George Orwell and his novel, 1984 talked about a society that lives under a totalitarian government and how the government (the Party) uses manipulation to gain power over their citizens. Although this is a dystopian novel, orwell uses many current and past event to show the readers that our world is slowly following into the same path. Orwell wrote 1984 because he wanted to show people how our world is slowly falling into the same path. Currently, our society is slowly being controlled by technology. Furthermore, our world has gone through something very similar, which would be the Soviet Union. Between the Party and the Soviet Union there are many similarities between them, which are the benefits that government official receive, their ability to rewrite history, their thirst of power, controlling other people’s lives, and the way how both governments use Doublethink.
When someone has a great amount of power they have many advantages compared to the lower class. The USSR has so much power that it gave them the ability to do or have whatever they please. They never had to worry about how much food they receive because they make sure that their okay before assisting those under them, which are the lower class people. Food isn’t the only benefit the USSR receive. They are provided with better living conditions, better pay, and much more.
One parallel between the Party and the Soviet Union is the many benefits that each government receive due to the absolute power they have. Allowing themselves to become more dominant over the lower class citizens. “ However, even during these early years, communist bureaucrats enjoyed many ‘perks’, including a superior standard of accommodation and access to chauffeur driven cars, special shops and restaurants”(“Power and Privilege: Elite Lifestyles in Communist Eastern Europe.”). In the book 1984, people are constantly being watched with something called a “Tele-screen”, which is a television that has a camera inside that records everything people say or do. Everyone is aware that the tele-screen is always watching and there’s no way to stop it from happening. However, due to the amount of power Party members receive, they gain special benefits of being able to turn off the telescreen, allowing themselves to have complete privacy. This is a benefit only Party members have, anyone outside the Party has to deal with being watched 24/7. Just like the USSR both governments gain special benefits. The reason why is because of power, giving them the ability of being the priority and that they should be treated special since they are more superior.
Joseph Stalin was a leader of the USSR. He transformed his society into a military superpower. However, his ways of competing that goal wasn’t a good representation of being a leader. He ruled with fear. The Soviet Union didn’t want the people to see Stalin as someone to be feared. Therefore, they rewrote history to prevent the younger generation from learning who he truly is. They never mentioned him in history books, and how Stalin murdered millions of people in concentration camps. Rewriting history gave Stalin the ability to maintain power and manipulate people into think the Soviet Union and their leaders aren’t bad.
Another similarity between the USSR and the Party is that the Party also rewrote history to maintain power. “Suddenly there sprang into his mind, ready-made as it were, the image of a certain Comrade Ogilvy, who had recently died in battle, in heroic circumstances. . . . It was true that there was no such person as Comrade Ogilvy, but a few lines of print and a couple of faked photographs would soon bring him into existence”(Orwell). Winston works at a place called the Ministry of Truth, which is a place where they deal with history, art, education, and news. For something called the Ministry of Truth all they do is lie. Instead of hearing the good and bad about the party the Ministry of Truth only provides good information about the party. They do this to prevent revolutions to happen and allow them to stay in power for as long as possible. Just like how the USSR changed history about their leader just so the new generation doesn’t realize that he is bad and not want to stop him from ruling the country.
Stalin transformed his society into a military superpower. When in power he had sent any threat either to labor camps, concentration camps, or just either killed them. Stalin was a leader of the USSR and they wanted as much power as possible. If there was and treat into someone trying to overrule him or the USSR he eliminated that threat as soon as possible. He hated the fact that he doesn’t have power. Therefore, does whatever it takes to have as much as power as possible.
Both governments have a thirst of power. The USSR took any threat and did whatever it took to resolve it. “Once in power, he collectivized farming and had potential enemies executed or sent to forced labor camps”(History). Just like how the USSR eliminated or took care of any chance to lose power, the Party did the same exact thing. Whenever someone voiced out their opinion about the government, they are quickly dealt with. This could be that the Party takes people who voiced out to the Ministry of Love, a place where party member use torture in order for people to love and not underestimate the Party causing them to maintain power. In conclusion, though they encounter treats in different ways, they both achieve the goal of maintaining power.
Joseph Stalin ruled by terror. He was able to create a secret police, and was also able to have people watch one another. Making sure that no one talked badly about him or the Soviet Union. Stalin had total control over the people. A file is kept for every person tracking their hole life. People aren’t able to travel to different countries unless they have a special pass. And People aren’t able to talk at all about the Soviet Union or Stalin because they didn’t know who they could trust not to tell on them.
Both the Party and the Soviet Union have total control over their people’s lives. Stalin had the secret police, was able to have people watch people, basically babysitting each other, and had files of any activities anyone does. On the other hand, the Party had “Telescreens”, a television with a camera inside watching every moment and every conversation someone may have. “It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away… In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense. There was even a word for it in Newspeak: facecrime, it was called”(Orwell 62). Furthermore, they also had the thought police, which is also like a police force that looks out for any mysterious behavior or any thing that may hurt the Party. People know that they are always being watched and how if they make one wrong movement they could be in some trouble. Therefore, they aren’t allowed to be able to move freely, basically causing them to be controlled by the Party.
The Soviet Union teaches the youth false information. Manipulating them into thinking that the bad is good. How in order to achieve greatness they have to make sacrifices. Children always believe what their elder tell them. For example, when you were a little kid and your teacher would tell you things about history or the right way to answer a question, you believed them. How did you know he/she was correct. You believed them because they were more superior than you. You were taught to listen to the people who have been he longer than you or who have much more education then you. That’s what the Soviet Union is doing. They know that teaching kids at a young age, where they don’t know the difference between right or wrong, is going to be the most effective way to maintain power. They make them believe that the bad is good and the good is bad. However as time passes and kids grow and slowly learn that The Soviet Union isn’t who they said they were, it’s too late to do anything now because of the consequences that may come towards them.
Just like The Soviet Union the Party use Doublethink as a way to control their people. When Winston was little he was taught that the Party was good. In the book 1984 it states, “ The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink”(Orwell 216). As Winston grew older and he soon to realize the truth about the Party and how their main goal wasn’t for the people, but to themselves. However, he never wanted to say anything dues to the consequences that may come. Therefore, he always has that fear stopping him from saying anything. Just like the Soviet Union, where they teach the youth that they are an amazing, good, or kind of government. However, When the youth start to mature and learn how to have their own thoughts and opinions they realize that the government is the complete opposite from what they have been taught.
In conclusion, you can see that George Orwell did an amazing job showing the comparison of his version of the Soviet Union in his own unique way. Creating a similar but totally different situation, in hopes to make the readers realize that our government is slowly falling onto the same path. Hoping for people to stand up and make a change.
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