Animal Farm is an allegorical novella by George Orwell , first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union.  Orwell, a democratic socialist ,  was a critic of Joseph Stalin and hostile to Moscow-directed Stalinism , an attitude that was critically shaped by his experiences during the Spanish Civil War.  The Soviet Union, he believed, had become a brutal dictatorship , built upon a cult of personality and enforced by a reign of terror. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as a satirical tale against Stalin (" un conte satirique contre Staline "),  and in his essay " Why I Write " (1946), wrote that Animal Farm was the first book in which he tried, with full consciousness of what he was doing, "to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole".
The original title was Animal Farm: A Fairy Story; U.S. publishers dropped the subtitle when it was published in 1946, and only one of the translations during Orwell's lifetime kept it. Other titular variations include subtitles like " A Satire" and " A Contemporary Satire".  Orwell suggested the title Union des républiques socialistes animales for the French translation, which abbreviates to URSA, the Latin word for "bear", a symbol of Russia. It also played on the French name of the Soviet Union, Union des républiques socialistes soviétiques.