George Orwell's "1984" is most certainly a dire warning about the future. It is a polemic criticizing Stalin's regime, the government that Big Brother most resembles and that Orwell saw as a monstrous perversion of Marxist ideals. Through allusive details, we can see that this society is an allegory for Communist societies, specifically Stalin's USSR: the omnipotent, menacing, yet never-fully-explained "Party," and the reference to the "Three-Year Plan" (an allusion to Stalin's "Five-Year Plans"), are among these. George Orwell wrote 1984 as a political statement against totalitarianism, using themes such as destruction of personal freedom, a fraudulent and glorified government, and artificial truths.

To understand how Orwell shaped his observations and experience into 1984, the definitions of authoritarianism and totalitarianism need to be explored. Broadly speaking, an authoritarian system is one in which society is governed by a dictator or oligarchy not constitutionally responsible to the people. Totalitarianism is something of a sub-category of authoritarianism where the ruling group has complete and total control over every aspect of life, whether personal or public, and the individual is expected to conform.

Totalitarianism is a recent phenomenon, probably because of the technological advances (mostly related to surveillance and the dissemination of information) that have allowed it to develop. A totalitarian system condemns current society as corrupt and problematic, and introduces plans (like the Three-Year or Five-Year Plans) and programs to solve the problems presented. These measures demand complete conformity from the people. Party control is solidified through information control and censorship (Winston's job at the Ministry of Truth), a paramilitary secret police organization (the Thought Police pg.5), and the institution of community groups (such as youth or cultural organizations). Totalitarianism differs from dictatorship or tyranny in its mobilization of political participation, its quest for the complete restructuring of both the individual and society, and its aim for unlimited, not just political, control.

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Totalitarianism can be divided into right totalitarianism (fascism and Nazism) and left (communism). The differences lie in the development and support base of the systems. Right totalitarianism has traditionally relied on middle classes seeking to improve their position, tends to be blatantly racist and elitist, rests on hero-worship, and supports private ownership of industrial wealth. Left totalitarianism, on the other hand, appeals to the lower or working classes with the aim of eliminating class distinctions, is theoretically not bigoted, does not rely on a hero cult, and supports collective ownership of industrial wealth. Finally, with right totalitarianism, terror and violence ...

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