverting, misapplying and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit... which I have ever loved’...


In this letter and elsewhere, Tolkien is showing his professional understanding of Hitler and his followers - those Nazis who appealed to the masses by using false claims about the ’Nordic’ [= ’Aryan’] ideals. Compared to Tolkien’s knowledge of the histories of the Germanic peoples, Hitler and his gang of thugs were indeed ignorant. Note also what he says about ’demonic inspiration’ - which sums up his attitude to Hitler’s ’oratory’.

This is also evident in Tolkien’s letter no.29, where he refers to the ’wholly pernicious and unscientific race-doctrine’ which had by 1938, affected all areas of German life. In Tolkien’s hands, the word ’Unscientific’ is almost as condemnatory as ’Pernicious’. Tolkien regarded his profession [philology] as a science, and himself as being of scientific bent.

So to sum up - I feel that, before we label Tolkien’s words as ’ambiguous’ and/or ’extreme’, it might be best to consider his words in the context in which they are used; in the time and place that they were written, and in respect of those who Tolkien was writing to.
[or should that be ’to whom Tolkien was writing? Meh.. grammar was never my strong point].

Oin 14/Apr/2006 at 11:58 AM
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halfir: I fully acknowledge that Hitler did not want most of the results of his reign to occur - certainly most of what I stated was not his desired effect. However, Tolkien speaks of the importance of Hitler, not of what Hitler desired to achieve or the unintended consequences of his existence. And that is where I feel the Master is wrong - Hitler was an important person, however despicable he may be, and regardless of what he wanted his effect to be, his existence had far-ranging effects that are still felt today.

Dark Link: That may be so - but that is where the debate of historians and not Tolkien fans come in. Ignoring the historic details that can be argued over, my point was essentially that it is not unreasonable for readers of the present day to mistake Hitler for Sauron. Most people haven’t read Letters, and although more have read the Sil, those who have only seen the movies and then read the books would have a hard time understanding what Sauron actually was.

geordie 14/Apr/2006 at 01:18 PM
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those who have only seen the movies and then read the books would have a hard time understanding what Sauron actually was.

Seems to me that those who’ve only seen the movies have a lot to _unlearn_ before they get to read the books.

And those who have only seen the movies and have _not_ read the books would have a hard time understanding _anything_!

halfir 14/Apr/2006 at 03:22 PM
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OIN: I think geordie’s point about the moment in time and the context in which Tolkien was  writing are critical to an understanding of the comments he made on Hitler which geordie explained so helpfully. History gives us ’twenty twenty vision’ to a degree, when you are in the midst of a war the context is somewhat different to a perspective drawn from many years after.
jrmhaldir 14/Apr/2006 at 04:13 PM
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Hitler was not sane, some would say, he honestly thought that it was the Jews (and some other races) fault that Germany had fallen during WW1 and that the reason why there was no money around was because all the Jews (and other races) had it all. I think that Hitler’s actions were based off a jealous and rasicm mind set. Sauron on the other hand wasn’t jealous nor was he of a rasicm mind set. He just wanted to rule the world. I think a better portrayer of Sauron would be Napolean or Alexandra the Great or some like that. Hitler was just sick minded. Sauron was like the best bad guy ever. I don’t think this really makes awhole lot of sense but that’s my two extra points and my thought on that matter.
Oin 14/Apr/2006 at 06:00 PM
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halfir: That is true, and I see I was in error regarding the statements he made during the War. However, I still contest his statements from 1966, though I suppose ultimately it makes little difference as Tolkien’s view of him seems to have remained the same from the time of the War to his statements more than two decades later.
halfir 14/Apr/2006 at 07:29 PM
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X( 
Region 15/Apr/2006 at 02:58 AM
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geordie: thank you for your explanation. I could see "annoying and "little" coming and now finally I see where "ignorant" comes in!
avantika 18/Apr/2006 at 09:41 AM
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Sauron did try to hide his motives when dealing with Celebrimbor and the smiths of Eregion. But certainly Hitler hasn’t the power to be a Dark Lord.

