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Author Topic: General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?  (Read 4350 times)

Offline Hawkbit

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« on: April 15, 2011, 10:51:36 PM »
So the allegory is this, is General Woundwort supposed to represent Adolf Hitler, and Efrafa, the Third Reich?

Adams has stated that yes there are connections to World War 2 in the book, but he did not write it as a direct comparison of any sort of event.  On the contrary, I think we can make a case that Woundwort is supposed to be the Hitler of rabbit-lore.  In Germany, you were required to support the Fuhrer, and the Fatherland regardless of your own personal feelings.  Woundwort requires the same of Efrafans.  If you resist arrest or fail to follow orders, you are killed in both settings.  Hitler had an unfathomable hatred of the Jews who he felt were a threat to German society.  Woundwort had a similar hatred of Hazel's warren because it was a threat to Efrafa's dictatorship and his conquest.  Both Hitler and Woundwort were bent on conquest of neighboring territory to expand.

There are just too many comparisons to think that there isn't a little bit of Hitler in Woundwort.  :yes  

But maybe you guys disagree....what do you think?

Offline Campion1

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2011, 11:22:11 PM »
no, because:

Woundwort would keep prisoners and main them for disobeying, while hitler would just kill them immediately

woundwort didn't have any reason for his actions outside of powerthirst, and he made it clearly obvious to all of the efrafans instead of making stuff up.

woundwort died fighting, hitler killed himself

more reasons but i won't get into anymore in this post

Offline Myrkin

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2011, 10:34:32 AM »
I'm not sure, if we can call Woundwort a rabbit Hitler. There are some similarities, yes, but there are differences too. For one, Woundwort didn't kill or plan to kill many rabbits, who belonged to particular group just because they were members of that group. He didn't order killing masses of rabbit, who were under his power. As for conquest of neighboring territory to expand, he did conquer one warren, but he didn't expand his territory. If he did that, then Efrafa wouldn't have a problem with overpopulation.
"My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today." - Hazel

Pessimist sees a dark tunnel. Optimist sees a light in the tunnel. Realist sees the light of coming train. And the train driver sees three idiots standing on the track.

Offline Hawkbit

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2011, 12:52:21 AM »
A most interesting post came up hours ago on the Watership Down Listserve.  One member, Alex Leech, recently got to visit Richard Adams and he spoke with him about Watership Down and the impact it had on him.

What's most relevant about this conversation is the piece written in bold:

Quote from: Quote:on 
During my Easter excursion to Salisbury, I took a detour at the village of
Whitchurch. And guess whom I met?
It was none other than Richard Adams, the author of Watership Down himself!
 
 At first I was hesitant to knock on his door uninvited but then I thought I
might never get another chance to ever meet him given his old age (he's turning
91 this month), not to mention his declining health. Therefore, I grit my teeth
and knocked on the address given to be by the local librarian. His wife
Elisabeth answered the door; I introduced myself and she invited me in. She
showed me into the parlour where I met Mr Adams. He looked very old and tired,
showing that my attempt to try and meet him had indeed been worthwhile!
 
 I told him how his book had been the main reason I chose to study literature at
University and how it had had such a great impact on my life. When I told him
about The Cross Bearer by RogueFanKC and the other fanfics it has inspired in
the past few years, I discovered he was unaware of their existence (he didn't
even know about the 1999 TV series based on the novel). According to him, he had
only written the story at the insistence of his two daughters Juliet and
Rosamond; he had never intended it to have such an impact. It seems that,
unintentionally, as his wife put it, the story is one of a kind, as it allows
us, in contrast to most other classical stories portraying animals, to see the
world from the environment's point of view, not in a fictional (like ex. Kenneth
Graham) but in a most realistic way. Combined with the impact of the human world
on nature, I believe that the book carries a strong message of environmental
concern.
 
Adams also told me that most of the characters in his book were inspired from
people he knew in his earlier years: Woundwort was inspired from Hitler, the
Thearah from Chamberlain and Bigwig and Kehaar were based on fellow soldiers he
knew during World War II.
However, other minor characters like Cowslip, their
fate was left open to speculation; something that fanfic authors tend to
explore.


