George Orwell and Soviet Russia

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
1 9 8 4
An English Perspective on the Bolsheviks

Animal Farm
Eric Arthur Blair
George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), known by his pen name 'George Orwell', was an English novelist and journalist.
His work is marked by clarity, intelligence and wit, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and commitment to democratic socialism.
Considered perhaps the 20th century's best chronicler of English culture, Orwell wrote literary criticism, poetry, fiction and polemical journalism.
He is best known for the dystopian novel 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' (1949) and the allegorical novella 'Animal Farm' (1945), which together have sold more copies than any two books by any other 20th-century author.
Orwell's work continues to influence popular and political culture, and the term 'Orwellian' — descriptive of totalitarian or authoritarian social practices — has entered the language together with several of his neologisms, including 'Cold War', 'doublethink', 'thoughtcrime', 'Big Brother' and 'thought police'.

Brief Biography

Eric Arthur Blair was born on 25 June 1903, in Motihari, Bihar, in India.
His great-grandfather Charles Blair was a wealthy country gentleman in Dorset who married Lady Mary Fane, daughter of Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland, and had income as an absentee landlord of plantations in Jamaica.
His grandfather, Thomas Richard Arthur Blair, was a clergyman.
Although the gentility passed down the generations, the prosperity did not; Eric Blair described his family as "lower-upper-middle class".
His father, Richard Walmesley Blair, worked in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service.
His mother, Ida Mabel Blair (née Limouzin), grew up in Moulmein, Burma, where her French father was involved in speculative ventures.
The Blair Family Home
Eric had two sisters: Marjorie, five years older, and Avril, five years younger.
When Eric was one year old, his mother took him and his sister to England.

In 1904, Ida Blair settled with her children at Henley-on-Thames.
Eric was brought up in the company of his mother and sisters, and apart from a brief visit in the summer of 1907, they did not see the husband and father Richard Blair until 1912.
The family moved to Shiplake before the First World War.
At the age of five, Eric was sent as a day-boy to a convent school in Henley-on-Thames.
It was a Roman Catholic convent run by French Ursuline nuns, who had been exiled from France after religious education was banned in 1903.
His mother wanted him to have a public school education, but his family could not afford the fees, and he needed to earn a scholarship. Ida Blair's brother recommended St Cyprian's School, Eastbourne, East Sussex.
The headmaster undertook to help Blair to win the scholarship, and made a private financial arrangement that allowed Blair's parents to pay only half the normal fees.

St Cyprian's
In September 1911 Eric arrived at St Cyprian's, and boarded at the school for the next five years.
At St Cyprian's his work praised by the school's external examiner, and earned scholarships to Wellington and Eton Colleges. 
In January, Blair took up the place at Wellington, where he spent the Spring term.
In May 1917 a place became available as a King's Scholar at Eton.
He studied at Eton until December 1921, when he left at age 18½.
Blair was briefly taught French by Aldous Huxley.

Eton School
Blair's academic performance reports suggest that he neglected his academic studies, but during his time at Eton he worked with Roger Mynors to produce a College magazine, The Election Times, joined in the production of other publications—College Days and Bubble and Squeak—and participated in the Eton Wall Game.
His parents could not afford to send him to university without another scholarship, and they concluded from his poor results that he would not be able to win one.
Blair had a romantic idea about the East and the family decided that he should join the Imperial Police, the precursor of the Indian Police Service.
For this he had to pass an entrance examination.
Blair passed the exam, coming seventh out of the 26 candidates who exceeded the pass mark.

