Orwell And Totalitarian Propaganda Essay

1901 words - 8 pages

A totalitarian government's use of propaganda to psychologically manipulate its citizens is an idea that concerned Orwell greatly. He predicted that psychological manipulation would create problems in society by taking away individual expression and enforcing thoughts amongst the people. It is clear to see his negative attitude towards this subject through the comparisons of governmental propaganda use between "Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War" and in the novel 1984. The fundamental ideas of political strategy during the Spanish Civil War are magnified through use of propaganda by Oceania's government in 1984. In "Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War", George Orwell explains the objective of the Nazi Theory, which is to create a controlled society. He reveals:

Nazi theory indeed specifically denies that such thing as ‘the truth' exists. There is, for instance, no such thing as ‘Science'. There is only ‘German Science', ‘Jewish Science', etc. The implied objective of this line of thought is a nightmare world… If (the Leader) says that two and two are five - well, two and two are five. (Orwell, LB)

There is a distinct connection between the intentions of the leaders during the time of the Spanish Civil War and the leaders of Oceania in 1984. There is the idea of a totalitarian group having enough power to persuade individuals into believing what it states is true, despite personal opinion and/or previous thoughts. Orwell's concern of external control over individual thought by totalitarian governments is evident through his vision of a "nightmare world", a world of which he would not be content with, where all people would simply agree with their leader if he or she said "two and two are five". Exaggerating this concern, Orwell creates this "nightmare world", Oceania, in 1984 by means of a totalitarian government. Just as he explains that governments during the Spanish Civil Ware were attempting to gain enough control so that they would have the ability to persuade societies into believing "two and two are five", 1984's Winston Smith, an Oceania habitant, is worried that "In the end, the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it." (p. ___). The Party's excessive control reflects Orwell's fear of the "nightmare world", controlled by an authoritative government that he envisioned. In turn, the Party is able to persuade the citizens of Oceania into believing every statement they present. This displays a second problem that George Orwell worried about; the inability of individual thought. In 1984, the Party's power creates gullible citizens who cannot think for themselves, but only believe the words of the Party, thus presenting Orwell's feared "nightmare world". This world is also further developed through an idea presented in 1984 based on a theory from the Spanish Civil War.

Orwell's concern of propaganda use is expressed through the revelation of the Nazi Theory, where a totalitarian system has...

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