Oceania (Nineteen Eighty-Four)
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George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is characterised by lucid prose, social criticism, opposition to totalitar ...
's 1949
dystopia A dystopia (from Ancient Greek δυσ- "bad, hard" and τόπος "place"; alternatively cacotopiaCacotopia (from κακός ''kakos'' "bad") was the term used by Jeremy Bentham in his 1818 Plan of Parliamentary Reform (Works, vol. 3, p. 493). ...
n novel ''
Nineteen Eighty-Four ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' (also stylised as ''1984'') is a dystopian social science fiction novel and cautionary tale written by the English writer George Orwell. It was published on 8 June 1949 by Secker & Warburg as Orwell's ninth and final ...
'', the world is divided into three
superstate A superstate is defined as "a large and powerful state formed when several smaller countries unite", or "A large and powerful state formed from a federation or union of nations", or "a hybrid form of polity that combines features of ancient emp ...
s: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia, who are all fighting each other in a
perpetual war Perpetual war, endless war, or a forever war, is a lasting state of war with no clear conditions that would lead to its conclusion. These wars are situations of ongoing tension that may escalate at any moment, similar to the Cold War. From the l ...
in a disputed area called the Equatorial Front. All that Oceania's citizens know about the world is whatever the Party wants them to know, so how the world evolved into the three states is unknown; and it is also unknown to the reader whether they actually exist in the novel's reality, or whether they are a storyline invented by the Party to advance social control. The nations appear to have emerged from
nuclear warfare Nuclear warfare, also known as atomic warfare, is a theoretical military conflict or prepared political strategy that deploys nuclear weaponry. Nuclear weapons are weapons of mass destruction; in contrast to conventional warfare, nuclear ...
and civil dissolution over 20 years between 1945 and 1965, in a post-war world where totalitarianism becomes the predominant form of ideology, through Neo-Bolshevikism, IngSoc, and Obliteration of the Self.


Sourcing

What is known of the society, politics and economics of Oceania, and its rivals, comes from the in-universe book, ''
The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism ''The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism'' is a fictional book in George Orwell's dystopian novel ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' (1949). The book was supposedly written by Emmanuel Goldstein, the principal enemy of the state of Ocean ...
'' by
Emmanuel Goldstein Emmanuel Goldstein is a fictional character in George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel ''Nineteen Eighty-Four''. He is the principal enemy of the state according to the Party of the totalitarian Oceania. He is depicted as the head of a mysterious ...
. The protagonist of ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'',
Winston Smith Winston Smith may refer to: People * Winston Smith (artist) (born 1952), American artist * Winston Smith (athlete) (born 1982), Olympic track and field athlete * Winston Boogie Smith (born ), American man killed by law enforcement in 2021 * Winst ...
, describes it as "a heavy black volume, amateurishly bound, with no name or title on the cover. The print also looked slightly irregular. The pages were worn at the edges, and fell apart easily, as though the book had passed through many hands." The book is a literary device Orwell uses to connect the past and present of 1984. Orwell intended Goldstein's book to
parody A parody, also known as a spoof, a satire, a send-up, a take-off, a lampoon, a play on (something), or a caricature, is a creative work designed to imitate, comment on, and/or mock its subject by means of satiric or ironic imitation. Often its subj ...
Trotsky Lev Davidovich Bronstein. ( – 21 August 1940), better known as Leon Trotsky; uk, link= no, Лев Давидович Троцький; also transliterated ''Lyev'', ''Trotski'', ''Trotskij'', ''Trockij'' and ''Trotzky''. (), was a Russian M ...
's (on whom Goldstein is based) '' The Revolution Betrayed: What is the Soviet Union and Where is it Going?'', published in 1937.


