Wednesday, May 11, 2022

1984

 I first read 1984 in the '60s. It took me more than 50 years to understand it. Airstrip 1 keeps changing its allegiance. It is allied with Eurasia against Eastasia for years. All the media (and the media morgues) say Airstrip 1 has always been allied with Eurasia against Eastasia. Then Airstrip 1 is allied with Eastasia against Eurasia, and Winston Smith must edit all books and news media so they all report that Airstrip 1 has always been allied with Eastasia against Eurasia. And then back, and it all has to be changed again back to the way it was before.

I figured Eastasia was the PRC and Eurasia was the USSR, and had no idea Airstrip 1 (i.e., the UK) had ever been allied with either one against the other. Silly me. The PRC did not exist when Orwell was writing 1984. Now I know that Eurasia is Europe and the Ottomans, and Eastasia is Russia/USSR.

I also know that, in 1800, Airstrip 1 (i.e., the UK) was allied with Russia against Napoleonic France. Then in the Crimean War, Airstrip 1 was allied with France and the Ottomans against Russia. Then in WWI, Airstrip 1 was allied with Russia against Germany and the Ottomans. After WWI, Airstrip 1 was terrified of the USSR, tried war, lost, then, in 1933, when Hitler said he would abrogate the Treaty of Versailles, the UK figured Hitler would be a good buffer against the USSR and let him take over as Chancellor and abrogate Versailles, and tried to work with him against the USSR.

By 1938, Airstrip 1 realised that war with Germany would be essential, but Airstrip 1 was not ready. As Waugh put it, In 1938, when Germany demanded the Sudetenland, "war was inevitable, but in 1938, the war would have been for the wrong reasons, with the wrong allies, in pitiful weakness". France wanted Maginot completed before declaring war. Chamberlain wanted the radar completed before war.

Then, in 1939, Eurasia and Eastasia formed an alliance to split Poland, and Airstrip 1 and France declared war on Germany and lost, but Airstrip 1 fishermen managed to save most of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk. Airstrip 1 demanded a scapegoat, and Churchill gave them Chamberlain and Appeasement. If only Airstrip 1 had gone to war in 1938, it would have been very easy to defeat Germany with no allies. Completely wrong, but eaten up by those who needed a scapegoat.

Had Britain declared war in 1938, there would have been no miracle at Dunkirk, the whole BEF would have been killed or captured. No radar shield, so the Luftwaffe bombing raids would have arrived unexpected with few defenders and few airships lost, so the Battle of Britain would have gone Germany's way. And Airstrip 1 would have had no choice but to surrender. And with no base from which to bomb Germany, the US could not have done much after Germany declared war on the US in 1941. Europe would still be under the swastika had Chamberlain not waited until 1939.

And now the US has a brand new Ministry of Truth. They have not yet renamed the Defence Department the Ministry of Peace, but they still call themselves that, even if it's not their official title.

Some though 1984 was a warning. Turned out, the US is using it for a guidebook. And figure it's the Right Way to Go!