 Indian Imperial Police
Working as an imperial policeman gave him considerable responsibility while most of his contemporaries were still at university in England.
When he was posted farther east in the Delta to Twante as a sub-divisional officer, he was responsible for the security of some 200,000 people.
At the end of 1924, he was promoted to Assistant District Superintendent and posted to Syriam.
Blair resigned from the Indian Imperial Police to become a writer.
He drew on his experiences in the Burma police for the novel 'Burmese Days' (1934) and the essays 'A Hanging' (1931) and "Shooting an Elephant" (1936).
Blair wrote a number of books in support of the Socialist views, and fought in the Spanish Civil War in support of the Communist against Franco's Falange.
During the Second World War Orwell was taken on full-time by the BBC's Eastern Service.
He supervised cultural broadcasts to India to counter propaganda from Nazi Germany designed to undermine Imperial links.
This was Orwell's first experience of the rigid conformity of life in an office (reflected in Winston Smiths work in the Ministry of Truth in 1984).
However it gave him an opportunity to create cultural programmes with contributions from T. S. Eliot, Dylan Thomas, E. M. Forster, Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, and William Empson among others.
Late in 1942, he started writing regularly for the left-wing weekly 'Tribune', directed by Labour MPs Aneurin Bevan and George Strauss.
In the late forties Orwell mixed journalistic work – mainly for 'Tribune', 'The Observer' and the 'Manchester Evening News', though he also contributed to many small-circulation political and literary magazines – with writing his best-known work, 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', which was published in 1949.
Although initially being enamored with Soviet Russia, Orwell, as a result of his political experiences in Catalonia, during the Spanish Civil War, became disenchanted with Stalinism - and '1984' is in fact a detailed and negative critique of the Russian Soviet System.
The significance of Orwell lies in the fact that he was one of the first people of influence to publicize the negative aspects of the Bolshevik revolution, and in particular Stalinism, and in this way began to bring to an end the error of the Western democracies, which had seen Russia as an ally in the war against the Third Reich.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
1984 - The ORIGINS of INSOC

English Socialism is the political ideology of the totalitarian, and supposedly Socialist government of Oceania.
Ingsoc (“English Socialism”) originated after the socialist party took over, but, because The Party continually rewrites history, it is impossible to establish the precise origin of English Socialism.

Emmanuel Goldstein
(Trotsky ?)
Big Brother
(Joseph Stalin ?)
The state known as Oceania originated from the union of the Americas with the British Empire.
Big Brother (Stalin), and the Jew, Emmanuel Goldstein (Trotsky) led the Party’s socialist revolution, yet Goldstein and Big Brother became enemies.
Although set in the relatively distant future, this scenario almost faithfully duplicates the Bolshevik rise to power in Russia, and the subsequent fracturing of the relationship between Stalin and Trotsky.

BBC Broadcasting House
The inspiration for the depressing atmosphere of the Oceania, however, derives from the conditions prevalent in the United Kingdom directly after the Second World War, with shortages, rationing, and the bitterly cold winter of 1947.
Evidence of this can be found in one of the early scenes in the book, set in the canteen of the Ministry of Truth (Propaganda), which is, in fact, directly taken from Blair's experience in the BBC canteen in Broadcasting House - (Blair worked in Broadcasting House for the BBC during the war).

In the book, 'the Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism', by Emmanuel Goldstein, describes the Party’s ideology as an 'Oligarchical Collectivism', that “rejects and vilifies every principle for which the Socialist movement originally stood, and it does so in the name of Socialism”.
Big Brother personifies the Party, as the ubiquitous face constantly depicted in posters and the tele-screen, thus, Big Brother is constantly watching.
Ingsoc, (English Socialism - similar to the numerous Soviet acronyms), demands the complete submission – mental, moral and physical – of the people, and will torture to achieve it.
Ingsoc is a masterfully complex system of psychological control, like Marxist Leninism, that compels confession to imagined crimes, and the forgetting of rebellious thought in order to love Big Brother and 'The Party' over oneself.

The purpose of Ingsoc is political control, power per se; - glibly, O'Brien, who would have been a leading Chekist in the Soviet system, explains to Smith:
'The German Nazis and others came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives.
They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal.
We are not like that.
We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.
Power is not a means, it is an end.
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.
The 'object' of persecution is persecution.
The 'object' of torture is torture.
The 'object' of power is power.'

These 'objects' quoted above are identical to the eventual 'object's espoused by the Cheka and Lenin, and  Stalin and the NKVD.


'Strong and peaceful, wise and brave,
Fighting the fight for the whole world to save,
We the people will ceaselessly strive,
To keep our great revolution alive.
Unfurl the banners, fight for the dream,
Never before has such glory been seen !

An analysis of the 'Oceania Hymn' indicates it's affinity with the internationalist aims of the original Bolshevik party in Russia, with regard to the references to the 'great revolution', and the aim of  'saving the whole world'.
The final line, 'Never before has such glory been seen !', however, is in stark contrast to the daily lives of the citizens of Oceania, and the horrors of 'Room 101'.


