Debunked: War is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous

Mick West

Staff member
The claimed quote is:

The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. ... The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.
- George Orwell, 1949, from "1984"
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Or this longer version:

The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.
- George Orwell, 1949, from "1984"
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However this quote does not appear in the book (although parts are taken from the book), so where is it from?

It's actually from the film Fahrenheit 9/11, where Michael Moore says:
George Orwell once wrote that, It’s not a matter of whether the war is not real or if it is Victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia but to keep the very structure of society intact.
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Did George Orwell once write that? No, not really, this short quote is actually a contracted version of a quote from the movie 1984,
[reads from Goldstein's book] "In accordance to the principles of doublethink, it does not matter if the war is not real, or when it is, that victory is not possible. The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be continuous. The essential act of modern warfare is the destruction of the produce of human labour. A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. In principle, the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects, and its object is not victory over Eurasia or Eastasia, but to keep the very structure of society intact. [notices Julia is asleep] Julia? Are you awake? There is truth, and there is untruth. To be in a minority of one doesn't make you mad. Julia, my love, I understand how, but I don't understand why."
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So what's actually in the book? Well, it's a lot longer, basically the quote from the movies a greatly reduced paraphrasing of all of the reading Chapter III, War is Peace, from "The Book" (THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF
OLIGARCHICAL COLLECTIVISM by Emmanuel Goldstein), which happens in Chapter 9 of 1984

I've highlighted the parts from which the movie quote is made:

Chapter III
War is Peace

The splitting up of the world into three great super-states was an event
which could be and indeed was foreseen before the middle of the twentieth
century. With the absorption of Europe by Russia and of the British Empire
by the United States, two of the three existing powers, Eurasia and
Oceania, were already effectively in being. The third, Eastasia, only
emerged as a distinct unit after another decade of confused fighting. The
frontiers between the three super-states are in some places arbitrary, and
in others they fluctuate according to the fortunes of war, but in general
they follow geographical lines. Eurasia comprises the whole of the northern
part of the European and Asiatic land-mass, from Portugal to the Bering
Strait. Oceania comprises the Americas, the Atlantic islands including the
British Isles, Australasia, and the southern portion of Africa. Eastasia,
smaller than the others and with a less definite western frontier,
comprises China and the countries to the south of it, the Japanese islands
and a large but fluctuating portion of Manchuria, Mongolia, and Tibet.

In one combination or another, these three super-states are permanently at
war, and have been so for the past twenty-five years. War, however, is no
longer the desperate, annihilating struggle that it was in the early
decades of the twentieth century. It is a warfare of limited aims between
combatants who are unable to destroy one another, have no material cause
for fighting and are not divided by any genuine ideological difference.

This is not to say that either the conduct of war, or the prevailing
attitude towards it, has become less bloodthirsty or more chivalrous.
On the contrary, war hysteria is continuous and universal in all countries,
and such acts as raping, looting, the slaughter of children, the reduction
of whole populations to slavery, and reprisals against prisoners which
extend even to boiling and burying alive, are looked upon as normal,
and, when they are committed by one's own side and not by the enemy,
meritorious. But in a physical sense war involves very small numbers of
people, mostly highly-trained specialists, and causes comparatively few
casualties. The fighting, when there is any, takes place on the vague
frontiers whose whereabouts the average man can only guess at, or round
the Floating Fortresses which guard strategic spots on the sea lanes. In
the centres of civilization war means no more than a continuous shortage
of consumption goods, and the occasional crash of a rocket bomb which may
cause a few scores of deaths. War has in fact changed its character. More
exactly, the reasons for which war is waged have changed in their order of
importance. Motives which were already present to some small extent in the
great wars of the early twentieth century have now become dominant and
are consciously recognized and acted upon.

