In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the stages and characteristics of totalitarianism can be seen throughout the story. The first stage of the forming of a totalitarian government is establishing leadership. After the Revolution is complete almost immediately the pigs take over as the supreme leaders of Animal Farm. All of the animals generally accepted this because the pigs had led the revolution. Right away like in a totalitarian society the pigs looked for a scapegoat. The scapegoat the used was the human race. They blamed all the problems that they have had or will incur are fault of man.
The next step is organization. This can be seen in Animal Farm when Snowball and Napoleon assign certain animals certain jobs around the farm. Then the propaganda starts. Napoleon sends a little pig named Squealer around spreading word to the animals reinforcing the ideas of “Four legs good, two legs bad.” After Snowball leaves Squealer is made the total propaganda leader. He tells all the animals of how horrible and wrong Snowball was. He plants the ideas in the other animals of Snowball’s betrayal.
The last step in the revolutionary stage of totalitarianism is violence. The act of violence can be seen throughout the novel and is most prevalent during the Revolution and The Battle of Cowshed. However all through the novel there are signs of violence. For the most part the inflictors of said violence are the puppies, who can be compared to the KGB of revolutionary Russia.
The next characteristics found in Animal Farm are the consolidation of power. The first step in the consolidation of power is eliminating the opposition. This theme is vividly seen when Napoleon convinces the other animals that Snowball has bad intentions for the farm and the ideas of Animalism. After Snowball comes up with the idea for the Windmill, Napoleon realizes that Snowball could possibly influence the animals more then he and needs to get rid of him. After Snowball’s speech Napoleon releases the dogs on him chasing him out of the farm and tells Snowball never to return.
In order for Napoleon to have a monolithic society he must make sure that no one opposes his beliefs. Any animals disagreeing with his beliefs are taken care of by the dogs. So the animals on the farm decide to conform to all reforms Napoleon makes. Squealer the pig is the main reason why the animals lost trust in Snowball. His spreading of propaganda made it hard for the animals to trust in Snowball even though they knew the truth.
Napoleon is so successful in establishing his control over the farm because he can be seen as an opportunist. For one he does not help out at all during the Revolution. His feelings were why fight when others can do it for you. Later in the story he tells the animals that Snowball was actually the one who didn’t participate in the Revolution. The one thing that Napoleon and the pigs do is learn to read and not teach the other animals to gain advantage. If the other animals couldn’t read or write they would never b smarter then Napoleon and realize how he went against all of their earlier beliefs. Through the uses of propaganda and force Napoleon begins to control the thoughts of the animals.
I think that everyone needs a form of leadership to govern how they act. Even though totalitarianism takes it to the extreme by trying to control people’s thoughts it is a form of government. Napoleon takes advantage of the impressionable animals and pretty much destroys their culture. The puppies that Napoleon raised as his KGB were very pivotal in his rise to power. The dogs would make sure that nobody was following the wrong person. When Napoleon takes over the farm and eventually is the main cause of its ruin shows how no society can be completely led by a corrupt individual.