JKR, when asked about the influence of Nazism on the series, answered with the following:

"I wanted Harry to leave our world and find exactly the same problems in the wizarding world. So you have the intent to impose a hierarchy, you have bigotry, and this notion of purity, which is this great fallacy, but it crops up all over the world. People like to think themselves superior and that if they can pride themselves in nothing else they can pride themselves on perceived purity. So yeah that follows a parallel [to Nazism]..."

In answering, she says that there is definitely a parallel, but is HP really an allegory for the Second World War?

Consider the evidence:

  • Easy parallels between Voldemort and friends to Nazis

  • ~15 years between "Reichs"

  • Quest to make an ally of the "Giants" (Russia)

  • Leaders who don't belong to the "master race" (half-blood vs. non-Aryan)

and the list can go on.

Apart from this quote, have there been any analyses about HP as an allegory, either in- or out-of-universe?

  • 3
    Other specific parallels called out by Rowling: post-Voldemort’s return, Cornelius Fudge was based on Neville Chamberlain, and the blood purity mimics Nazi propaganda about Jewish/Aryan blood.
    – alexwlchan
    Jan 8, 2016 at 7:00
  • Dumbledore's battle with Grindlewall took place in 1945 - Rowling has stated this isn't a coincidence
    – user46509
    Jan 8, 2016 at 20:13
  • 1
    The quest to make an ally parallel is iffy at best. In fact, I'd say the only real parallels revolve around Voldemort, master race, etc, but that's a pretty common trope with fantasy villains. If it's a WW2 allegory, it isn't a great one.
    – Misha R
    Oct 15, 2019 at 5:36

3 Answers 3


I will take a part of extended explanation on link below that I think has best answer to your question.

JK Rowling herself has drawn a likeness between the pure-blood fanaticism of Voldemort and his Death Eaters, and the Nazis' anti-Jewish bigotry. On her website, jkrowling.com, she writes:

"The expressions 'pure-blood,' 'half-blood,' and 'Muggle-born' have been coined by people to whom these distinctions matter, and express their originators' prejudices. As far as somebody like Lucius Malfoy is concerned, for instance, a Muggle-born is as 'bad' as a Muggle. Therefore Harry would be considered only 'half' wizard, because of his mother's grandparents."

If you think this is far-fetched, look at some of the real charts the Nazis used to show what constituted 'Aryan' or 'Jewish' blood. I saw one in the Holocaust museum in Washington when I had already devised the 'pure-blood,' 'half-blood' and 'Muggle-born' definitions, and was chilled to see that the Nazis used precisely the same warped logic as the Death Eaters. A single Jewish grandparent 'polluted' the blood, according to their propaganda.

You can drawn comparisons between Death Eaters and Nazi followers, or, more tellingly, between Hitler himself and Voldemort. We learned from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince that Voldemort had a Muggle father and a witch mother, and that during his childhood in a London orphanage, he learned to control and exploit others. Prior to Dumbledore inviting him to Hogwarts, Tom Riddle, as he was known then, took fellow orphans Amy Benson and Dennis Bishop down to a cave where he allegedly tortured them.

According to a CIA analysis of Hitler, he came from "illiterate peasant stock derived from a mixture of races. His father was illegitimate. . . Hitler's mother was a domestic servant. It is said that his father's father was a Jew and it is certain that his godfather was a Jew." Other similarities Hitler had in common with Voldemort included megalomaniacal tendencies and "a fixed determination to repress [feelings of weakness, timidity], and to condemn them in others." Hitler, too, insisted on always being right, with enormous discrimination towards others and an appetite for power. As a tyrannical leader who behaved without conscience and who authorised followers to do the same, Hitler, like Voldemort, could be regarded as having a psychopathic personality.

You can look at this link for more extended explanation about ties between Nazi and Deatheaters.

  • 3
    Is the funny tilde quoting in the original, or is that a transcoding error on pasting that could be fixed?
    – JDługosz
    Apr 27, 2017 at 6:00

The connection is so much deeper than Nazi’s = Death Eater’s. I’m going to set aside the individual heroes of the story for a minute and point more generally to the “good guys (at least for awhile in the story)” and speak on the Ministry or Magic and the general wizard population. Think about this groups actions throughout the story. Ok sure they are nominally in control (i.e. the government) but they are in many places, inept, corrupt, or more pointedly ultra concerned with appearance over reality. They are on the face supposed to be in control but it is always clear how tentative this really is. And it only grows as Voldemort rises. And the general public really doesn’t want to hear that. The government tries to downplay the threat for their own benefit and the public prefers the tabloid stuff to reality.

Anyone with even minimal WWII knowledge can see how this clearly mirrors the realities of England’s government and the general populations between the end of WWI and the beginning of WWII. The willing blindness to a growing threat because such blindness was better at the moment than reliving the realities of an awful past...and not wanting to pass that awful reality down on to the next generation...so perfectly mirrors the realities of England (and to be fair all the Allies) post WWI, that it simply can not be coincidence.

Even if JKR didn’t consciously mean it that way, it seems inarguable that her growing up in England, and knowing that history of her native country, influenced how she wrote certain characters and organizations actions.

So yes, there is undoubtedly WWII allegory elements, but I’d actually say it’s more about the years between WWI and WWII and how the decisions of a generation that took part in the first war, affected and lead to the second one.


Almost no authors view their works as allegories - they are generally seen as boring, preachy, and unoriginal. Tolkien famously bristled at claims that The Lord of the Rings was an allegory (with the Ring representing nuclear weapons). I would say that he wanted interpretations to be available to readers, rather than being imposed upon them.

And I suspect Rowling would feel the same way. She did not set out to teach a lesson about mid-20th-century European conflict. But she did blatantly draw inspiration from those sources. With a whole universe of magical forms of communication she could have invented, she envisioned a pirate radio program during the reign of Voldemort, creating a distinctly 1940's feel.

I would call this more allusion than allegory, but it's really a matter of terminology. There is no question that she was drawing from the pool of mythic ideas, especially about kinds of evil, that World War II has left us.

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