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Authoritarian Rule Essay

1078 words - 5 pages

In 1936, George Orwell traveled to Spain to report on the Spanish Civil War, where he witnessed firsthand the nightmarish atrocities committed by fascist political regimes. The rise to power of dictators such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin inspired Orwell’s mounting hatred of despotism and unimpeded political power. Orwell devoted his energy to writing novels that were politically charged and dedicated to uncovering the truth of such dystopian societies, as with 1984. The novel is a cautionary tale that directly warns of the threats of unchecked totalitarianism which George Orwell witnessed in the postwar culture of rising communism around the world.
1984 was written in 1948, three ...view middle of the document...

An additional theme in 1984 that corresponds with Orwell’s society and his concerns for the near future is the subordination of individuals to "the Party". In Nazi Germany, the world watched as millions of rational citizens freely submitted, without question, to the authoritarian Nazi rule. Orwell believed that this only fueled the fire of the Nazi’s rise to power, and suggested in 1984 as well as in Animal Farm that unbridled loyalty and submission is as dangerous as tyrannical government.
Yet again, in 1984, we see the rigorous distinction between inner party, outer party and the “proles,” or the lower-working class. In the 1930s and ‘40s, eugenics, the science of improving a human population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of advantageous genetic traits, gained notable momentum, in Europe as well as in the United States. In the novel, citizens are born into their caste and are expected to live out their lives in such circumstances. The proles live out their squalid lives in poverty slightly less than that of the outer party members. Adolf Hitler, in Germany, had created systems of classifying his enemies and those he considered less desirable, in the end killing six million Jews plus nine million Slavs, gypsies, political dissidents, homosexuals, and mentally challenged people.
There are also direct parallels of the activities within the society: leader worship, such as that towards Big Brother, who can be compared to dictators like Stalin and Hitler. In Nazi Germany as well as in Soviet Russia citizens were taught to love and revere their leaders with unthinking obedience, trust, and loyalty. All military as well as social successes were attributed to all three of these “fearless leaders,” while failures were blamed on the enemy or disloyal citizens. Posters of Big Brother covered every available wall and window in London, similar to the way Stalin and Hitler were immortalized by the countless posters and images of propaganda were spread throughout their respective empires.
Orwell’s Joycamps, which are a reference to concentration camps or gulags, are the prisons for the Party’s political enemies, a method which was utilized and depended on heavily by both Hitler and Stalin. Prisoners of war and doomed citizens were forced into slave labor or death at...

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