To understand the nature of the present war--for in spite of the regrouping
which occurs every few years, it is always the same war--one must realize
in the first place that it is impossible for it to be decisive. None of
the three super-states could be definitively conquered even by the other
two in combination. They are too evenly matched, and their natural defences
are too formidable. Eurasia is protected by its vast land spaces, Oceania
by the width of the Atlantic and the Pacific, Eastasia by the fecundity
and industriousness of its inhabitants. Secondly, there is no longer, in
a material sense, anything to fight about. With the establishment of
self-contained economies, in which production and consumption are geared
to one another, the scramble for markets which was a main cause of
previous wars has come to an end, while the competition for raw materials
is no longer a matter of life and death. In any case each of the three
super-states is so vast that it can obtain almost all the materials that
it needs within its own boundaries. In so far as the war has a direct
economic purpose, it is a war for labour power. Between the frontiers of
the super-states, and not permanently in the possession of any of them,
there lies a rough quadrilateral with its corners at Tangier, Brazzaville,
Darwin, and Hong Kong, containing within it about a fifth of the population
of the earth. It is for the possession of these thickly-populated regions,
and of the northern ice-cap, that the three powers are constantly
struggling. In practice no one power ever controls the whole of the
disputed area. Portions of it are constantly changing hands, and it is the
chance of seizing this or that fragment by a sudden stroke of treachery
that dictates the endless changes of alignment.

All of the disputed territories contain valuable minerals, and some of
them yield important vegetable products such as rubber which in colder
climates it is necessary to synthesize by comparatively expensive methods.
But above all they contain a bottomless reserve of cheap labour. Whichever
power controls equatorial Africa, or the countries of the Middle East, or
Southern India, or the Indonesian Archipelago, disposes also of the bodies
of scores or hundreds of millions of ill-paid and hard-working coolies.
The inhabitants of these areas, reduced more or less openly to the status
of slaves, pass continually from conqueror to conqueror, and are expended
like so much coal or oil in the race to turn out more armaments, to capture
more territory, to control more labour power, to turn out more armaments,
to capture more territory, and so on indefinitely. It should be noted that
the fighting never really moves beyond the edges of the disputed areas.
The frontiers of Eurasia flow back and forth between the basin of the Congo
and the northern shore of the Mediterranean; the islands of the Indian
Ocean and the Pacific are constantly being captured and recaptured by
Oceania or by Eastasia; in Mongolia the dividing line between Eurasia and
Eastasia is never stable; round the Pole all three powers lay claim to
enormous territories which in fact are largely uninhabited and unexplored:
but the balance of power always remains roughly even, and the territory
which forms the heartland of each super-state always remains inviolate.
Moreover, the labour of the exploited peoples round the Equator is not
really necessary to the world's economy. They add nothing to the wealth of
the world, since whatever they produce is used for purposes of war, and
the object of waging a war is always to be in a better position in which
to wage another war. By their labour the slave populations allow the tempo
of continuous warfare to be speeded up. But if they did not exist, the
structure of world society, and the process by which it maintains itself,
would not be essentially different.

The primary aim of modern warfare (in accordance with the principles of
DOUBLETHINK, this aim is simultaneously recognized and not recognized by
the directing brains of the Inner Party) is to use up the products of the
machine without raising the general standard of living.
Ever since the end
of the nineteenth century, the problem of what to do with the surplus of
consumption goods has been latent in industrial society. At present, when
few human beings even have enough to eat, this problem is obviously not
urgent, and it might not have become so, even if no artificial processes
of destruction had been at work. The world of today is a bare, hungry,
dilapidated place compared with the world that existed before 1914, and
still more so if compared with the imaginary future to which the people of
that period looked forward. In the early twentieth century, the vision of
a future society unbelievably rich, leisured, orderly, and efficient--a
glittering antiseptic world of glass and steel and snow-white concrete--was
part of the consciousness of nearly every literate person. Science and
technology were developing at a prodigious speed, and it seemed natural to
assume that they would go on developing. This failed to happen, partly
because of the impoverishment caused by a long series of wars and
revolutions, partly because scientific and technical progress depended on
the empirical habit of thought, which could not survive in a strictly
regimented society. As a whole the world is more primitive today than it
was fifty years ago. Certain backward areas have advanced, and various
devices, always in some way connected with warfare and police espionage,
have been developed, but experiment and invention have largely stopped,
and the ravages of the atomic war of the nineteen-fifties have never been
fully repaired. Nevertheless the dangers inherent in the machine are still
there. From the moment when the machine first made its appearance it
was clear to all thinking people that the need for human drudgery, and
therefore to a great extent for human inequality, had disappeared. If the
machine were used deliberately for that end, hunger, overwork, dirt,
illiteracy, and disease could be eliminated within a few generations.
And in fact, without being used for any such purpose, but by a sort of
automatic process--by producing wealth which it was sometimes impossible
not to distribute--the machine did raise the living standards of the
average human being very greatly over a period of about fifty years at
the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries.