Descriptions


Oceania

Oceania was founded following an anti-capitalist revolution, which, while intended to be the ultimate liberation of its
proletariat The proletariat (; ) is the social class of wage-earners, those members of a society whose only possession of significant economic value is their labour power (their capacity to work). A member of such a class is a proletarian. Marxist philo ...
(proles), soon ignored them. It is stated that Oceania formed after the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territorie ...
merged with the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates, and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It began with the overseas possessions and trading posts esta ...
. The text, however, does not indicate how the Party obtained the power it possesses or when it did so. The state is composed of "the
Americas The Americas, which are sometimes collectively called America, are a landmass comprising the totality of North and South America. The Americas make up most of the land in Earth's Western Hemisphere and comprise the New World. Along with th ...
, the
Atlantic Islands This is a list of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the largest of which is Greenland. Note that the definition of the ocean used by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) excludes the seas, gulfs, bays, etc., bordering the ocean itself. ...
, including the
British Isles The British Isles are a group of islands in the North Atlantic Ocean off the north-western coast of continental Europe, consisting of the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, the Northern Isles, ...
,
Australasia Australasia is a region that comprises Australia, New Zealand and some neighbouring islands in the Pacific Ocean. The term is used in a number of different contexts, including geopolitically, physiogeographically, philologically, and ecologica ...
and the southern portion of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area ...
". Oceania's
political system In political science, a political system means the type of political organization that can be recognized, observed or otherwise declared by a state. It defines the process for making official government decisions. It usually comprizes the govern ...
, Ingsoc (English Socialism), uses a
cult of personality A cult of personality, or a cult of the leader, Mudde, Cas and Kaltwasser, Cristóbal Rovira (2017) ''Populism: A Very Short Introduction''. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 63. is the result of an effort which is made to create an id ...
to venerate the ruler, Big Brother, as the Inner Party exercises day-to-day power. Food rationing, which does not affect Inner Party members, is in place. Winston considers the geography as now stands:
" en the names of countries, and their shapes on the map, had been different. Airstrip One, for instance, had not been so called in those days: it had been called England, or Britain, though
London London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary down to the North Sea, and has been a majo ...
, he felt fairly certain, had always been called London."
The countryside outside of London is a place not for enjoying the contrast with the city but rather for purely practical grounds of exercise. Oceania is made up by provinces, one of which is "Airstrip One", as Britain is now known. The whole province is "miserable and run-down" with London consisting, almost solely, of "decaying suburbs". Airstrip One is the third most populous province in Oceania; but London is not the capital, for Oceania has none. This decentralisation enables the Party to ensure that each province of Oceania feels itself to be the centre of affairs; and it prevents them from feeling colonised, for there is no distant capital to focus discontent on. 85% of Oceania's population are proles, with most of the remainder in the Outer Party; a tiny number rule as members of the Inner Party. Winston yearns for revolution and a return to a time before Oceania, says Craig L. Carr; but he realises that "no revolution is possible in Oceania. History, in Hegelian terms, has ended. There will be no political transformations in Oceania: political change has ended because Big Brother will not let it happen". No political collapse is possible in Oceania, suggests Carr, because the government will not allow it, regardless of internal or external pressures. A totalitarian and highly formalised state, Oceania also has no law, only crimes, says Lynskey. Nothing is illegal; social pressure is used to exert control, in place of law. It is hard for citizens to know when they are in breach of Party expectations; and they are in a state of permanent anxiety, unable to think too deeply on any subject whatsoever so as to avoid "thoughtcrime". For example, Winston begins to write a diary and does not know if this is a forbidden offence, but he is reasonably certain of it. In Oceania, to think is to do and no distinction is drawn between either. Criticism of the state is forbidden, even though criticism must be constant for the state's survival, since it must have critics to destroy so as to demonstrate the state's power. Governance of Oceania depends upon the necessity of suppressing freedom of thought or original thinking amongst the Outer Party (the proles are exempted from this as they are deemed incapable of having ideas). The state is highly bureaucratic. Winston notes that myriad committees are responsible for administration and are "liable to hold up even the mending of a window-pane for two years". The rulers of Oceania, the Inner Party, says Winston, were once the
intelligentsia The intelligentsia is a status class composed of the university-educated people of a society who engage in the complex mental labours by which they critique, shape, and lead in the politics, policies, and culture of their society; as such, the in ...
, the "bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians". The state's
national anthem A national anthem is a patriotic musical composition symbolizing and evoking eulogies of the history and traditions of a country or nation. The majority of national anthems are marches or hymns in style. American, Central Asian, and European n ...
is ''Oceania, 'Tis for Thee''. The official currency of Oceania is the
dollar Dollar is the name of more than 20 currencies. They include the Australian dollar, Brunei dollar, Canadian dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Jamaican dollar, Liberian dollar, Namibian dollar, New Taiwan dollar, New Zealand dollar, Singapore dollar, U ...
; in Airstrip One, the
pound sterling Sterling (abbreviation: stg; Other spelling styles, such as STG and Stg, are also seen. ISO code: GBP) is the currency of the United Kingdom and nine of its associated territories. The pound ( sign: £) is the main unit of sterling, and t ...
has been
demonetised Legal tender is a form of money that courts of law are required to recognize as satisfactory payment for any monetary debt. Each jurisdiction determines what is legal tender, but essentially it is anything which when offered ("tendered") in pa ...
.