I don’t see the similarity. Hitler was overthrown by military force and committed suicide, Sauron was destroyed by a pair of little hobbits and a weird Gollum-creature in a volcano.

Bearamir 19/Apr/2006 at 12:36 PM
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Ladies & Gentlemen:  This thread has been nominated for move to Ad Lore.  Given that this thread is excellent, with your kind permission I am going to do so.  

For everyone else who may wish to contribute:  a small reminder is in order:  once this thread moves to Ad Lore, there will be some expectations as to the quality of the posts.  So, moving forward, please remember that Ad Lore is for the in depth discussion of topics pertaining to the Lord of the Rings, and try to avoid extraneous chat.   From this point on, I *will* be deleting posts that do no serve to advance the topic, or add materially to the discussion.

Best of Luck (and congratulations once again).

Kirinki54 19/Apr/2006 at 03:03 PM
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Halfir quoted:

 

’Even more limiting than religious allegory, a narrow political interpretation of literature was his special detestation; and he spoke with scorn of the critics who had tried to reduce the War of the Rings to an analog of World War 11 with Hitler as Sauron, the Dark Lord.

 

"Hitler wasn’t big enough! He wasn’t important enough!" he told us, which was, perhaps, to say that Hitler was not mythic; for even Tolkien’s most lifelike and individualized characters  are larger than life as well and possess a mythic dimension that extends beyond one, age, one era, one war. {Nan C.L.Scott- Tolkien-Hobbit and Wizard- article in Eglerio-In Praise of Tolkien}.

 

and

 

Letter # 45, written to his son Michael in 1941 when he says:

’that ruddy little  ignoramus Adolf Hitler’

 

and Letter # 81 to CT written in 1944:

’We knew that Hitler was a vulgar and ignorant little cad.."

 

It seems to me that while Tolkien´s views on Hitler during the war were certainly very spiteful and distinct on his little stature, there might still be a contradiction to Tolkien´s later assessment. Why should that surprise us? We all function this way, and more than 20 years of processing prior events ought to change our views to some extent. In the midst of the dramatic events, Tolkien might actually have viewed the war – and Hitler – in a mythic light.

 

However it is, humans being what they are, quite inevitable, and the only cure (short of universal Conversion) is not to have wars – nor planning, nor organization, nor regimentation. Your service is, of course, as anybody with any intelligence and ears and eyes knows, a very bad one, living on the repute of a few gallant men, and you are probably in a particularly bad comer of it. But all Big Things planned in a big way feel like that to the toad under the harrow, though on a general view they do function and do their job. An ultimately evil job. For we are attempting to conquer Sauron with the Ring. (My emphasis – Kirinki) And we shall (it seems) succeed. But the penalty is, as you will know, to breed new Saurons, and slowly turn Men and Elves into Orcs. Not that in real life things are as clear cut as in a story, and we started out with a great many Orcs on our side. .... Well, there you are: a hobbit amongst the Urukhai. Keep up your hobbitry in heart, and think that all stories feel like that when you are in them. You are inside a very great story! I think also that you are suffering from suppressed ’writing’. That may be my fault. You have had rather too much of me and my peculiar mode of thought and reaction. And as we are so akin it has proved rather powerful. Possibly inhibited you. I think if you could begin to write, and find your own mode, or even (for a start) imitate mine, you would find it a great relief. I sense amongst all your pains (some merely physical) the desire to express your feeling about good, evil, fair, foul in some way: to rationalize it, and prevent it just festering. In my case it generated Morgoth and the History of the Gnomes. (66 From a letter to Christopher Tolkien 6 May 1944 (FS 22) - excerpt)

 

