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Orwell

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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 the ability to control the existence of truth through the minds of society. Orwell's concerned attitude is seen through his explanation of the objective of the theory, that implies the non-existence of general 'Science', but "only 'German Science', 'Jewish Science', etc." to also create the previously mentioned "nightmare world", where factual information is based on only one perspective, chosen by the leader(s) of that society. It is evident in 1984 that a biased perception is forced onto the people of Oceania, where the book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism explains that either Eurasia or Eastasia is constantly in war with Oceania, to diminish the ability for the citizens to gain knowledge about other countries. *** This brainwashing technique caused by the totalitarian government in turn creates the "nightmare world" of which Orwell had depicted. Here, a controlled group, the Party, forces the entirety of the population to think through one mindset - the one the Party creates through propaganda. Publicizing wars with those countries also creates an uninformed nation. Not only are the citizens given misleading information, but they are restricted to the truth as well. Because the people of Oceania do not have contact with foreigners, they have a limited understanding of the world outside of Oceania. Oceanians are therefore incapable of noticing the wrongdoings of the Party because they have no other governmental system to compare theirs to. The misleading demeanour that the Party in 1984 possesses magnifies similar ideas that, according to "Looking Back on the Spanish Civil War", the Nazis were associated with, further accenting Orwell's concern of the government's use of propaganda during the Spanish Civil War. Orwell's fears of propaganda are illicitly presented through the description of his "nightmare world". The jurisdictions pursued by governments that concerned him during the time of the Spanish Civil War: enforcing opinions, diminishing individual thought, brainwashing through endorsing war and limiting external and unapproved information are exaggerated in 1984. Political strategies of the Party in 1984 magnify Orwell's concerned attitude towards the excessive and improper use of propaganda, as well as the deliberate false manufacturing of history.

George Orwell magnifies the troublesome issue of the government's control over history regarding the Spanish Civil War in 1984. The issue of totalitarian governments modifying history to justify their wants is one that the author saw as abuse of power. This manipulation and power would negatively affect the people by modifying media and all sources of information to influence their beliefs. Orwell exaggerates the idea of "emotions which can be turned on and off like a tap, ... the result of newspaper and radio hypnosis" (Orwell, LB) through the common men of society in 1984. If people had the ability to turn their emotions "on and off like a tap", the reality of their opinion on the subject would be useless. Losing one's point of view would in turn modify the truth by ridding basic facts of an opposing side of a story. Inability to contradict an event would negatively impact the reality of history because the entire population would only believe one side, despite the possibility of it being false. Incidentally, the people of society, such as the population of Oceania in 1984 would be incapable of telling the truth and lies apart. They are therefore incapable of producing their own opinions and are only but entirely informed and influenced through one source; the totalitarian government.

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