Eurasia and Eastasia

Eurasia comprises "the whole of the northern part of the
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a Continent#Subcontinents, subcontinent of Eurasia ...
an and Asiatic landmass from
Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country whose mainland is located on the Iberian Peninsula of Southwestern Europe, and whose territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of ...
to the Bering Strait." Eurasia was formed after the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, it was nominally a federal union of fifteen national ...
annexed continental Europe. Eastasia consists of "
China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the world's most populous country, with a population exceeding 1.4 billion, slightly ahead of India. China spans the equivalent of five time zones and ...
and the countries south to it, the
Japanese islands The Japanese archipelago (Japanese: 日本列島, ''Nihon rettō'') is a group of 6,852 islands that form the country of Japan, as well as the Russian island of Sakhalin. It extends over from the Sea of Okhotsk in the northeast to the East China ...
, and a large but fluctuating portion of
Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym (derived from the endo demonym " Manchu") for a historical and geographic region in Northeast Asia encompassing the entirety of present-day Northeast China (Inner Manchuria) and parts of the Russian Far East (Outer Manc ...
,
Mongolia Mongolia; Mongolian script: , , ; lit. "Mongol Nation" or "State of Mongolia" () is a landlocked country in East Asia, bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south. It covers an area of , with a population of just 3.3 million, ...
and
Tibet Tibet (; ''Böd''; ) is a region in East Asia, covering much of the Tibetan Plateau and spanning about . It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people. Also resident on the plateau are some other ethnic groups such as Monpa people, ...
." Eastasia was formed a decade after Eurasia and Oceania, in the 1960s, after "confused fighting" between its predecessor nations. The ideology of Eurasia is Neo-Bolshevism, and that of Eastasia is called Obliteration of the Self, also known as Death-Worship. These states' populations also primarily consist of proles. Winston recognises similarities with the other superstates, at one point commenting that "it was curious to think that the sky was the same for everybody, In Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were very much the same."