This does not likely mean that Tolkien ever compared Hitler to Sauron in a real or even allegorical sense, but he might have found the situation ‘applicable’ enough to have a mythic representation. Hitler might have been a petty and distorted human at heart, but he served the purpose of further fouling the souls of Mankind; accentuating the ‘Orcish’ side on both sides in the war. Still, Hitler remained a vulgar, uneducated, ignorant and extremely prejudiced person, and thus doubly worth of scorn. No wonder that, as dust layered on the ashes of Hitler´s aspirations, his smallness became all the more apparent and his petty motives were gradually removed of all mythic applicability. Certainly he was but one of a long line of human dictators, even though his times allowed him to unleash a war of Machines. Hence, any comparison to Sauron would be ridiculous.

 

manwe1 19/Apr/2006 at 06:29 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
I kind of agree. I agree that hitler wasn’t ... big ....enough for him to be seen as sauron. But I don’t believe that World War 2 didn’t have an effect on the books. The past will always influence the future. Hitler may not be sauron, but Mordor could easily be germany. After all, anyone who studies history should know that Germany should have won the war. The fact is that Hitler, while a gifted speaker, was not a tactician, and he ignored the advice of his tactical advisors. That being said, Germany had the ability to win the war, but Hitler made some key mistakes. Mordor should have won the war, and would have, if Sauron had forseen the possible destruction of the ring as a goal for the free peoples, rather than believe that they will use it against him.
Lord Illidan 26/Apr/2006 at 09:16 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by manwe1 on Wednesday, April 19, 2006
I kind of agree. I agree that hitler wasn’t ... big ....enough for him to be seen as sauron. But I don’t believe that World War 2 didn’t have an effect on the books. The past will always influence the future. Hitler may not be sauron, but Mordor could easily be germany. After all, anyone who studies history should know that Germany should have won the war. The fact is that Hitler, while a gifted speaker, was not a tactician, and he ignored the advice of his tactical advisors. That being said, Germany had the ability to win the war, but Hitler made some key mistakes. Mordor should have won the war, and would have, if Sauron had forseen the possible destruction of the ring as a goal for the free peoples, rather than believe that they will use it against him.


You have a few points there.. Hitler was a gifted speaker. So was Sauron, for he brought about Numenor’s destruction by the power of his speech. In a way, so was Saruman.

If I had to compare villians, I would say that Saruman most resembles Hitler. He was a gifted speaker, viewed Hobbits as an inferior race, and sought to enslave them.

Hitler had many of his advisers plotting to kill him. Wormtongue also tried to kill Saruman many times, and finally succeeded.

Of course, there are some places where the comparison goes awry...like Saruman’s desire for the One Ring.
manwe1 26/Apr/2006 at 02:13 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
Many of his key advisors were plotting to kill him after they realized that he was completely insane, executed on a whim, and decided he knew more about military strategy than his generals
KitsuneInuYasha 08/May/2006 at 05:55 AM
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Quote: Originally posted by Master of Doom on Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Certainly Sauron was bigger than Hitler. Hitler was powerful, no doubt, but he was still just a man. Sauron was a maia, akin to the gods. There really can be no comparison.

Also, as Feliath pointed out, once you get past the fact that they were both dictators, there really is not too much that is similar about them. In fact, they are quite different.




Hitlers power also stemmed from a different thing. Hitler gained his power by setting blame on the jewish population for everything that had gone wrong, as well as the homosexuals, transvestites, and jsut about everyone else that he didn’t like. A lot of Germans rallied around him, and as a result he gained support. They liked the idea that the state Germany was in wasn’t their fault, and that he could lead them to be the biggest, most powerful country in the world.

