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Oceania is in a constant state of war. The enemy nation may shift from one country to another, but the state of war continues.
Early in the novel, Winston recalls that:
Oceania was at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia yesterday, and not vice versa.
War is a tool of the state in this novel, helping the government to control its population through fear, blind hate, and nationalism. As a post-World War II novel, Orwell's book reflects a fear that perpetual war may become a reality in which citizens are manipulated into obediance, made subject to sweeping fears of violent outbreaks or attack.
Winston reflects on the state of war in the narrative and receives a full account of the government's position from O'Brien.
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