How's 1984 from Orwell

70th anniversary of George Orwell's death "1984" - from Big Brother and the Thought Police

Big Ben sounded familiar as always, but otherwise London had become a strange city. On a cold April day in 1984, on a cold April day in 1984, the 39-year-old Winston Smith saw on a poster the "one meter wide face of a man about 45 years old" on a poster on the "Ministry of Truth" with a massive black mustache ". Below is the warning:

"Big brother sees you."
On other posters the three slogans of the party:
"War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength."
Not only in his office and in parks, even in his apartment, Smith heard a loudspeaker voice day and night:
"It came from a metal plate that was set into the wall like a blind mirror ... You could turn the device down, but you couldn't turn it off completely ..."

John Hurt in a scene from the film "1984" based on George Orwell (Director: Michael Radford) (imago)

Knowing about the power of the Thought Police, Winston Smith entrusted his inner resistance to a diary and wrote to imaginary readers:
"Greetings! - from the age of uniformity, from the age of loneliness, from the age of big brother ... - greetings!"

Policeman, casual worker, clochard, author

The real readers of George Orwell's 1949 novel "1984" were immediately in a mood of alarm - to this day the book is considered the most powerful warning of a total surveillance state. The material was based on the life history experiences of the author. Born in 1903 under the real name Eric Arthur Blair as the son of an English colonial official in India, he worked, after school in England, from 1921 to 1927 also in the colonial administration, as a police officer in Burma - he had to do "the dirty work of the Empire" he later noted. Back in Europe he lived as a casual worker and clochard in Paris and London and wrote his first book, published in 1933, about these experiences: "Down and Out in Paris and London". Then Eric Arthur Blair had become George Orwell, who, as an observer of the times left on the left, was driven into the Spanish Civil War in 1936.

Mural of "Big Brother": scene from the British film adaptation of George Orwell's "1984" in the 1950s. (imago / United Archives)

"Animal Farm" - criticism of the betrayal of the Russian Revolution

Of course he wanted to win the fight against the fascists too. Instead, however, he lost his belief in the "great revolution" when the left-wing camp began to fight each other down to the blood for ideological reasons - the Moscow show trials, which Stalin ordered at the same time, revealed the whole background of the events to Orwell. Later, in his fable "Animal Farm", which was conceived as an anti-Stalinist satire and published in 1945, he castigated the betrayal of the Russian Revolution true to the insight he had gained:

"If freedom means anything, it is the right to tell people what they don't want to hear."

The actors Richard Burton and John Hurt in the film version of "1984". (imago / United Archives International)

Brainwashing and betrayal of love

George Orwell has written a lot and of various kinds, in addition to prose and essays, reports for newspapers and the BBC. Due to his poor health due to an early diagnosis of pulmonary tuberculosis, he gave up his journalistic work and retired in 1947 to a half-ruined farm on the Scottish Hebridean island of Jura and wrote his novel "1984". In the perfect surveillance state, Winston Smith's writing of a diary comes to light as well as his forbidden love affair with his work colleague Julia - which he betrays in a brutal interrogation to save his own life. Reformatted as a human through brainwashing, his old person has been wiped out. Here is the end of an early radio play version:

Narrator: "Big brother looks at him. The dark eyes bore deep into Winston's gaze.
Winston Smith: "I love big brother!"

Life and writing on the cold Jura farm had further ruined George Orwell's health. He died shortly after the novel was published on January 21, 1950. He was only 46 years old.