What does "War is Peace" really mean, according to Goldstein?

Expert Answers
luannw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In chapter 9, of part 2, Goldstein's book explains that "War is Peace" means that war affects a relatively few people, mostly those experts who are doing the actual fighting on the front lines.  The rest of the people go on living their lives in relative peacefullness despite the occasional heinous act committed against citizens such as raping, looting, and murdering.  Goldstein says that all sides in the wars are equally equipped, with no side having more supplies or power than another and that the ideals aren't markedly different among any of them, so war has no conclusion because there can be no winner when everything is even.  He goes on to say that the real purpose of warfare in their society is to use up the supplies, the products of what society makes, without raising the standard of living for anyone.  By keeping the citizens busy churning out the equipment needed to fight the on-going wars, the citizens are kept employed.  This keeps them peaceful because they are too busy working to examine their lives and too busy to realize how their lives might be different or better.  The Party wants to keep its citizens fed, but not filled; that is, they want people to have enough to keep them going but not enough for them to become too comfortable. The Party wants to keep the people in a state of feeling like they need to keep on working harder and harder so that they can get the basic things they need to survive and they can avoid deprivation.  The continual churning out of supplies for war ensures this.  The Party ultimately strives for control of citizens' movements and even more, they strive for control of the citizens' thoughts.