According to the book, what is really going on with the war and why?
The true purpose of the war that Oceania is fighting is not to defeat some other country or to take new territory or anything like that. Instead, the whole point of the war is to keep the party in power.
War helps keep the party in power in a couple of ways:
- It unites the people in their hatred of the enemy. In this way, the war is sort of like Goldstein -- it's useful to have a focus for hate so everyone can feel like they're in it together.
- It destroys a lot of material goods. If there weren't a war going on, a lot of goods would be produced and not destroyed. The people would be able to buy the goods and enjoy them. At that point, they would no longer be equal to each other because some would have more than others. In addition, people might get too well off and be able to enjoy life, which the party is trying to prevent.