And yet, in the end, when things went wrong, he shot himself.
Crysstal 09/May/2006 at 08:16 AM
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i would totally agree with you, KitsunelnuYasha,, Maybe he was being controlled by an evil force. I guy had  such a low self esteem he had to feel in control but he wasnt even in control of himself.  Then he didnt even get distroyed totally..  He killed himself like a coward..  
manwe1 10/May/2006 at 01:27 AM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1462 Posts: 1653 Joined: 23/Mar/2003
Hitler was a great politician, He rose as a leader for germany in troubled times. He gave the german people a focus for their anger. Hitler ruled through his rehtoric, unlike many tyrants, such as stalin,or in LOTR, Sauron who ruled through fear. Like Mordor, Germany should have won the war. Hitler made 3 key mistakes. 1. breaking the non agression pact with russia when he did. 2. Not listening to his military advisors. 3.allowing japan to attack the US, which led to US involvement in the war.
Sauron likewise made key mistakes in his war. 1. He attacked before he was ready. 2. he didn’t think anyone would destroy the ring.

Although there are similarities between the two leaders, and a great many similarities between germany and Mordor, Hitler is unlike Sauron in many ways. He didn’t have saurons power. also, Germany couldn’t win against the world, although it held out for quite a while, Mordor easily could have beaten the unified armies of Gondor, Rohan, Dwarves, and Elves. Had the ring not been destroyed.
Mírdain 14/May/2006 at 07:31 AM
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Halfir: I guess that Tolkien had made Sauron with basic things of hitler but perfictionised him. He was within WWI and want to tell his thinking of war. you nust see orc’s as germans ( sorry for German members Don’t attracht plz) and haradrim as Jappanese. he just made his first tale in WWI barracks. he also tells in his letters that he came on the idea to write the story on basics of WWI and WW2.

Manwe1: I agree with u he shurley made mistakes but sauron also didn’t set his army at mordor and secure mount doom.

Shiraz 09/Jul/2006 at 02:20 AM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 679 Posts: 337 Joined: 06/Jul/2006
As has been stated tlotr was meant to enlighten the heart and strengthen the will after hearing the tale of heroic deeds and the people who achieved them. WWII Does possess this element. We often(though in my belief not often enough) hear of epic feats of  courage from the most humble of people. There are a lot of similarities between the two. Sauron wanted to stretch the realm of Mordor to cover all of ME as Hitler did with Germany. Sauron wished to be a god. Hitler wished to be the leader of a perfect race.
Lord_Vidύm 09/Jul/2006 at 07:46 AM
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Why should Sauron be inspired of Hitler? Hitler came up with the idea that German Tribe was over all the others, while Sauron thought that HE was over all the others, and he never cared for his people. Germany came with Imperialistic idea of: One World-German... Sauron came up with: One World- Sauron.

However there came a lot from our history to the world of ME. During the WW II you needed to be a great hero, and fight for your freedom- Something Gondor and its people did during the war of the Ring. Tolkien was a soldier in WW2, he FOR SURE had taken something from it. But i dont think that Sauron was the Allegory of Hitler... Sauron didnt come up with ethnicistic ideas, Sauron could be the allegory of the "King-sent-by-god" monarchy, that came to be during the Midieval ages, for he thought he was coming/and finally became Morgoth, and Morgoth was the God (As he said to Ar Pharazon when he deceived him).
This comes from HoME i have but I am sure this is a part of Silmarillion:
"Ar Pharazon was impressed of Sauron’s words and asked him who was the Lord who lived in the Darkness. Then Sauron answered that he was the one whose name was restricted to be called by the Valar, the one who can make the Numenorian higher than the Valar: Melkor."
This shows that Sauron’s true God was Melkor, and he was the holdover of his...So a "sent by god king"

Narthin Alarion 10/Jul/2006 at 09:04 PM
Banned Points: 440 Posts: 1148 Joined: 07/Jul/2006
i fhitler was a 6000ft tall japaneetse transformer he would stillnot be big enough to be much more than a goblin h was just not cool enough
Eámanë N. 11/Jul/2006 at 12:12 AM
Scribe of Erebor Points: 331 Posts: 41 Joined: 06/Jul/2006
Not cool enough!
He wasn’t cool at all!