International relations

The three states have been at war with each other since the 1960s. By 1984 it has become a constant, and they regularly change allegiance with each other. Each state is self-supporting so they do not war over natural resources, nor is the destruction of the opponent the primary objective; for, even when two states ally against the third, no combination is powerful enough to do so. Each state recognises that science is responsible for its over-production, so science must be carefully controlled lest the proles or Outer Party expect an increased standard of living. From this analysis stems the policy of permanent warfare: by focusing production on arms and
materiel Materiel (; ) refers to supplies, equipment, and weapons in military supply-chain management, and typically supplies and equipment in a commercial supply chain context. In a military context, the term ''materiel'' refers either to the specifi ...
(rather than
consumer goods A final good or consumer good is a final product ready for sale that is used by the consumer to satisfy current wants or needs, unlike a intermediate good, which is used to produce other goods. A microwave oven or a bicycle is a final good, but ...
) each state can keep its population impoverished and willing to sacrifice personal liberties for the greater good. The peoples of these states—subject to shortages, queues, poor infrastructure and food— "are no longer domesticated or even able to be domesticated" says Carr. These states all are similar monolithic regimes. Historian Mark Connelly notes that "the beliefs may differ, but their purpose is the same, to justify and maintain the unquestioned leadership of a totalitarian elite". Due to the sheer size of the protagonists, there are, says Connelly, no "massive invasions claiming hundreds of thousands of lives", but instead small-scale, local encounters and conflicts which are then exaggerated for the purposes of domestic propaganda. Connelly describes the fighting between the states as "highly technical, involving small units of highly trained individuals waging battles in remote contested regions". All sides once possessed nuclear weapons, but, following a short-lived resort to them in the 1950s (in which
Colchester Colchester ( ) is a city in Essex, in the East of England. It had a population of 122,000 in 2011. The demonym is Colcestrian. Colchester occupies the site of Camulodunum, the first major city in Roman Britain and its first capital. Colches ...
was hit) they were recognised as too dangerous for any of them to use. As a result, says Connelly, although London could have been destroyed by a nuclear weapon in 1984, it was never hit by anything worse–albeit "20 or 30 times a week"–than "rocketbombs", themselves no more powerful than the
V-1 V1, V01 or V-1 can refer to version one (for anything) (e.g., see version control) V1, V01 or V-1 may also refer to: In aircraft * V-1 flying bomb, a World War II German weapon * V1 speed, the maximum speed at which an aircraft pilot may abort ...
s or
V-2 The V-2 (german: Vergeltungswaffe 2, lit=Retaliation Weapon 2), with the technical name ''Aggregat 4'' (A-4), was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile. The missile, powered by a liquid-propellant rocket engine, was develope ...
s of World War Two. At any moment, however, an alliance could shift and the two states that had previously been at war with each other may suddenly ally against the other. When this happened, the past immediately had to be re-written—newspapers retyped, new photos glued over old—to provide continuity. In many cases that which contradicted the state was simply destroyed. This occurs during Oceania's
Hate Week Hate Week is a fictional event in George Orwell's 1949 dystopian novel ''Nineteen Eighty-Four''. Hate Week is a psychological operation designed to increase the hatred of the population for the current enemy of the totalitarian Party, as much ...
, when it is announced that the state is at war with Eastasia and allied to Eurasia, despite the assembled crowd—including Winston and Julia—having just witnessed the executions of Eurasian prisoners of war. Winston describes how, when the announcer spoke, "nothing altered in his voice or manner or in the content of what he was saying, but suddenly the names were different". Orwell describes the war as one of "limited aims between combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference". These wars, suggests the writer
Roberta Kalechofsky Roberta Kalechofsky (born May 11, 1931 – April 5, 2022) was an American writer, feminist and animal rights activist, focusing on the issue of animal rights within Judaism and the promotion of vegetarianism within the Jewish community. She was t ...
, "stimulate the news or 'the truth'".


Analysis

The superstates of ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' are recognisably based in the world Orwell and his contemporaries knew while being distorted into a dystopia. Oceania for example, argues the critic Alok Rai, "is a known country", because, while a totalitarian regime set in an alternate reality, that reality is still recognisable to the reader. The state of Oceania comprises concepts, phrases and attitudes that have been recycled—"endlessly drawn upon"—ever since the book was published. They are also though, argues the critic Craig L. Carr, places where "things have gone horribly and irreparably wrong". Each state is self-supporting and self-enclosed:
emigration Emigration is the act of leaving a resident country or place of residence with the intent to settle elsewhere (to permanently leave a country). Conversely, immigration describes the movement of people into one country from another (to permanentl ...
and
immigration Immigration is the international movement of people to a destination country of which they are not natives or where they do not possess citizenship in order to settle as permanent residents or naturalized citizens. Commuters, tourists, and ...
are forbidden, as are
international trade International trade is the exchange of capital, goods, and services across international borders or territories because there is a need or want of goods or services. (see: World economy) In most countries, such trade represents a significant ...
and the learning of foreign languages. Winston suspects, also, that the war exists for the Party's sake, and questions if it is taking place at all, and that the bombs which daily fell on London could have been launched by the Party itself "just to keep people frightened", he considers. The reader is told, through Winston, that the world has not always been this way, and indeed, once was much better; on one occasion with Julia, she produces a bar of old-fashioned
chocolate Chocolate is a food made from roasted and ground cacao seed kernels that is available as a liquid, solid, or paste, either on its own or as a flavoring agent in other foods. Cacao has been consumed in some form since at least the Olmec civ ...
—what the Party issued tasted "like the smoke from a rubbish fire"—and it brought back childhood memories from before Oceania's creation. Craig Carr argues that, in creating Oceania and the other warring states, Orwell was not predicting the future, but warning of a possible future if things carried on as they did. In other words, it was also something which could be avoided. Carr continues:


