Totalitarianism is defined as a political system of government in which those in power have complete control and do not allow people to oppose them. Those in power are a single party dictatorship in which one party controls state, and all other parties are forbidden.
Other important features that distinguish or help define totalitarianism include restricted or eliminated constitutional rights, state terrorism, and totalitarian rulers are known as ideological dictators. The government of Oceania, in the novel 1984, is an example of totalitarian society. Germany, under Adolf Hitlers National Socialism is another example of totalitarianism. Orwells Oceania has both similarities and differences to the totalitarian states of the twentieth century. The government of Oceania is clearly a totalitarian state, which compares and contrasts with Hitlers National Socialism.
The state, society, and daily life in Oceania present obvious characteristics of a totalitarian state. In Oceania society, privacy and freedom to not exist. Citizens of Oceania are constantly monitored by telescreens, and subjected to a constant barrage of propaganda. With telescreens in everyones homes, it is very easy to broadcast the views and beliefs of The Party. Forms of propaganda include posters and slogans. In this society it is impossible to go anywhere without seeing a poster of Big Brother, reading slogans such as BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU and War is PeaceFreedom is SlaveryIgnorance is Strength.
Communication among the citizens of Oceania is also another aspect controlled by the Inner Party. A form of communication called Newspeak is used in Oceania, which is a modified version of language that is enforced upon the people in order to limit their expression. These strict laws are set in Oceania, and must be followed; a group called by the people in Oceania. Therefore, when the governing system is not followed, Thought Police are used to prevent thoughts that oppose the nation, and to place fear into the citizens of Oceania. These several aspects in system of government in the novel 1984 have adequately prevented a large part of the people from thinking against it.
In the novel 1984, Oceania is depicted as a totalitarian state. Oceania can be both similar and different compared to totalitarian states of the twentieth century, one imparticular, Germanys National Socialism. Oceania and National Socialism are similar in several ways. A large part of the novel deals with the relationship between The Party and society. Many of the techniques used by The Party are similar to those used by Hitler. One of these ways, or techniques is propaganda. In Orwells novel propaganda was used through telescreens in everyones homes, which was a very easy way to broadcast the views and beliefs of The Party as well as control what the citizens of Oceania watched and listened to.
Another form of propaganda in the novel is by the means of posters and slogans. In this society it as impossible to go anywhere without seeing a poster of Big Brother and reading slogans such as BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU and War is peaceFreedom is SlaveryIgnorance is Strength. Hitler was a big fan of propaganda and used it a great deal. During his reign, Hitler realized that he needed to get younger people involved in his conquest. He set up youth campus and youth organizations, as well as, segregated Universities and made instruction in racial science and theory mandatory. This made the younger generations of Nazi Germans feel like part of the struggle. Another interesting comparison was that in the novel the Chief enemy of The Party was a Jewish man named Emmanuel Goldstein. This relates to World War Two, as Jews were the principle group of people persecuted by the Nazis.
Although some characteristic of a totalitarian state is similar between Oceania and National Socialism, there are also differences. Both The Party and Hitler used propaganda, however it is clear that The Parties means of propaganda were stricter through the use of telescreens. In a totalitarian government, the leader, or dictator must oppress the people, and make sure they do not think they are being oppressed. One way that this is done in the novel is by rewriting history as time progressed. Hitler on the other hand did not go to such extreme measures. Another difference between Hitlers National Socialism and Oceania was the citizens of Oceania, all the citizens no matter what your background was or what religion was were accepted in the Oceania society. While Hitler segregated the Jews and Gypsies from the Germans to create the ultimate Aryan race.
The government of Oceania has characteristics of and is clearly a totalitarian state, which is both similar and different to Hitlers National Socialism. It is scary to think of a society like the one in the novel 1984, and even scarier to realize that in twentieth century history there were societies that compare to the one in Oceania. It really makes one think how lucky we are to live in a society in which we have the freedom to live as we choose.