It followed then when Hitler burned a book I felt it as keenly, please forgive me, as his killing a human, for in the long sum of history they are one and the same flesh. Mind or body, put to the oven, is a sinful practice.Bradbury started writing Fahrenheit 451 in 1947; at that stage of development, it was a short story called "Bright Phoenix" and it would be reworked into a somewhat longer novella called "The Fireman" and finally into the novel we know today. As Bradbury was writing in 1947, Hitler was gone, but other socialist parties were still burning books, shocking him, and filling him with horror:
Of course. There was Hitler torching books in Germany in 1934; rumors of Stalin and his match people and tinderboxes.So it was not Hitler alone, but Stalin explicitly, and perhaps Mao and others implicitly - although Mao would not fully emerge until 1949, after the basic setting of Fahrenheit 451 had taken shape. Bradbury correctly comprehended the nature of these regimes, and did so very early, long before the standard images and cliches about the Cold War would be ossified.