1984 Parallels With The Soviet Union
George Orwell is an author who wrote the book 1984 and Animal Farm, two famous Dystopian novels. But what is a dystopian novel? A dystopian novel is where the author writes about a society being oppressed or terrorized from a group of people or person(Jennifer Kendall). Typically in dystopian novels, we are shown a character who don’t agree with the government structure and tend to rebel against them. Although dystopian novels are fictional, it doesn’t mean that it can’t happen in real life. Moving forward, in 1984, Orwell writes about a character named
Winston living in Oceania. Winston begins to have various realization on how corrupt his government really is. Oceania is structured respectively by the following: Big Brother, The Party, and the rest of the people living in Oceania. Oceania is controlled by Big Brother, which no one knows who he really is or if he’s an actual person. Then, The Party is there to enforce that everyone in Oceania follows Big Brother’s orders. Winston, on the other hand, is the character who goes against the Big Brother but that does not end up lasting.
Orwell wrote 1984 to warn us about how future governments may control their society or how a society may trap themselves within their government. Orwell also believes that no form of government should be mimic as the one that he wrote of. Today and through history we are able to see similar parallels between Oceania and other countries, more specifically The Soviet Union. Parallels that exist between the the Soviet Union and The Party (or Oceania) in 1984 are: both being a superstate, both having similar form of punishments, industrialization, collectivism and propaganda towards their leader. While all of these not being one hundred percent the exact same, we can still see that The Soviet Union almost represents a totalitarian government after the book 1984 was written.
- 1 Superstate
- 2 Punishment
- 3 Industrialization
- 4 Collectivization
- 5 Propaganda
In 1984, Oceania was a superstate that was made up from the Americas and Great Britain that was referred as Airstrip One. Similarly, The Soviet Union was made up of 15 countries including: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belorussia, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizija, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan (Soviet Union). The Soviet Union was the biggest of its time which was able to maintain control of the nation. A superstate is a large group of land that is made up of many states or countries and is under the rule of a government or one person such as Big Brother. In the case of the Soviet Union, the land was ruled by Joseph Stalin.
The Soviet Union parallels to Oceania because they are both considered superstates. In the article of A Map of George Orwell’s “1984” it states that a superstate is: “Oceania covers the entire continents of America and Oceania and the British Isles, the main location for the novel, in which they are referred to as ‘Airstrip One’. Eurasia covers Europe and (more or less) the entire Soviet Union. Eastasia covers Japan, Korea, China and northern India”(A Map of George Orwell’s “1984”). Big Brother and Joseph Stalin both had pretty big jobs in running a whole superstate. They had to maintain control while managing a whole nation and making sure that they will remain in control. As we can, the Soviet Union was made up of many different countries. As in 1984, Oceania was made up of many land and was only separated into three different superstates.
Joseph Stalin was known for the mistreatment of his citizens whenever they were not following his orders. Stalin used violence to create the fear within his superstate to show his citizens that he will be able to maintain the power he had. Stalin created a threat to any person who wanted to threat him or was agreeing to his orders. That threat was to be killed or being beaten. Stalin did not tolerate peasants who did not listen to him which made him sure that those people did spread the message and cut them short.
The Soviet Union use of punishment parallels with The Party’s method of torture because they both harmed their citizens violently. In the book 1984, orwell writes, “There was a period of blackness and then the cell, or room, in which he now was had gradually materialized round him. He was almost flat on his back, and unable to move. His body was held down at every essential point. Even the back of his head was gripped in some manner”(Orwell 244-245). Torture in 1984 was to get the people from Oceania to follow Big Brother. Winston was given torture when the Thought Police found out that he was with an affair with another member of Oceania. Big Brother prohibited any love since he strongly believed in hatred which caused Julia and Winston to be tortured. Torture wasn’t as bad as Stalin, Julia and Winston were both hit and brainwashed in order to become better citizens of Oceania. Differently, Stalin eliminated any citizen who was not giving the best work but instead of using torture, Stalin used violence to again create fear within them.
