George Orwell 1984 Relevance of Predictions Today Part 6

About George Orwell and his book 1984 a glimpse into a distopian future, relevance of the predictions today, look at the use of manipulation of documents to rewrite history as control.


7. In Oceania, history is manipulated continually to reflect current governmental policies, and books and periodicals are rewritten constantly to make them consistent with the latest party line. If Oceania were suddenly to switch its political alliance, then old records must be altered to make it appear that the new alliance had always existed. The party claims credit for inventions of the past, literature, and anything else of value. It was the party, for example, that invented the airplane. With all records changed, and no one alive who knows differently, who can say nay?

Where We Stand Today: The U.S.S.R. maintains that it won W.W. II by defeating the Nazi forces in Eastern Europe. American assistance in the struggle is barely mentioned in the official Soviet histories. The Soviets also have claimed credit in the past for the invention of the first airplane, for television, and for a variety of other modern gadgets. Many of these claims are unsupported. Manipulation of history in the U.S.S.R. is particularly evident in official treatment of former politicos. After his death, Stalin was castigated by Khrushchev and labeled a "monster." Stalin's secret police chief, Lavrenti Beria was also denounced and subsequently executed in December, 1953. Anxious to eradicate any memory of the Stalin era, the editors of the third edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia mailed a special article on the Bering Straits to encyclopedia owners, who were instructed to paste this article over the existing one on Beria. Current Soviet policy is more lenient, however, and Stalin is once again regarded as a strong leader who helped win W.W. II.

In China, especially during the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s, people fallen from party grace have been declared "enemies of the people" and sent to undergo "reeducation," and their works, if any, have been withdrawn.

The U.S., too, revises its past. Attitudes to ward former enemies change with time; for example, the American Indians, the Japanese, and now Castro in Cuba. Before the Nixon visit, China was considered the "yellow peril." Today it is viewed, though cautiously, as a potential ally against the Soviet Union and as a new partner in international trade.

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