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Doublethink is the ability to hold two contrasting ideas, themes, arguments at the same time, i.e. to believe that one thing and its opposite are both true; doublespeak is its speech counterpart, physically uttered by a member of the Inner Party. In 1984, it is elevated to political custom because it allows complete manipulation of the masses: the slogans are perfect examples: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” However, the book does not depict a distant reality: scenes and situations were taken from the political arena at the time of writing (1948-49). Doublethink is a direct product of Stalin’s propaganda in the USSR, especially in the 30s. Stalin came out a victor over the Nazis at the end of World War II even if he had struck a non-aggression deal with Hitler (known as “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact”). Obviously, there have been disconcerting cases in very recent years, such as the war in Iraq - which was hailed as an attempt to bring democracy to a dictatorial state through the epitome of violence. Guantánamo is also a striking instance of doublethink: Mr Bush ordered the incarceration of many people without trial ostensibly to protect our civil rights. Doublethink constitutes the bone of political discourse; 1984 is all the more important as a book exactly because it increases our awareness of this process.
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