1984 Against Totalitarianism and for Democratic Socialism

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"In the essay Why I Write, Orwell explains that all the serious work he wrote since the Spanish Civil War in 1936 was "written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism."[12] Indeed, Nineteen Eighty-Four is an anti-totalitarian cautionary tale about the betrayal of a revolution by its defenders. He already had stated distrust of totalitarianism and betrayed revolutions in Homage to Catalonia and Animal Farm. Coming Up For Air, at points, celebrates the personal and political freedoms lost in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Much of Oceanic society is based upon Stalin's Soviet Union. The "Two Minutes' Hate" was the ritual demonisation of State enemies and rivals; Big Brother resembles Joseph Stalin; the Party's archenemy, Emmanuel Goldstein, resembles Leon Trotsky (both are Jewish, both have the same physiognomy, and Trotsky's real surname was 'Bronstein'). Another suggested inspiration for Goldstein is Emma Goldman, the famous Anarchist figure. Doctored photography is a propaganda technique and the creation of unpersons in the story, analogous to Stalin's enemies being made nonpersons and being erased from official photographic records; the police treatment of several characters recalls the Moscow Trials of the Great Purge.

Biographer Michael Shelden notes these influences: the Edwardian world of his childhood in Henley — for the golden country; being bullied at St. Cyprian's — empathy with victims; his policeman's life in the Indian Burma Police — the techniques of violence; and suffering censorship in the BBC — capriciously-wielded authority.[13]

Specific literary influences include Darkness at Noon and The Yogi and the Commissar by Arthur Koestler, The Iron Heel (1908) by Jack London; Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley; We (1921) by Yevgeny Zamyatin, which Orwell read in French and reviewed in 1946;[14] and The Managerial Revolution (1940) by James Burnham, predicting permanent war among three totalitarian superstates,...
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