Hitler’s Reich and 1984: The Repercussions of Totalitarianism

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Amid the calamitous Weimar Republic of post World War I, Adolf Hitler planted the seeds of what would quickly become one of the most momentous manipulations of government. In just a few years, Hitler established himself as a political authority, and instilled Nazism, short for National Socialism, within Germany. This unprecedented ideology, which he called the European New Order, capitalized on a scattered and demoralized Germany. He initiated an authoritarian regime that would last a decade, ended only by a brutal world war. As Ian Kershaw explains in his essay on Nazi uniqueness, “a regime responsible for the most destructive war in history, leaving upwards of 40 million people dead . . . has an obvious claim to singularity” (239). Yet, the uniqueness of Nazism does not only lie in its genocidal intent. Its fascist ideals contribute to its intriguing nature, and, as a result, are a source of inspiration for countless authors.
Reactions are evident in the period of postmodern literature that emerged as a response to Hitler’s Reich. Because of the political messages within these, they greatly influenced society, and therefore have a place in the historical analysis of WWII. George Orwell, a political essayist and novelist, was a prominent luminary of these writings, and in his novel 1984, he attempts to explain the disastrous situation of the mid twentieth century and present a warning about the future. To do so, Orwell formulates a national socialist government, Big Brother, and an insurgent party member, Winston Smith. Though Winston begins as a rebellious citizen, he becomes an obedient subordinate because of his torture. His authority, Big Brother, is a powerful governmental entity that has supreme influence over him and his...

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