Yertle the Turtle is a children’s storybook written by the renowned author Dr Seuss. It is known to be a representation of Hitler and the Nazi regime during World War II.
In this storybook, Yertle the Turtle represents Hitler. Yertle’s dictatorial rule of the pond and takeover of the surrounding area parallel to Hitler’s regime in Germany and invasion of various parts of Europe. In the second paragraph of the story, Yertle decides the kingdom he ruled was too small. He says, “I’m a ruler of all that I see. But I don’t see enough. That’s the trouble with me.” Yertle’s desire for a larger kingdom is in real world connection to Hitler’s belief in Germany’s need for lebensraum. Yertle calls for turtle’s to stack up under him so he will have a high throne too rule everything he sees. This relates to Hitler as he wanted everything he saw, such as a world of “pure” race.
In the story, Mack represents the German society. He stands for the German people who follow Hitler’s rules and beliefs due to fear. Mack supports Yertle in the form of being a turtle in the stack keeping the king up high though he is going through pain. He says, “but down here below, we are feeling great pain. I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights. We turtles can’t stand it. Our shells will all crack! Besides, we need food. We are starving!” This relates to how the German society felt about Hitler being in power. The people were poor and had to live with rationed food, while Hitler was in great power at the top. They did not have rights and were suffering greatly.
While Yertle is bragging about his power and everything he rules, he is taken aback as he notices the moon starting to rise. He is absolutely furious that the moon dares to be higher than him and as a result, he orders for more turtles to be stacked below him for him to be higher. As he is doing so, Mack, the innocent turtle at the bottom of the stack, decided that he had taken enough and so, he burped. As it says in the story, “Decided he’d taken enough. And he had. And that plain little lad got a bit mad. And that plain little Mack did a plain little thing. He burped! And his burp shook the throne of the king!” This action caused the whole stack of turtles to shake, resulting in Yertle the Turtle King to fall of his throne, and into the mud. This represents the German society not being able to tolerate and having enough of Hitler and the Nazi regime. Mack’s burp is significant because it symbolizes the uprising of voices from the society.
At the end of the story, a quote is written, saying, “And the turtle, of course… all turtles are free as turtles and maybe, all creatures should be.” The turtles signify the Germans and the people affected by Hitler’s reign, therefore, Dr Seuss states that they should be free as all people should be.