But it was also clear that an all-round increase in wealth threatened the
destruction--indeed, in some sense was the destruction--of a hierarchical
society. In a world in which everyone worked short hours, had enough to
eat, lived in a house with a bathroom and a refrigerator, and possessed
a motor-car or even an aeroplane, the most obvious and perhaps the most
important form of inequality would already have disappeared. If it once
became general, wealth would confer no distinction. It was possible, no
doubt, to imagine a society in which WEALTH, in the sense of personal
possessions and luxuries, should be evenly distributed, while POWER
remained in the hands of a small privileged caste. But in practice such
a society could not long remain stable. For if leisure and security were
enjoyed by all alike, the great mass of human beings who are normally
stupefied by poverty would become literate and would learn to think for
themselves; and when once they had done this, they would sooner or later
realize that the privileged minority had no function, and they would sweep
it away. In the long run, a hierarchical society was only possible on a
basis of poverty and ignorance. To return to the agricultural past, as
some thinkers about the beginning of the twentieth century dreamed of
doing, was not a practicable solution. It conflicted with the tendency
towards mechanization which had become quasi-instinctive throughout almost
the whole world, and moreover, any country which remained industrially
backward was helpless in a military sense and was bound to be dominated,
directly or indirectly, by its more advanced rivals.

Nor was it a satisfactory solution to keep the masses in poverty by
restricting the output of goods. This happened to a great extent during
the final phase of capitalism, roughly between 1920 and 1940. The economy
of many countries was allowed to stagnate, land went out of cultivation,
capital equipment was not added to, great blocks of the population were
prevented from working and kept half alive by State charity. But this,
too, entailed military weakness, and since the privations it inflicted
were obviously unnecessary, it made opposition inevitable. The problem was
how to keep the wheels of industry turning without increasing the real
wealth of the world. Goods must be produced, but they must not be
distributed. And in practice the only way of achieving this was by
continuous warfare.

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives,
but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces,
or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea,
materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable,
and hence, in the long run, too intelligent.
Even when weapons of war are
not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of
expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed.
A Floating Fortress, for example, has locked up in it the labour that
would build several hundred cargo-ships. Ultimately it is scrapped as
obsolete, never having brought any material benefit to anybody, and with
further enormous labours another Floating Fortress is built. In principle
the war effort is always so planned as to eat up any surplus that might
exist after meeting the bare needs of the population. In practice the needs
of the population are always underestimated, with the result that there is
a chronic shortage of half the necessities of life; but this is looked on
as an advantage. It is deliberate policy to keep even the favoured groups
somewhere near the brink of hardship, because a general state of scarcity
increases the importance of small privileges and thus magnifies the
distinction between one group and another. By the standards of the early
twentieth century, even a member of the Inner Party lives an austere,
laborious kind of life. Nevertheless, the few luxuries that he does enjoy
his large, well-appointed flat, the better texture of his clothes, the
better quality of his food and drink and tobacco, his two or three
servants, his private motor-car or helicopter--set him in a different world
from a member of the Outer Party, and the members of the Outer Party have
a similar advantage in comparison with the submerged masses whom we call
'the proles'. The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city, where the
possession of a lump of horseflesh makes the difference between wealth and
poverty. And at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and
therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste
seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival.

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but
accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would
be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building
temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even
by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But
this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a
hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses,
whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work,
but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is
expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow
limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant
fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic
triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality
appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is
actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does
not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is
that a state of war should exist. The splitting of the intelligence which
the Party requires of its members, and which is more easily achieved in an
atmosphere of war, is now almost universal, but the higher up the ranks
one goes, the more marked it becomes. It is precisely in the Inner Party
that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest. In his capacity
as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party
to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may often
be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or
is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones: but such
knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of DOUBLETHINK. Meanwhile
no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that
the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously, with Oceania
the undisputed master of the entire world.