This appears to back up my claim, coming from the author himself, that Woundwort and Efrafa were allegories to Nazi Germany, even if they cannot be directly compared action to action.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2011, 12:52:42 AM by Hawkbit »

Offline Myrkin

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2011, 10:43:44 AM »
I guess you can say: "I rest my case". :P

I would only argue at this point, that we should remember that "inspired by" or "he is allegory to" doesn't mean: Woundwort is Hitler in rabbit suit. That would be taking this allegory a bit too far, I think.
"My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today." - Hazel

Pessimist sees a dark tunnel. Optimist sees a light in the tunnel. Realist sees the light of coming train. And the train driver sees three idiots standing on the track.

Offline Hawkbit

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2011, 12:28:29 PM »
Of course...it won't be an exact match, but I've always seen Woundwort as the Hitler of the rabbit world.

Offline Bluebell

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2011, 02:05:42 PM »
I saw woundwart as a Joseph Stalin type. A guy who was paranoid and pro-active in rooting out any sort of dissent. He used fear as fuel to keep his warren in line and efficient. Blackavar is his political enemy who is beaten/tortured, and shamed. The whole warren is a strange police state.

I could see Woundwart as a young Hitler before he invaded the USSR because he lost what was left of his mind somewhere around that time. Even his closest generals were secretly thinking he was bannanas at that point from what I've read.

The big difference is that Woundwart wasn't a fool. He was aggressive, maybe overconfident, but patient. He just got out-maneuvered by Hazel-Rah along with some help from the Fairy Wog-Dog LOL.

Offline Hawkbit

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2011, 05:22:14 PM »
^ Point taken...Woundwort could pass for any modern day dictator we've seen in history.  You made good points about Stalin, and yeah, I could see Stalin with the KGB and secret police making up Woundwort's Owslafa.

Offline Bluebell

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2011, 10:26:33 PM »
Quote from: Hawkbit on May 10 2011, 01:22:14 PM
^ Point taken...Woundwort could pass for any modern day dictator we've seen in history.  You made good points about Stalin, and yeah, I could see Stalin with the KGB and secret police making up Woundwort's Owslafa.
That was a good article by the way.

Hitler and his early secret police which rooted out the Marxists and Jews which he blamed for the disintegration of German society can be equated with Woundwarts view. However, Hitler was such a cult of personality in his early years, I think much more than Stalin. I don't know that Stalin was ever beloved by the Soviets, just feared. I think of those early speaches Hitler gave and the German people truly seemed enamoured by him. You just have to yell out the right words at the podium I guess.

I agree that there is some environmental concern in the book, particularly regarding the Sandleford Warren, but that's for another topic.

On a similar note, if I could equate Cowslip with any political figure, I cannot. Maybe a religious leader like James Jones? However if you've ever seen George Lucas' THX-83 you could possibly associate the warren with the same kind of dystopian society. The society is physically healthy yet sedated and brainwashed into "happiness" by a Big Brother type of automated society that's overeen at all times and enforced into pill popping. I equate Cowslip with Benjamin Linus from the TV series "Lost" and his group of "others" mirrors that warren. However, I just made a thread discussing the parallels between the two stories.

Offline Hawkbit

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2011, 09:27:39 AM »
I sometimes see Cowslip as one of those religious zealots (take your pick) where you have a group of followers that stay with him because he makes things sound good, even if there is no guarantee of the truth of his statements.  This is dangerous for the subjects to follow in blind faith without necessarily looking towards why you are listening to their words.

Offline Bluebell

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2011, 03:37:29 PM »
Quote from: Hawkbit on May 11 2011, 05:27:39 AM
I sometimes see Cowslip as one of those religious zealots (take your pick) where you have a group of followers that stay with him because he makes things sound good, even if there is no guarantee of the truth of his statements.  This is dangerous for the subjects to follow in blind faith without necessarily looking towards why you are listening to their words.
Yeah, except instead of faith, it's more of a philosophy/world view. And to Cowslips credit, he's not forcing anyone to stay. He's not refered to as a chief rabbit, rather a speaker for the warren. Those who follow him do so of their own volition. What happened to that warren with the white blindness and then the farmer probably changed the group psychology and social view to adapt to the conditions.

However they weren't forthright in telling the group from Sandleford Warren about anything. It's then led to beleive that in secrecy from the newcomers, Hazel and co. would be sacraficial lambs in their ignorance. That's not to say that Cowslip's warren is a bloodthirsty backstabbing careless lot, far from it. As one their own stated, the most important traits for a rabbit to have are dignity, and to be resigned to fate. What use is there for the old tales of El-ahrairah when food is provided and elil are scarce? The old saying, when in Rome do as the Romans do. It's the concealment of that fate, which became deceit when BigWig was ensnared, that prompted the group to leave.

