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George Orwell's 1984

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The terrors of a totalitarian government presented in George Orwell's 1984 apply not only to the Party, but also to the Stalinist Russia of the 1930's. Frightening similarities exist between these two bodies which both started out as forms of government, and then mutated into life-controlling political organizations which "subordinated all institutions and classes under one supreme power" (Buckler 924). Orwell shows how such a system can impose its will on the people through manipulation of media, constant supervision as aided by technology, and the threat of pain, both physical and mental. Orwell also shows how the state has more subtle methods for imposing its authority, such as the manipulation of language and propaganda as they are used to achieve the goal of absolute power for the system. A key parallel between the Party and Stalin's Communism is the use of technology and communication to control the economic, social, and personal aspects of life.

Stalin and Big Brother achieved total control, not only of social and economic aspects of the state, but also of their people's personal lives. They did this first and foremost by constantly observing the people. Both Stalin & "The Party" believed in total control over their "party members". The objectives of the Spies, the Ministry of Truth, Thought Police, and the telescreens in Oceania are mirrored in Stalin's Russia by the actions of the KGB, and all the technologies they used to monitor people. Another way was by altering all forms of media. The Ministry of Truth worked to change the past in all forms of media, making Big Brother appear to have always been right. Stalin had books rewritten, histories revamped, and paintings altered to feature his presence. Although unlimited control could not be achieved in 1930's Russia, Orwell gives Big Brother this power to demonstrate how, if ever attained, it would lead to the complete destruction of individual freedom.

Tangible similarities between the two leaders, Stalin and Big Brother, are also daunting. Joseph Stalin could easily fit the description of Big Brother in the novel. Stalin had his 5-year plan for the economy, just as references were made to the 3-year plans in 1984. The Party rejects and vilifies every principle for which the Socialist movement ever stood, and it chooses to do this in the name of Socialism, just as Stalin claimed to be following Lenin, when in reality he had his own ambitions.

Stalin used massive amounts of propaganda to show how well the soviets were doing. In reality most people were oppressed & hungry just as in 1984."The Party" did the same through the false reports in the "Times" and over the telescreens. Also Stalin would eliminate any rivals for power (ex. when he killed off his rivals Kamenev & Zinoviev after a public trial where they were denounced as traitors). "The Party" does this with most of their"traitors"(Public hangings,etc...). Stalin "purged the people who did not agree with him when he came to power. So did "the Party". They killed Winston's parents and many others. Also Stalin exiled his primary political rival, Trotsky, just as "BIG BROTHER" got rid of Emanuel Goldstein. So as you can see Stalin's "Soviet Union" was much like "Oceania" The monitoring for Big Brother is achieved by telescreens, the Thought Police, other Party member, and even your own family.

Another way both Stalin and Big Brother tried to gain power was by changing language. The Party seeks to stifle any individual or "potentially revolutionary" thought by introducing a new language, Newspeak, and the subsequent eradication of the English language. The introduction of this new language means that eventually, no one is able to commit thoughtcrime due to the lack of words to express it. This is a frightening concept; the restriction of your thought



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