All members of the Inner Party believe in this coming conquest as an
article of faith. It is to be achieved either by gradually acquiring more
and more territory and so building up an overwhelming preponderance of
power, or by the discovery of some new and unanswerable weapon. The search
for new weapons continues unceasingly, and is one of the very few remaining
activities in which the inventive or speculative type of mind can find any
outlet. In Oceania at the present day, Science, in the old sense, has
almost ceased to exist. In Newspeak there is no word for 'Science'. The
empirical method of thought, on which all the scientific achievements of
the past were founded, is opposed to the most fundamental principles of
Ingsoc. And even technological progress only happens when its products can
in some way be used for the diminution of human liberty. In all the useful
arts the world is either standing still or going backwards. The fields are
cultivated with horse-ploughs while books are written by machinery. But
in matters of vital importance--meaning, in effect, war and police
espionage--the empirical approach is still encouraged, or at least
tolerated. The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of
the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent
thought. There are therefore two great problems which the Party is
concerned to solve. One is how to discover, against his will, what another
human being is thinking, and the other is how to kill several hundred
million people in a few seconds without giving warning beforehand. In
so far as scientific research still continues, this is its subject matter.
The scientist of today is either a mixture of psychologist and inquisitor,
studying with real ordinary minuteness the meaning of facial expressions,
gestures, and tones of voice, and testing the truth-producing effects of
drugs, shock therapy, hypnosis, and physical torture; or he is chemist,
physicist, or biologist concerned only with such branches of his special
subject as are relevant to the taking of life. In the vast laboratories
of the Ministry of Peace, and in the experimental stations hidden in the
Brazilian forests, or in the Australian desert, or on lost islands of
the Antarctic, the teams of experts are indefatigably at work. Some are
concerned simply with planning the logistics of future wars; others devise
larger and larger rocket bombs, more and more powerful explosives, and more
and more impenetrable armour-plating; others search for new and deadlier
gases, or for soluble poisons capable of being produced in such quantities
as to destroy the vegetation of whole continents, or for breeds of disease
germs immunized against all possible antibodies; others strive to produce
a vehicle that shall bore its way under the soil like a submarine under
the water, or an aeroplane as independent of its base as a sailing-ship;
others explore even remoter possibilities such as focusing the sun's rays
through lenses suspended thousands of kilometres away in space, or
producing artificial earthquakes and tidal waves by tapping the heat at
the earth's centre.

But none of these projects ever comes anywhere near realization, and none
of the three super-states ever gains a significant lead on the others.
What is more remarkable is that all three powers already possess, in the
atomic bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any that their present
researches are likely to discover. Although the Party, according to its
habit, claims the invention for itself, atomic bombs first appeared as
early as the nineteen-forties, and were first used on a large scale about
ten years later. At that time some hundreds of bombs were dropped on
industrial centres, chiefly in European Russia, Western Europe, and
North America. The effect was to convince the ruling groups of all
countries that a few more atomic bombs would mean the end of organized
society, and hence of their own power. Thereafter, although no formal
agreement was ever made or hinted at, no more bombs were dropped. All three
powers merely continue to produce atomic bombs and store them up against
the decisive opportunity which they all believe will come sooner or later.
And meanwhile the art of war has remained almost stationary for thirty or
forty years. Helicopters are more used than they were formerly, bombing
planes have been largely superseded by self-propelled projectiles, and the
fragile movable battleship has given way to the almost unsinkable Floating
Fortress; but otherwise there has been little development. The tank, the
submarine, the torpedo, the machine gun, even the rifle and the hand
grenade are still in use. And in spite of the endless slaughters reported
in the Press and on the telescreens, the desperate battles of earlier wars,
in which hundreds of thousands or even millions of men were often killed
in a few weeks, have never been repeated.