That's part of why I enjoyed Watership Down so much, it really makes you think. I was fascinated by Cowslips warren and there was such an interesting contrast between the two groups.




Offline Hawkbit

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2011, 11:59:29 PM »
As Mr. Ben Franklin would say, "those who give up freedom for security deserve neither". ;)  Wonder how ol' Cowslip and crew would approach that philosophy?  In ways, that warren is its own prisoner.  There is no freedom because you are not allowed to ask questions, to keep the thought that everything is ok, despite rabbits disappearing.  There is no security, despite the appearance of security by man, when in fact, you are less secure with hidden wires.

Offline Bluebell

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2011, 03:22:54 AM »
Quote from: Hawkbit on May 12 2011, 07:59:29 PM
As Mr. Ben Franklin would say, "those who give up freedom for security deserve neither". ;)  Wonder how ol' Cowslip and crew would approach that philosophy?  In ways, that warren is its own prisoner.  There is no freedom because you are not allowed to ask questions, to keep the thought that everything is ok, despite rabbits disappearing.  There is no security, despite the appearance of security by man, when in fact, you are less secure with hidden wires.
Good quote.

It depends on what freedoms one values. In the case of Cowslips warren, I think it's the freedom from toil, and indeterminance. In Cowslips warren, the rabbits laugh, create art, poetry, sing, dance, and have rounded freedom of expression due to an existence where they aren't merely concentrating on surviving all the time. Interestingly I interpret Silverweeds poetry as longing for escape into the wind, water, and earth which can be taken as wanting to leave and live the indeterminable freedom that befell the Sandleford Warren. Even Cowslip appreciates this escapist poetry. So freedom of thought is alive. I think the problem was more of a matter of keeping the darker side of the warren out of the ears and minds of Hazel and Co. Subterfuge and Deceit are what bother me more about this warren, not the choices they make by living under those circumstances.

That's the choice then in this often times cruel world. Do you want to know how you may die? If so you will live in the security of knowing. However you then have to have "dignity, and be resigned to one's fate." Rise to meet ones fate, or else live without knowing and have your pain amplified in the shock of the moment. The fate of Sandleford's Warren was beyond horrible. In the end the Honeycomb on Watership Down is the existence I, or anyone would probably want to choose, but even then we have to assume that Hazel Rah's assurance for a positive future isn't just fluff. Afterall as Burt Reynolds would say "Let Me Be Surprised" ... just in an ok way please.

I hope this post didn't go too far out there.

Offline Strifer

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2016, 11:41:39 PM »
I think he would be closer to Lenin or Stalin, maybe a later leader of the Soviet Union. The soviets, although they did kill a lot of people, they were more focused on taking over everything and running it efficiently, albeit very unfairly. A further similarity is Efrafa and the Gulags. Gulags were notorious for torture, brainwashing, and fierce dedication to their leaders. It may be just me, but Wouldwort's Owslas seem to act like the KGB.
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Offline mistercynical

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General Woundwort = Adolf Hitler?
« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2016, 12:21:44 AM »
Woundwart, as portrayed in the book, was a visionary with a fundamentally flawed ideology kept alive through coercion of the doubters, appeal to the populous, and ingroup - outgroup dynamics ("efrafans vs outsiders"). Woundwart was brutal and tyrannical but still cared deeply for the "perceived" success of his people - though such a distorted view of success that in the end it did more harm than good.

Insofar, it seems the threads' title holds unquestionably true.

However, Efrafa isn't imperialistic or seeking world domination like the Soviet Union or Germany circa the 1940s. Efrafa is a textbook example of a police state, like something out of Nineteen-Eighty-Four. Everything is controlled, the military is omnipresent, and most of all, it's engaged in perpetual war inside and out to suppress the idea of freedom and other livestyles. Ingroup (that is to say, not people who are profiled as unwanted by the state, as Germany did before/during WWII) and even well-respected Efrafans plan to escape daily, and life there is distinctly isolated. They created the impression of a strong people, but in fact their living conditions are awful.

Are you getting vibes of someone else? How about, say, a certain northerly Korea and its previous dictator?

Now, it's basically impossible that Adams intended this, and it's still pretty clear that the thread's title holds true, but I still think North Korea and its previous dictator of Kim Jung Il is basically exactly like Efrafa and Woundwart. You can pretty much match up any aspect of North Korean life and connect it directly to Efrafan life.



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