Orwell wrote the novel 1984 as a warning to the West, mainly the United
States, as World War II was coming to an end with the destruction of Hitler’s
Germany. Orwell created the city of Oceania as a model of how a totalitarian
dictatorship can suppress any and all forms of protest and to make free
societies like the United States realize how much freedom is at stake.

            The hierarchical structure in
existence in Oceania was eerily similar to the class structures of Hitler’s
Nazi Germany. In Oceania, there were four distinct class structures that
separated the people along with the division of power and money. At the top of
the pyramid is Big Brother. Big Brother was most likely a symbolic figurehead
that possess total control and power over the state of Oceania. The Inner Party
was second in the pyramid, and only consisted of 2% of the population. The
inner party was where high decisions, policies, and governments were made.

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These persons were considered the “upper class” and had better advantages than
any other citizen in Oceania. They lived in nicer houses, had decent food,
cars, and had the ability to turn off the television. The Outer party is the
third in the pyramid. This party consisted of people with higher intelligence,
and are considered of the “middle class”. Unlike the Inner Party, they are
under strict rules and do not have advantages. And at the bottom of the chain
was The Proles. The proles were the lower class of Oceania and worked as
laborers. Although they had the worst living conditions, they were the ones
with the most freedom. They had the most freedom because the government did not
see them as a threat to the parties because of their lack of intelligence.  The proles were entertained by alcohol and
pornographic books.

            The hierarchical structure in
Hitler’s Germany was made up of three distinct classes that are identical to
the West: Upper, Middle, and Lower. The upper classes mas mainly made up of
non-Jewish, large businesses companies due to possibility of communism, and
when Germany went to war the economy saw renewed sales and began given bigger
support. The middle class was proportionally speaking, over represented, and
collapsed as their voter left for the Nazis. Nazi government used Old German
bureaucracy and appealed to white collar workers throughout German society, and
they benefitted from the continuously improving economy which bettered their
life. They bought into the image of a unifying leader bringing Germany together.

The lower class was the working class and did not have a set view on Adolf
Hitler. He gained the lower classes vote by the improvement of the economy and
the removal of class warfare. Even though the Lower class had significantly
less votes than any of the other classes combined, it increased by the Nazi

            In George Orwell’s novel, 1984, he
used the Thought Police and futuristic televisions to eliminate the act of
insurrection. Orwell wrote, “You had to live – did live, from habit that became
instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and,
except in darkness, every movement scrutinized” to show the reader how
vulnerable and intruded their lives truly were (Orwell, 3). In the novel,
Thought Police were people who worked for the government who could listen in on
everything and see everything that happens in public and in the comfort of your
own house. Orwell incorporated modern- day, futuristic televisions to warn the
United states of the possibility of Totalitarianism dictatorship. Orwell also wrote,
“Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen… It was safer; though, as he
well knew, even a back could be revealing” to help the reader understand that
even though his back was turned, the Thought police used basic psychology to
know that Winston was guilty of Thought crime.

            It has been said that if Hitler’s reign
had existed in the 21st century that his experiments and atrocities
would have been much more explicit and extensive with the technology that we have
developed today. Due to the lack of technology in the 1930’s, Hitler only used
what was available to him at the time. Hitler’s army could be considered Orwell’s
primordial “Thought Police.”  Hitler’s Nazis
were similar to Orwell’s Thought Police by the way they spied on people to
listen for descent, insurrection, and rebellion. If people were caught
rebelling against Hitler, the German army would find them and execute them instantly
or take them to a concentration camp to be tortured, and quite literally,
worked to death. Orwell clearly wrote the image and idea of Thought Police to
the warn the West of the inevitable destruction of private property and privacy
in a Totalitarian dictatorship. Orwell’s goal was to attempt to preserve and
protect peaceful, free, and open societies like the United States from falling
into the same perilous path that Germany and Russia went down. It can be
readily understood that this was one of his central motivations in creating the
society of Oceania.

            In Oceania, the practice of
vaporization was commonly used against those who chose to rebel or not follow
the orders of Big Brother. Vaporization in Oceania consisted of the complete
removal, more than likely the execution, of those who rebelled. Along with the
execution came the retrieval of all of one’s things and the deletion of one’s
records from the registers. This practice was carried out during the hours of
the night so one may see what was happening. Otherwise if people were to see,
there would a greater chance of more people revolting. This has striking
similarities to the Nazis who would kidnap those who spoke out or fought
against the German army and would send them to concentration camps. Much of the
world was unaware of this and the massacres that were taking place. These
events would not become known to the global audience until the Allied forces,
mainly the United States, fought their way across Europe into German territory
and liberated the few who were still alive in the camps. In 1984, as the
story unfolded, Winston Smith later learned what was happening to those who
were vaporized in Oceania because he himself was captured (Orwell, 224). Smith
was forced into believing whatever doctrine that Big Brother put forth. For
example, Smith was forced to accept that two plus two was five only because Big
Brother said it was. Smith was also tortured by O’Brien, who was part of the
system, in Room 101 by his greatest fear, rats. O’Brien enclosed Smith’s head
in a cage and allowed the rats to be put in the cage. The rats were well known
for attacking sick or dying people (Orwell, 285). The Nazis would use similar torturing
methods in their camps such as unsanitary, cramped living conditions infested with
rats, starvation, long working hours, no pay, and no freedom.

            The Ministry of Truth was another
example of Orwell’s warning to free, independent, and open societies. The Ministry
of Truth were revisionists of Oceania’s history. The main job of the
institution was to take old news articles from history and rewrite them to fit
the party’s agenda and doctrines to persuade the public to practice their
belief system. Another goal of the institution was to keep information away
from the public in order to keep them ignorant. If the society of Oceania were
to be informed of the truth of what their government was hiding, there would
almost certainly be a rebellion against the government in existence, threating
the power and the very livelihood of the leaders. In order to maintain power
and control, Big Brother allows for certain history to be rewritten and for the
rest to be incinerated in a “memory hole.” Hitler achieved much of his power on
his rise to Führer using these same revisionist concepts. After World War I had
ended at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, Germany was pinned with major war
reparations and sent the German economy into a depression with an enormous debt
on its hands. As Hitler climbed the ranks in the German political system, he
attempted to united Germany to centralize power for his ultimate attainment. Hitler’s
goal was world domination; however, he led the German people to believe they
were taking their country back to become strong again. He rewrote history to
persuade the Germany people to believe in the Nazi party’s doctrines and blamed
one minority group for all of Germany’s economic woes. The minority he blamed
was the Jews, and he would eventually call for their annihilation.

            In conclusion, George Orwell wrote
the novel 1984 as a warning to the West, mainly the United States, as
World War II was coming to an end with the destruction of Hitler’s Germany. His
warning was to the people of free and open societies about the dangers of
totalitarian dictatorships and the consequences of allowing the government to
take control of history and individual freedoms.

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