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One of the ideas prevalent in 1984 is the idea of the government controlling the people. When Winston is talking to Julia about the war, she expresses the opinion that it is not real. “The rocket bombs which fell daily on London were probably fired by the government of Oceania ‘just to keep the people frightened’” (Part Two, Chapter V). The population does not know why they are at war, or how long exactly the war has been going on, but the daily rocket bombs definitely keep them in line. In a sense, this is an example of how War is Peace.
Orwell suggests that the reason for war is to use up resources in order to keep the masses in poverty. In the chapter entitled “War is Peace,” he says,
“The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces…materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent” (Part Two, Chapter IX).
The author tells us that war is a way of keeping the large majority of the society ignorant, while at the same time forcing them to give the power to a select few.
“…at the same time, the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival” (Part Two, Chapter IX).
The bulk of the citizens are fearful of the war and do not understand it; as a result, they give up their power to the government, assuming it will protect them. In reality, this is a ploy by the government to keep them fearful, and as a result, peaceful.
“The war is waged against each ruling group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society intact” (Part Two, Chapter IX).
In short, the government uses war to make its citizens so afraid that they surrender their power, and powerless citizens remain malleable. War, therefore, is peace.
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