There are several threads on the Planet Tolkien forum board in which that
topic has been discussed. I cannot remember the titles of them just off
hand, but they shouldn't be too difficult to find (they are most likely in
the Author or General Discussion sections).
Obviously with JRR being involved in the WW1, and losing several close
friends there, it has undoubtably effected his writing. I find this
particularly so in the Silmarillion, where the feeling of loss and despair
is quite strong. Inferences could also be drawn, like you suggest, to the
Humans and Elves etc being Allies to the Orcish Germans. I don't really feel
there, though, the connection is really much stronger than could be assigned
to the opposing combatants of any armed conflict.
LotR, itself, tends to concentrate on the battle between Good and Evil. I
feel, particularly in the case of WW1, it wasn't a battle between Good and
Evil, just a number of powers fighting for what they believed in. Neither
side were really Evil, or for that matter Good. In this way, the concept of
Good and Evil fighting it out predates any events of the World Wars.
Also, in the case of Saruman, I feel Tolkien is contrasting the beauty and
naturalness of the pre-industrial era (Elves and Hobbits etc) with that of
the post industrial revolution (Saruman's fiery pits and primitive heavy
When you look deeply into his work, I think many things influenced Tolkien's
writing, although he has worked hard not to let any one of them stand out
I think if your assignment is to actually find comparisons between LotR and the World Wars, then yes you should be able to find plenty of similarities. What I was attempting to portray in my last mail was that while these similarities exist, it was not necessarily Tolkien's intention.
I agree with you about the Uruk hai. In a WW2 setting they could be compared to the German Stormtroopers. Just as easily, however, in another setting they could represent the elite forces of any army.
Some people compare also the Easterling and Haradrim peoples of Middle Earth (generally portrayed as being evil) with the Japanese and Arabian peoples. I don't believe Tolkien was a racist, but he was writing in a period that was less politically correct than the one we live in today. I think when you are creating a world, you are bound to carry over stereotypes from your own world even if you do not intend to.
Like I said before, although I don't believe LotR represents in any way WW2 as say Animal Farm represents the Russian Revolution, Tolkien did seem to draw his ideas from many sources. So, basically, although LotR is not a mirror of WW2, if you look close enough you will undoubtably be able to find instances that have been influenced by it.
My knowledge of figures in the WW2 isn't really sufficient to be able to find Tolkien equivalents for you I'm afraid.
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