One of the slogans of the world of Big Brother, at first sight, sounds rather conflicting and paradoxical: “war is peace.” Indeed, these two conceptions typically contradict each other, and people may ask themselves how fights, violence, and cruelty of wars can lead to harmony, peace, and quiet. However, in the world of George Orwell’s novel and Michael Anderson’s movie 1984, this slogan seems to be rather meaningful. Digging a little deeper may help readers and viewers find some interesting ideas in this phrase.
To begin with, this slogan is like an equation where both elements are integral, and one leads to and cannot be possible without another. In 1984, the nations of Oceania, Eastasia, and Eurasia were in a state of perpetual war, the purpose of which was to maintain power over the citizens and keep them busy and in total fear. However, another aim of this never-ending war is to assure the people of Oceania that they have a common enemy. Generally, such a feeling and idea unites everyone and makes them work together to eliminate the danger and forget about their own problems. Therefore, the war with Eastasia and Eurasia leads to peace (at least, some kind of it) between the citizens of Oceania and creates a feeling of harmony all around them.
Some other ideas easily follow from the one described above. The war outside Oceania that does not actually concern ordinary people leads to peace at their homes since army forces protect the superstate. Adapted from Flavius Vegetius’s statement, a famous phrase also says: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” Moreover, Oceania, which is the representation of a piece, appeared after the devastation walked by the atomic raids of 1965; in other words, the war. At the same time, this slogan may be interpreted as the hint that it is the Party’s decision what comes next – either war or peace. Unfortunately, the same concept may be applied in the current society. The U.S. is also in perpetual wars, and one of them was the Cold War, and then it is the Global War on Terrorism. This campaign aims to eliminate threats and achieve peace, but it is all done by harming other people.