WARFARE in "1984"

War is Purpose

Theme of Warfare in "1984"

We learn a lot about warfare and how the government uses it in "1984". The main theme we can get from the book is that the government can use warfare and other tactics to create a diversion between the people and the truth in order to gain public support and power.


In the book the Party has this huge "fake war" or "battle" going on between all of the superstates. This has many purposes that all benefit the power of the Party. Having a huge war takes the citizens mind's off of things and focuses it on the war. All of the two minute hates on the screens stir up the citizens by showing them pictures and videos of the war, and coming up with fake stories and announcements of Oceania. These stories consist of little battles and victories against the other superstates. Without all of this in "1984" the people would have no purpose or place in society. It would give them a chance to think freely and understand the Party, and rebellion could take place. This is why constant, never ending war goes on, to put the people in bad poverty so they are forced to turn to the government for support. Politics today often use similar tactics to try and convince the public opinion.

Government Today

How does the government today use similar tactics to gain public support? This is easy to understand if you relate this to telling someone a funny story. When telling the story, if you tell exactly what happened it may be boring, it may have no "punch line". However if you twist the story around a bit, or add some spice to it, it may make people laugh and find enjoyment. When they experience these things they are more likely to believe you, rather than think about how unlikely it is, or if the story is actually true. The government does this with the media. Stories and events that take place may all not necessarily be true, they just add a bit of Hollywood to it to catch the eyes of the public. In "1984" the Party does these similar acts with warfare, making up fake stories and events to gain public support from the people and to further blind them from the truth.

Related Quotes

In the book it states "Winston could not definitely remember a time when his country had not been at war, but it was evident that there had been a fairly long interval of peace during his childhood, because one of his early memories was of an air raid which appeared to take everyone by surprise. Perhaps it was the time when the atomic bomb had fallen on Colchester. He did not remember the raid itself" (Part 1, Ch. 3, 12.) This tells us that for as long as Winston could remember, there has always been some type or form of fighting or conflict between Oceania and other countries. Winston can't remember how anything has started or what caused Oceania to go into war. This shows that by manipulating the truth and using certain tactics to make the people believe they are at war, eventually they will lose memory. The people will lose memory to the past because "war" and how the Party is always "in the right" becomes all they have ever known.
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