But, yeah, Hitler was pure at heart, as was Sauron...though I do not believe he was the inspiration...besides we have proof, so it doesn’t matter what we think.
Lupul Alb 11/Jul/2006 at 01:13 AM
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I must agree with Oin from Mordor. There are some similarities if you may listen to them. Hitler was in the EAST (from England). Take his horrifing Luftwaffe as the Nazgul’s winged creatures. do you know how the Stuka dive bombers attack? With powerfull sirens that paralised the enemy on ground. See any ressemblance? What was the most important ally of Sauron in the Battle of the Pellenor fields? The men! Did Hitler had some allies? Yap! And how about Italy who was SOUTH of Germany? Can you picture it like the corsairs from the south? Sauron had some powers, Hitler to! The powerfull hypnothic speech (did you know that Hitler studdied the art of speechcraft with a german hypnothist...  I don’t remeber his name now. Can you also take the powerfull and omnipresent Gestapo as the eye of Sauron? And the way the Trolls and enter in Minas Tirith can you take that as a Blitzkrieg? Nazguls-Luftwaffe, Trols-Panzers and Orcs-Infantry? And how about the pathetic scene when the human army is surrounded in front of the Black Gate and the Nazgul attack. "The eagles are coming!" says one of the caracters... Could be that the EAGLES could represent  the americans?
Rohanya 11/Jul/2006 at 01:49 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
Eamane N, it would be more useful to follow the tendency of all Advanced Lore posts to develop, sharpen, and crystallize insights, re ideas. That is what Advanced is all about, and so it is best, in the long run to respond on the same level of scholarship.

(It is metaphysically necessary to assume that somebody outside, unknown is always looking in, finding. No, Earmane will, looking at the bottom of my thread probably not get this far into mine, already long for him or her, yet one has to believe in him or her, and continue on, and also while knowing that many great minds come here to read, yet chose to stay out, never once responding to a particular thread, and yet while playing the same things we do with our own eyes...inner worlds, and everything else)

That said, I always believed the little voice, is a pure note, warbling up beautifully, naturally, sanely, allowing us to widen the experience.

Pure evil at heart? I guess what people mean by this is something like the following -- ruddy. The English, Professor Tolkien as well, up in his description of the man as a ruddly little ignoramous, does too. Ruddy, now what does it mean? Not having a dictionary with me (at the moment), I can only use my imagination.

Which is correct on its own level, so ruddy here as I take it is some form of red (the colour of passion). Now there is nothing wrong with passion; no not at all! Fine, move then on the to the next step, and you have to reassemble that intuition with little in mind. I end up therefore with ’little passion.’ Add on ’ignoramous,’ the third step, and what? Again, a new datum.

Only idiots accept a life, both within themselves and what they give to others, to society, to the world as an event worth living with as little passion as that.

Finally, any statement is a totality.

I have in this war a burning private grudge against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler [for the odd thing about demonic inspiration and impetus is that it in no way enhances the purely intellectual stature; it chiefly affects the mere will]. Ruining, perverting, misapplying and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit... which I have ever loved’... (Wink to Source Guru, geordie, of Equal Ego, just better hidden. Laugh. Cheers, Mate!)

What then does the third datum from above mean, at least in context with this burning private grudge part, which is as far as I want to get into the matter at this juncture?

It meant, I suggest, that while working at the books, an event already begun, prior to WWII, he could, while the thing was occurring, and everybody wise to the evil, of Hitler, channel that ’private grudge’ of his into his work. Meaning, that his became even more passionate as a result. Myth, a pouring out of passion, on one level, which is that of invoking, channeling, etc.

Private Grudge? Well, here I can only utilize, I think sagely, some word I have never gone into. What is a grudge? It is no word-culture item that I am familiar with in my Canadian upbringing. Sure, used, but not I think part of what the average folk opines. Whenever in this sort of situation, the best you can do is define the concept in terms that satisfy your need for beauty, are perfectly true, in their simplicity, and connect with the world, and with the larger truths.