Contemporary interpretations

Economist Christopher Dent argued in 2002 that Orwell's vision of Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia "turned out to be only partially true. Many of the post-war totalitarian states have toppled, but a tripolar division of global economic and political power is certainly apparent". That is divided, he suggested, between Europe, the United States and Japan. Scholar, Christopher Behrends, has commented that the proliferation of US airbases in Britain in the 1980s echoes Orwell's classification of the country as an airbase into the European theatre. The legal scholar, Wolfgang Friedmann, argued that the growth of supra-state organisations such as the
Organisation of American States The Organization of American States (OAS; es, Organización de los Estados Americanos, pt, Organização dos Estados Americanos, french: Organisation des États américains; ''OEA'') is an international organization that was founded on 30 April ...
, "corresponding to the super-states of Orwell's ''1984''... change would be from the power balances of numerous big and small national states to the more massive and potentially more destructive balance of power between two or three blocs of super-Powers". Similarly, in 2007, giving evidence to the UK's
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. ...
'
European Scrutiny Committee The European Scrutiny Committee is a select committee of the House of Commons in the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Following Britain's withdrawal from the European Union in January 2020 and the end of the transition period on 31 December 202 ...
, the
UK Independence Party The UK Independence Party (UKIP; ) is a Eurosceptic, right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. The party reached its greatest level of success in the mid-2010s, when it gained two members of Parliament and was the largest par ...
group in the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and informally as the Council of Ministers), it adopts ...
argued that the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a President. It includes an administrative body o ...
's stated aim to make Europe a "World Partner" should be taken to read "Europe as a World Power!", and likened it to Orwell's Eurasia. The group also suggested that the germ of Orwell's superstates could already be found in organisations such as, not only the EU, but
ASEAN ASEAN ( , ), officially the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is a political and economic union of 10 member states in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, militar ...
and
FTAA The Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) was a proposed agreement to eliminate or reduce the trade barriers among all countries in the Americas, excluding Cuba. Negotiations to establish the FTAA ended in failure, however, with all parties unab ...
. Further, the group suggested that the long wars then being waged by American forces against enemies they helped originally create, such as in
Baluchistan Balochistan ( ; bal, بلۏچستان; also romanised as Baluchistan and Baluchestan) is a historical region in Western and South Asia, located in the Iranian plateau's far southeast and bordering the Indian Plate and the Arabian Sea coastline. ...
, were also signs of a germinal 1984-style superstate. Lynskey writes how, in 1949, while Orwell was ill but ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' complete, "the post-war order took shape. In April, a dozen Western nations formed NATO. In August, Russia successfully detonated its first atom bomb in the Kazakh Steppe. In October,
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (26 December 1893 – 9 September 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the founder of the People's Republic of China (PRC) ...
established the People's Republic of China...Oceania, Eurasia, Eastasia." The campaign associated with the allegations about domestic communism in post-war America, known as
McCarthyism McCarthyism is the practice of making false or unfounded accusations of subversion and treason, especially when related to anarchism, communism and socialism, and especially when done in a public and attention-grabbing manner. The term origin ...
, has been compared to the process by which the states of ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' re-write their history, in a process that the political philosopher
Joseph Gabel Joseph Gabel (12 July 1912 in Budapest – 15 June 2004 in Paris) was a French Hungarian-born sociology, sociologist and philosophy, philosopher. His work was always strongly influenced by Marxism; he was against Stalinism and critical of the work ...
labelled "time mastery". Similarly, Winston and Julia's attempts to contact, and await contact from, members of the secret organisation called the Brotherhood, have been compared to the political strategy of
Kremlinology Kremlinology is the study and analysis of the politics and policies of the Soviet Union while Sovietology is the study of politics and policies of both the Soviet Union and former communist states more generally. These two terms were synonymous unt ...
, whereby Western powers studied minute changes in the Soviet government in an attempt to foresee events. The states' permanent low-level war is similar, says scholar Ian Slater, to that in Vietnam, except that, in Orwell's imagination, the war is never-ending. Oceania, suggests Rai, with its labyrinthine bureaucracy, was comparable to the post-war Labour government, which found itself in control of what he terms the "extensive apparatus of economic direction and control" that had been set up to regulate supply at the beginning of the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great powers—forming two opposin ...
. London, too, as described by Winston, is a perfect match, according to Rai, for the post-war city: In a review of the book in 1950, Symons notes that the gritty, uncomfortable world of Oceania was very familiar to Orwell's readers: the plain food, milkless tea and harsh alcohol were the staples of wartime rationing which, in many cases, had continued after the war. Critic
Irving Howe Irving Howe (; June 11, 1920 – May 5, 1993) was an American literary and social critic and a prominent figure of the Democratic Socialists of America. Early years Howe was born as Irving Horenstein in The Bronx, New York. He was the son o ...
argues that, since then, other events and countries
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia. It constitutes the northern half of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and shares borders with China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Y ...
, for example—have demonstrated how close Oceania can be. Oceania is, he suggests, "both unreal and inescapable, a creation based on what we know, but not quite recognisable". Lynskey suggests that Oceania's anthem, "Oceania, Tis For Thee", is a direct reference to the United States (from "
America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee) "America (My Country, 'Tis of Thee)" is an American patriotic song, the lyrics of which were written by Samuel Francis Smith. The song served as one of the ''de facto'' national anthems of the United States (along with songs like "Hail, Columb ...
"), as is also, he suggests, the use of the
dollar sign The dollar sign, also known as peso sign, is a symbol consisting of a capital " S" crossed with one or two vertical strokes ($ or ), used to indicate the unit of various currencies around the world, including most currencies denominated "pes ...
as the Oceanian currency denominator.


