"the Elves deemed that evil was ended forever, and it was not so."
The 1914-18 Victory Medal
Creative Commons AttributionThe 1914-18 Victory Medal - Credit: Jim Linwood at Flickr

Though Sauron was defeated and the Ring of Power taken from him, Sauron’s evil was not ended forever. Now the elves and men find themselves facing the same enemy once more.

It is hard not to draw comparisons with how people may have felt about the Second World War. The First World War of 1914-18 was dubbed the ‘War to End All Wars,’ only to have a Second World War break out in 1939 with much the same enemies.

Tolkien fought in the First World War and lost many good friends to it. He has stated that all attempts to draw parallels to the Second World War in The Lord of the Rings are wrong, explaining that the First World War was no less terrible to live through than the Second:

One has indeed personally to come under the shadow of war to feel fully its oppression; but as the years go by it seems now often forgotten that to be caught in youth by 1914 was no less hideous an experience than to be involved in 1939 and the following years. By 1918 all but one of my close friends were dead.

The Second World War may not have directly influenced any events or descriptions in The Lord of the Rings, but perhaps a sense of despair over the outbreak of another devastating conflict so soon after the first can be found in its pages. Much of The Lord of the Rings was written during the Second World War, which for Tolkien must have been a painful reminder of his own war-torn youth.