Grudge I should like to think of as illusive in nature. Why? My need for beauty, partly personal but also, I can now at least argue, that the hold against portion is in fact a reverse movement, allowing the best of you to shine out; this holding

can be experienced on different planes of existence. That surely is the world, and Professor Tolkien knew this completely in seeing the vast dimensions of myth, how potent they can be, how entrancing, how life affirming, how at harmony with its own inner galaxy, and yes, even the myth of a General Grudge, so to speak, Sauron and or Melkor some how at odds with itself was an illusion.

Great Myth plays the deepest, most profound games possible. It is also a General, moving the troops. Hitler, dead and gone, we need not burden with ourselves in another spiritually relevant sense, as far as I can, within the individual soul, goldfish bowl of happy science, homeful...or whatever.

That Private of Myth?

Nah, street sense of Canada. Not my problem, Jack.

Finally, as Rohanya waxes element (utilizing the Middle-Eastern portion of my self, pretty neat!), Professor Tolkien used the word private in its other sense. So meaning within him, not, I suppose, evident to the world.

Is that not what private means? However, note how symbol externalizes itself on route. Always does, always will. General Tolkien, Private Hitler. That would speak, I suggest, of a mythic war going on within ourselves, this inability to reconcile the Germanic-English portions of our soul.

Professor Tolkien probably deserves just as much credit for attempting to do so. Call it what you will, or just some crappy old spiritual notion (group souls, and their components, and yes how they respond to each other), the War would have symbolized the underlying forces. Again, symbols act that way in history, or so I claim, not the first (Professor Jung, for instance).

Now how does one do that? I suggest for instance by experiencing these two aspects of ourselves, at some primordial level. If not, and here people are just different, not.

Myth, as the fullest event, is a grand carnival, where all the traditions ever known, including, yes, happy old materialism with its mates, tellies, and toothpicks is a coming together of them all, all, that is as experienceable (spelling?) within, and to a surprising degree without.

But more than that, of course, at its heart it is inherently good.

So ruddy this, and ruddy that, I end here with thoughts of Rudyard Kipling,

The robin’s red breast
and the trapping of djinn
in bottles bought popping

are therefore sent over here
to be taken out of the collective mind
a problem, of cosmic importance,
exorcised, as it were

and I think
...and I think, yes, there were
then released in that fun, illusive manner of magic

...which is an innerworld event, or at least not having any greater ambition than being in the end, a right good tale.


by a right good son of a bitch.

Sorry if I offend anybody here with a sort of Canadian parochialism, but there you go, my contribution to the thread.

Finally, if anybody is puzzled while I use the word ’Professor’t Tolkien for the first time, ever (I can assure you I was entranced, startled -- I think this ability to honour people who you love and respect is given more shape via these modes. To seem him, for instance, as Master Tolkien follows an own, inner logic. To speak of his professorial aspect, then, is to butt his Djinn back into some imagined bottle, though real enough.)

Djinn?

(in the sense used by Rudyard Kipling, for instance in Something of Myself -- ’Kim was conceived 1 ’gloomy, windy autumn....I took it to be smoked over with my Father. Under our united tobaccos it grew like the Djinn released from the brass bottle, and the more we explored its possibilities the more opulence of detail did we discover....’

Which, I think is a perfect capturing of the term, Myth, in its grandest sense -- opulence of detail, and of vast, cosmic dimensions, enough to warm up a good English home, solid, on windy autumn of natural power, lurking in the background, normally, pleasingly, and the thing you want to meet, in wonder and delight, the next morning, when you pour out once again your inner passion, simply by sitting down, say, behind a screen, typing out words to people who matter, via confident tappings. But yes, like Djinn, Powers coming in, Powers coming out, and in the natural logic of peaceful, say, British homes with robins being robins, enlivening that quiet lawn, yes, to be enjoyed, savoured.