None of the three super-states ever attempts any manoeuvre which involves
the risk of serious defeat. When any large operation is undertaken, it is
usually a surprise attack against an ally. The strategy that all three
powers are following, or pretend to themselves that they are following,
is the same. The plan is, by a combination of fighting, bargaining, and
well-timed strokes of treachery, to acquire a ring of bases completely
encircling one or other of the rival states, and then to sign a pact of
friendship with that rival and remain on peaceful terms for so many years
as to lull suspicion to sleep. During this time rockets loaded with atomic
bombs can be assembled at all the strategic spots; finally they will all
be fired simultaneously, with effects so devastating as to make retaliation
impossible. It will then be time to sign a pact of friendship with the
remaining world-power, in preparation for another attack. This scheme, it
is hardly necessary to say, is a mere daydream, impossible of realization.
Moreover, no fighting ever occurs except in the disputed areas round the
Equator and the Pole: no invasion of enemy territory is ever undertaken.
This explains the fact that in some places the frontiers between the
super-states are arbitrary. Eurasia, for example, could easily conquer the
British Isles, which are geographically part of Europe, or on the other
hand it would be possible for Oceania to push its frontiers to the Rhine
or even to the Vistula. But this would violate the principle, followed on
all sides though never formulated, of cultural integrity. If Oceania were
to conquer the areas that used once to be known as France and Germany, it
would be necessary either to exterminate the inhabitants, a task of great
physical difficulty, or to assimilate a population of about a hundred
million people, who, so far as technical development goes, are roughly on
the Oceanic level. The problem is the same for all three super-states.
It is absolutely necessary to their structure that there should be no
contact with foreigners, except, to a limited extent, with war prisoners
and coloured slaves. Even the official ally of the moment is always
regarded with the darkest suspicion. War prisoners apart, the average
citizen of Oceania never sets eyes on a citizen of either Eurasia or
Eastasia, and he is forbidden the knowledge of foreign languages. If he
were allowed contact with foreigners he would discover that they are
creatures similar to himself and that most of what he has been told about
them is lies. The sealed world in which he lives would be broken, and the
fear, hatred, and self-righteousness on which his morale depends might
evaporate. It is therefore realized on all sides that however often Persia,
or Egypt, or Java, or Ceylon may change hands, the main frontiers must
never be crossed by anything except bombs.

Under this lies a fact never mentioned aloud, but tacitly understood and
acted upon: namely, that the conditions of life in all three super-states
are very much the same. In Oceania the prevailing philosophy is called
Ingsoc, in Eurasia it is called Neo-Bolshevism, and in Eastasia it is
called by a Chinese name usually translated as Death-Worship, but perhaps
better rendered as Obliteration of the Self. The citizen of Oceania is not
allowed to know anything of the tenets of the other two philosophies, but
he is taught to execrate them as barbarous outrages upon morality and
common sense. Actually the three philosophies are barely distinguishable,
and the social systems which they support are not distinguishable at all.
Everywhere there is the same pyramidal structure, the same worship of
semi-divine leader, the same economy existing by and for continuous
warfare. It follows that the three super-states not only cannot conquer
one another, but would gain no advantage by doing so. On the contrary,
so long as they remain in conflict they prop one another up, like three
sheaves of corn. And, as usual, the ruling groups of all three powers are
simultaneously aware and unaware of what they are doing. Their lives are
dedicated to world conquest, but they also know that it is necessary that
the war should continue everlastingly and without victory.
Meanwhile the
fact that there IS no danger of conquest makes possible the denial of
reality which is the special feature of Ingsoc and its rival systems of
thought. Here it is necessary to repeat what has been said earlier, that
by becoming continuous war has fundamentally changed its character.

In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or
later came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat.
In the
past, also, war was one of the main instruments by which human societies
were kept in touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried
to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could
not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military
efficiency. So long as defeat meant the loss of independence, or some other
result generally held to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat
had to be serious. Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or
religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when
one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four. Inefficient
nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for
efficiency was inimical to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was
necessary to be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly
accurate idea of what had happened in the past. Newspapers and history
books were, of course, always coloured and biased, but falsification of
the kind that is practised today would have been impossible. War was a
sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned
it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be
won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible.