During War World II, the Soviet Union grew industrial wise. The Soviet Union was a place were Stalin told his citizens what they needed to work on in order to make himself a stronger leader. The First Five Year Plan was used to get the nation ahead of other nations. However, Stalin used peasants, or the low income community, to work in agriculture. Stalin wanted more production therefore, he traded what the peasants produced to get machinery. While all of this was happening, Stalin made the workers believe that what they were doing was a good thing and were motivated to produce more.
The Soviet Union and Oceania have parallels in industrialization because the work that was put in the nations, the citizens did not get much in return. In the article of Collectivization and Industrialization states,“All industry and services were nationalized, managers were given predetermined output quotas by central planners, and trade unions were converted into mechanisms for increasing worker productivity”( Collectivization and Industrialization). Orwell writes about how Freedom is Slavery (1984) which is the exact same thing that Stalin did. Stalin made the peasant work really hard so he can get all the machines while everyone else did not get anything. This is similar in 1984. The Big Brother tells everyone in Oceania that because of their hard work they will get more food. However thats was not the case. Both leaders not giving anything in return, makes them have similarities with one another.
As mentioned before, the First Five-Year plan was settled in through Stalin. Through this act, Stalin was able to gain more power by getting the necessary production that the peasant gave him. Many of these peasants refused to work which eventually caused to be punished just like it was talked previously. Stalin wanted to get the power necessary to get away with his own doing in order to get rid of the Communist Party which were one of the few that opposed them (Joseph Stalin). Therefore, collectivization was there to help out Stalin get above every nation.
Parallels that exist between 1984 and the Soviet Union is collectivization because both leaders, Big Brother and Stalin, tricked their citizens to become the real citizens they wanted them to be. In the article of Collectivization it states, “Output fell, but the government, nevertheless, extracted the large amounts of agricultural products it needed to acquire the capital for industrial investment; this caused a major famine in the countryside (1932–33) and the deaths of millions of peasants”(Collectivization). Although in 1984 the proles, lower income community, didn’t have anything to be taken away from, Big Brother didn’t allow no one from the middle class to get to the high class rank, or with the Party. In Stalin’s case, he wanted to keep on taking away from the peasants while he was gaining heroism in return.
The Soviet Union used a lot of propaganda in order to the their citizens what the New Soviet Person. Therefore, Stalin used many of his own methods to have control on what his citizens saw. During this time, the use of propaganda were posters to promote heroism and pride (PBS). On these posters, it was usually cartoons to promote this idea of heroism and pride. Stalin wanted his citizens to be proud citizens and by doing so, some posters encourage the the workers that their work was making them a better person and helping out.
The Soviet Union use of propaganda parallels to 1984 by limiting the citizens what they were able to see because both leaders did not wanted to see their citizens to against the government. In 1984, we are given what Ministry took care of what the people in Oceania saw by stating, “The Ministry of Truth, which concerned itself with news, entertainment, education, and the fine arts. The Ministry of Peace, which concerned itself with war. The Ministry of Love, which maintained law and order. And the Ministry of Plenty, which was responsible for economic affairs”(Orwell 4). Orwell writes about how Big Brother took control on what people saw. For example, Big Brother always gave the idea that freedom is slavery (1984) and made the people believe that. In the case of Stalin, he also wanted the peasants to work as hard to get the production that he needed. Stalin and Big Brother both used propaganda to maintain in control through posters in the Soviet Union and through Telescreens in Oceania.
The Soviet Union and Oceania are both really similar. Orwell wrote 1984 to aware us about how each government can be different. In conclusion, the Soviet Union and 1984 both have similarities on how they are both superstates, the type of punishments, industrialization, collectivism and propaganda. In the case of his fictional place and an actual place, we are able to see many parallels regarding how the two type of government controlled. However, Orwell does not only warns us about the form of government, he also wants us to think about today’s present telescreens that almost everyone carries inside their pocket.
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