George Orwell’s 1984, published 1949, has become infamous for its terrifying description of a dystopian society in the year 1984. His decision to set the book in the near future and allude to real past events placed it definitively in time. Orwell was able to place 1984 in time by extrapolating from events that occurred around him. He looked at the pattern of history happening during his lifetime and followed it from 1944 to 1984, attempting to envision the future based off the past and present. This is why the book has remained relevant to this day: because it is based off our past. Because it is based in the past, the elements of Orwell’s dystopia and his reason for writing it cannot be completely understood without examining the world events happening around the time that 1984 was written. The early 1900s brought great change in political systems and technology, especially during World War II. Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia attempted to implement new political systems, socialism and communism, and the world watched as they grew into totalitarian governments using developing technology to maintain and expand power. In writing 1984, Orwell took this growth and allowed it to continue past the actual fall of these governments until the year 1984 to see the way society would exist. In this paper, I look at the development of technology and politics in early 1900s Germany to show how Orwell extrapolated from this development to create 1984’s society. Although there are many aspects of history in 1984, Nazi Germany embodies most of them and is used as a paradigm case for the sake of brevity.
In Orwell’s version of the year 1984, the world is split into three factions: Oceania, Eurasia, and Eastasia. The countries are controlled by ide…
… would be no different than Winston, unable to accurately document the present. 1984 serves as Orwell’s documentation of a present that never ended up happening, but one that seems forever looming due to its roots in a history the world is familiar with.
1″Nazism.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2013
2″World War II.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Oct. 2013. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
3Bellis, Mary. “Science of the 1940s.” About.com Inventors. About Inventors, n.d. Web. 15 Oct. 2013.
4Quipp, Edward. “The Canon: The Language of the Third Reich by Victor Klemperer.” Times Higher Education. Times Higher Education, 17 June 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2013. .
Orwell, George. 1984. London: Secker and Warburg, 1949. Print.