Influences

The totalitarian states of ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'', although imaginary, were based partly on the real-life regimes of Hitler's Germany and
Stalin's Russia Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin (born Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili; – 5 March 1953) was a Georgian revolutionary and Soviet political leader who led the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. He held power as General Secreta ...
. Both regimes used techniques and tactics that Orwell later utilised in his novel: the re-writing of history, the cult of leadership personality, purges and show trials, for example. The author
Czesław Miłosz Czesław Miłosz (, also , ; 30 June 1911 – 14 August 2004) was a Polish-American poet, prose writer, translator, and diplomat. Regarded as one of the great poets of the 20th century, he won the 1980 Nobel Prize in Literature. In its citation ...
commented that, in his depictions of Oceanian society, "even those who know Orwell only by hearsay are amazed that a writer who has never lived in Russia should have so keen a perception of Russian life". From a purely literary standpoint, suggests
Julian Symons Julian Gustave Symons (originally Gustave Julian Symons) (pronounced ''SIMM-ons''; 30 May 1912 – 19 November 1994) was a British crime writer and poet. He also wrote social and military history, biography and studies of literature. He was bor ...
, the superstates of 1984 represent points along a path that also took Orwell from Burma to
Catalonia Catalonia (; ca, Catalunya ; Aranese Occitan: ''Catalonha'' ; es, Cataluña ) is an autonomous community of Spain, designated as a ''nationality'' by its Statute of Autonomy. Most of the territory (except the Val d'Aran) lies on the north ...
, Spain, and
Wigan Wigan ( ) is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, on the River Douglas, Lancashire, River Douglas. The town is midway between the two cities of Manchester, to the south-east, and Liverpool, to the south-west. Bolton lies to the nor ...
in England. In each location, argues Symons, characters are similarly confined a "tightly controlled, taboo-ridden" society, and are as suffocated by them as Winston is in Airstrip One. In ''The Road to Wigan Pier'', for example, Orwell examines working-class life in detail; the scene in 1984, where Winston observes a Prole woman hanging out her washing echoes the earlier book, where Orwell watches a woman, in the back area of a slum dwelling, attempting to clear a drain pipe with a stick. Orwell's own wartime role in the Ministry of Information saw him, says Rai, "experience at first hand the official manipulation of the flow of information, ironically, in the service of 'democracy' against 'totalitarianism'". He noted privately at the time that he could see totalitarian possibilities for the BBC that he would later provide for Oceania. Similarly, argues Lynskey, during the war Orwell had to make pro-Soviet broadcasts, lauding Britain's ally. After the war—but with a
cold one "Cold One" is a song co-written and recorded by American country music singer Eric Church. It was released in June 2014 as the third single from his 2014 album '' The Outsiders''. The song was written by Church, Luke Hutton and Jeff Hyde. Cont ...
looming—this became an image that needed swiftly to be discarded, and is, comments Lynskey, the historical origin of Oceania's ''bouleversement'' in its alliance during Hate Week.


