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I certainly don't think he intended the whole story to be an allegory, with each group representing an actual party in the modern world.

I do think he couldn't avoid being affected by the war. He wrote a story about a world war that hadn't started, but could no longer be prevented. The side of "good" thought they destroyed the evil, but found out too late that they were underestimating them.

Doesn't that sound a lot like the situation Europe was in at the time? The war was looming, and everyone could see it couldn't be avoided. The only thing to do at that point was to choose which side you'd be on. The allies crushed Germany in WWI, and thought they'd left it powerless, but she came back as strong as ever.

As I said, I don't think he was trying to re-tell the story of WWII, but he was obviously affected by it. As far as the ring goes, I think the story just wrapped itself around it. Tolkein wrote the Hobbit, and the ring was a focal point of that book. I don't think he intended it to be the focal point of the world at that point -- if he'd planned the whole story out, he wouldn't have had to change Bilbo's story (by the way, I hadn't realized he'd actually changed the text. Very interesting.) I think he just wanted to build on the Hobbit, and was affected by his life at the time. I think the ring just represents evil in LOTR, not any particular technology.
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