Datu Kampilan 13/Jul/2006 at 02:42 PM
Trader of Erebor Points: 307 Posts: 178 Joined: 10/Feb/2006
we cannot discount the fact that the wars have no effect or influence of some sort in the story line of JRRT’s LOTR. during his time, there is no evil name than Adolf Hitler’s. and maybe, deep inside every writers and poets and song writers and movie makers in that era. Adolf Hitler could be a model for an evil character. take a look at the movies and novels(not fantasy genre but the general Good against evil story) the evil of terrorism and those of some fanatics with bombs and guns is getting the attention of every literary and media think tanks.  Hitler wasn’t big enough because JRRT made someone even more BIGGER than him.
halfir 13/Jul/2006 at 03:54 PM
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Datu Kampilan:  Hitler wasn’t big enough because JRRT made someone even more BIGGER than him.

Although in the context of this thread and Tolkien’s comments I don’t think that is the reason why the Master used the words he did, you do actually draw attention to a very significant  feature- that perhaps the ’monsters of myth’ are more readily believable than the monsters of reality  because, as T.S. Eliot (a poet not liked by Lewis or Tolkien) so aptly puts it:

Humankind cannot bear very much reality


 

Rohanya 14/Jul/2006 at 03:55 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

Datu, I agree with Lord halfir here. Hitler would be a monster of myth if thought in any way relevant to this particular thread, to the present, to the future. I, for one, am not here to imagine, or exorcise (as it were) some ongoing dance, cosmic with that sordid man. For that would be I think in the Eliot sense a failure to bear reality, which was surely critical.

When we evolve our total perspective, then we can make a historical change, which would, I insist, be simply that of reinterpretation. We would just see people of the past in a more positive sense. Hitler was at least a person; ergo, best dealt with by being seen as part of a group. See the group clearler, and the thing is more on the ball.

Threads can only validate what is best in the moment, what it best among individuals here at the Plaza. They do however expect more from the future. So, yes, can we get this out of our system?

Lord halfir works with texts. Texts are items out there, to be looked at, examined, from outside, almost as historical documents, write-right in the literature manner.

So nobody is talking about that H.

We are just dealing with how all fits in via the outside, light, enjoying-itself-kind (and therefore the world, cosmic, is not wrong) sort of scholarly approach.

Narthin Alarion 14/Jul/2006 at 10:56 AM
Banned Points: 440 Posts: 1148 Joined: 07/Jul/2006

during the latter half of the second age the days of darkness begun, during those days the elves were hunted by saurons minions comaparable to the holcaust this is, say i, who speaks like yoda

Bearamir 30/Jul/2006 at 12:57 PM
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Ladies & Gentlemen:  Please note that I have edited this thread due to some *very* disturbing commentary.   Please keep your commentary germane to the topic...and not to each other’s political views. 

Please remember, the enduring nature of evil is such that evil consequences *can* be the result of those with  the best of intentions.  Hitler’s impact on the world (and his legacy) is a reflection of both those considerations....

...just as Denethor’s actions mirrored the same myopia.

________________________________________

Addendum:  Also edited for some extraneous commentary.  I am sure Thailand is a lovely country, (and the Blarney stone is a fascinating legend) but a discussion of either hardly ads to this discussion)

 

halfir 30/Jul/2006 at 05:02 PM
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I am afraid that I cannot accept that at any point Hitler had the best intentions for anyone but himself. He abolutely fits  Tolkien’s comment that after Sauron no evil daemon will ever be incarnate in the world again  because man himself will provide a sufficiency of evil- Hitler fits that description perfectly. And anyone who seeks to justify the enormity of his crimes against humanity on the grounds that  he and the Third Reich were ’efficient’ is morally defective.
philigers 31/Jul/2006 at 02:13 PM
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I agree with halfir.