Harry Potter and the World Wars

Mon 16 July 2007 by Kevin van Haaren

Somebody will write a thesis about this someday I’m sure, but it struck me the other day that there were some weird similarities between early 20th century history, and the Harry Potter storyline. I frequently hear these kind of suppositions made about books like the Lord of the Rings, but generally you can make draw similarities between any story with an over-arching evil person and Hitler. The Harry Potter storyline struck me more in it similarities with the history of both world wars, rather than just World War II.

World War I was a long drawn out war of attrition. Waging back and forth over the same land. Several passages in the Harry Potter books indicate that the first rising of Voldemort was also a long drawn out war of attrition with Voldemort knocking of members of the original Order of the Phoenix one by one.

World War I ended with the arrival of the US troops reinforcing the Allied forces. This marked the US’s entry into the world as a Great Power. Voldemort’s first rise to power was ended when he attempted to kill Harry Potter, newly born to the world, and after Voldemort’s defeat considered a great power in the world of magic.

World War II began with the world refusing to acknowledge the second rise of Germany’s power. Winston Churchill stood out as a lone voice arguing for Britain to strengthen its defenses against Hitler. Not until the invasion of Poland did the world acknowledge the danger and openly declare war on Germany. In the Harry Potter novels, Dumbledore stands out as the lone voice arguing that Voldemort has returned to power, and it isn’t until the Ministry of Magic is invaded that the world acknowledges Voldemort’s return.

I guess I’ll have to wait until this weekend for the last Potter book to come out to see if I spot any other parallels between the world wars.