But when war becomes literally continuous, it also ceases to be dangerous.
When war is continuous there is no such thing as military necessity.
Technical progress can cease and the most palpable facts can be denied or
disregarded. As we have seen, researches that could be called scientific
are still carried out for the purposes of war, but they are essentially a
kind of daydreaming, and their failure to show results is not important.
Efficiency, even military efficiency, is no longer needed. Nothing is
efficient in Oceania except the Thought Police. Since each of the three
super-states is unconquerable, each is in effect a separate universe within
which almost any perversion of thought can be safely practised. Reality
only exerts its pressure through the needs of everyday life--the need to
eat and drink, to get shelter and clothing, to avoid swallowing poison or
stepping out of top-storey windows, and the like. Between life and death,
and between physical pleasure and physical pain, there is still a
distinction, but that is all. Cut off from contact with the outer world,
and with the past, the citizen of Oceania is like a man in interstellar
space, who has no way of knowing which direction is up and which is down.
The rulers of such a state are absolute, as the Pharaohs or the Caesars
could not be. They are obliged to prevent their followers from starving
to death in numbers large enough to be inconvenient, and they are obliged
to remain at the same low level of military technique as their rivals; but
once that minimum is achieved, they can twist reality into whatever shape
they choose.

The war, therefore, if we judge it by the standards of previous wars, is
merely an imposture. It is like the battles between certain ruminant
animals whose horns are set at such an angle that they are incapable of
hurting one another. But though it is unreal it is not meaningless. It
eats up the surplus of consumable goods, and it helps to preserve the
special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs.
War, it will
be seen, is now a purely internal affair. In the past, the ruling groups
of all countries, although they might recognize their common interest and
therefore limit the destructiveness of war, did fight against one another,
and the victor always plundered the vanquished. In our own day they are
not fighting against one another at all. The war is waged by each ruling
group against its own subjects, and the object of the war is not to make
or prevent conquests of territory, but to keep the structure of society
The very word 'war', therefore, has become misleading. It would
probably be accurate to say that by becoming continuous war has ceased to
exist. The peculiar pressure that it exerted on human beings between the
Neolithic Age and the early twentieth century has disappeared and been
replaced by something quite different. The effect would be much the same
if the three super-states, instead of fighting one another, should agree
to live in perpetual peace, each inviolate within its own boundaries. For
in that case each would still be a self-contained universe, freed for ever
from the sobering influence of external danger. A peace that was truly
permanent would be the same as a permanent war. This--although the vast
majority of Party members understand it only in a shallower sense--is the
inner meaning of the Party slogan: WAR IS PEACE.

Winston stopped reading for a moment. Somewhere in remote distance a
rocket bomb thundered. The blissful feeling of being alone with the
forbidden book, in a room with no telescreen, had not worn off. Solitude
and safety were physical sensations, mixed up somehow with the tiredness
of his body, the softness of the chair, the touch of the faint breeze from
the window that played upon his cheek. The book fascinated him, or more
exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but
that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it
had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was
the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful,
more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those
that tell you what you know already. He had just turned back to Chapter I
when he heard Julia's footstep on the stair and started out of his chair
to meet her. She dumped her brown tool-bag on the floor and flung herself
into his arms. It was more than a week since they had seen one another.

'I've got THE BOOK,' he said as they disentangled themselves.

'Oh, you've got it? Good,' she said without much interest, and almost
immediately knelt down beside the oil stove to make the coffee.

They did not return to the subject until they had been in bed for half an
hour. The evening was just cool enough to make it worth while to pull up
the counterpane. From below came the familiar sound of singing and the
scrape of boots on the flagstones. The brawny red-armed woman whom Winston
had seen there on his first visit was almost a fixture in the yard. There
seemed to be no hour of daylight when she was not marching to and fro
between the washtub and the line, alternately gagging herself with clothes
pegs and breaking forth into lusty song. Julia had settled down on her
side and seemed to be already on the point of falling asleep. He reached
out for the book, which was lying on the floor, and sat up against the

'We must read it,' he said. 'You too. All members of the Brotherhood have
to read it.'

'You read it,' she said with her eyes shut. 'Read it aloud. That's the
best way. Then you can explain it to me as you go.'

The clock's hands said six, meaning eighteen. They had three or four hours
ahead of them. He propped the book against his knees and began reading:
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