Comparisons

The superstates of ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'' have been compared by literary scholars to other dystopian societies such as those created by
Aldous Huxley Aldous Leonard Huxley (26 July 1894 – 22 November 1963) was an English writer and philosopher. He wrote nearly 50 books, both novels and non-fiction works, as well as wide-ranging essays, narratives, and poems. Born into the prominent Huxley ...
in ''
Brave New World ''Brave New World'' is a dystopian novel by English author Aldous Huxley, written in 1931 and published in 1932. Largely set in a futuristic World State, whose citizens are environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarch ...
'',
Yevgeny Zamyatin Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin ( rus, Евге́ний Ива́нович Замя́тин, p=jɪvˈɡʲenʲɪj ɪˈvanəvʲɪtɕ zɐˈmʲætʲɪn; – 10 March 1937), sometimes anglicized as Eugene Zamyatin, was a Russian author of science fictio ...
's '' We'',
Franz Kafka Franz Kafka (3 July 1883 – 3 June 1924) was a German-speaking Bohemian novelist and short-story writer, widely regarded as one of the major figures of 20th-century literature. His work fuses elements of realism and the fantastic. It ...
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The Trial ''The Trial'' (german: Der Process, link=no, previously , and ) is a novel written by Franz Kafka in 1914 and 1915 and published posthumously on 26 April 1925. One of his best known works, it tells the story of Josef K., a man arrested and pr ...
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B. F. Skinner Burrhus Frederic Skinner (March 20, 1904 – August 18, 1990) was an American psychologist, behaviorist, author, inventor, and social philosopher. He was a professor of psychology at Harvard University from 1958 until his retirement in 1974. ...
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Walden II ''Walden Two'' is a utopian novel written by behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, first published in 1948. In its time, it could have been considered science fiction, since science-based methods for altering people's behavior did not yet exist ...
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Anthony Burgess John Anthony Burgess Wilson, (; 25 February 1917 – 22 November 1993), who published under the name Anthony Burgess, was an English writer and composer. Although Burgess was primarily a comic writer, his Utopian and dystopian fiction, d ...
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A Clockwork Orange ''A Clockwork Orange'' may refer to: * ''A Clockwork Orange'' (novel), a 1962 novel by Anthony Burgess ** ''A Clockwork Orange'' (film), a 1971 film directed by Stanley Kubrick based on the novel *** ''A Clockwork Orange'' (soundtrack), the film ...
'', although Orwell's bleak 1940s-style London differs fundamentally from Huxley's world of extensive technical progression or Zamyatin's science- and logic-based society. Dorian Lynskey, in his 2019 history book '' The Ministry of Truth'', also suggests that "equality and scientific progress, so crucial to ''We'', have no place in Orwell's static, hierarchical dictatorship; organised deceit, so fundamental to ''Nineteen Eighty-Four'', did not preoccupy Zamyatin".


Sources

{{DEFAULTSORT:Nations Of Nineteen Eighty-Four Fictional elements introduced in 1949 Fictional future countries Nineteen Eighty-Four