Metaphysically, Ingsoc (English Socialism) posits that all knowledge rests in the collective mind of the Party; reality is what the Party says, the justification for its historical revisionism.
With doublethink, the people believe what they otherwise know is false; in believing the revised (new) past, the new past is what was, hence "he who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past".
Ingsoc's thematic references to solipsism imply that the universe exists only in the mind.

Solipsism (from Latin solus, meaning "alone", and ipse, meaning "self") is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist.
As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure. The external world and other minds cannot be known, and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist. As such it is the only epistemological position that, by its own postulate, is irrefutable.

The Ministry of Love (MiniLuv) - the equivelent of the Cheka or NKVD - ,via brainwashing and torture, and the Ministry of Truth (MiniTrue), with propaganda, ensure that perpetual loyalty to the Party is instilled to the mind of each Oceanian.
The person exists only as part of the collective, hence, for the collective, nothing exists beyond the goodness of the Party and the evil of other nations and the Party's power.


Ingsoc divides society into three social classes, the Inner Party, (the political elite) the Outer Party (nomenklatura) , and the Proles (proletariat - workers):

Inner Party Member
The Inner Party make policy, affect decisions, and govern; they are known as “The Party”.
One of their upper-class privileges is (temporarily) shutting off their telescreens, for time alone.
They live in spacious, comfortable homes, have good food and drink, personal servants, and speedy transportation.
No Outer Party member or Prole may enter an Inner party neighbourhood without a good pretext.

The Outer Party - the nomenklatura - work the state’s administrative jobs; they are the middle class, whose “members are allowed no vices other than cigarettes and Victory Gin”, and who are the citizens most spied upon, via telescreens and surveillance.

The nomenklatura  (Latin: nomenclatura) were a category of people within the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries who held various key administrative positions in all spheres of those countries' activity: government, industry, agriculture, education, etc., whose positions were granted only with approval by the  party.
Vladimir Lenin wrote that appointments were to take the following criteria into account: 'reliability, political attitude, qualifications, and administrative ability'.

This is because, according to history, the middle class is the most dangerous; they are the ones to incite revolution, the one thing The Party does not want.
They live in rundown neighbourhoods, use crowded subways as transportation, have poorer food and drink, and are denied sex for any other purpose than having children within marriage, and are expected to look at it as a duty, rather than pleasure.

The Proles are the lower class of workers .
They live in the poorest conditions.

The proletariat (Latin proletarius, a citizen of the lowest class) is a term used to identify a lower social class, usually the working class; a member of such a class is proletarian. 
The term proletariat is used in Marxist theory to name the social class that does not have ownership of the means of production and whose only means of subsistence is to sell their labour power for a wage or salary

The Party keeps them happy and sedates them with alcohol, gambling, sport, sexual promiscuity, and prolefeed (Fabricated books, pornography).
They are not constantly watched by The Party.
A few agents of the Thought Police mark down and eliminate any individuals deemed capable of becoming dangerous and spread false rumours.
Proletariat are 85 percent of Oceania’s populace.

Although the social classes of Oceania interact little, the protagonist, Winston Smith, attends an evening at the cinema, where proles and members of the Party view the same film programme; he patronises a proletarian pub without attracting notice (he thinks); and visits the flat of Inner Party man O'Brien, on pretext of borrowing the newest edition of the 'Newspeak Dictionary'. Ingsoc’s propaganda proclaims its egalitarianism, yet the Proles and (some) members of the Outer Party are hideously exploited and live in poverty, while the ruling élite, the Inner Party, work little and live well and comfortably; yet consumer goods are more scarce and expensive than under capitalism - which is the problem which always dogged the Soviet System.
It is suggested that this is not a result of a deficit of actual produce, but rather, a surplus:
This surplus is more than taken up by ever-present warfare between Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia.
If the Party chose, all its people could live in luxury, but they instead choose to lower the quality of living.


George Orwell
Being a professional writer, Orwell is particularly concerned with the relationship between language and politics.
There was a tenancy in Soviet Russia for language to become impoverished to some extent under the Socialist system, for the benefit of encouraging revolutionary thought patterns, - but not to the extent that is portrayed in '1984'.
Newspeak is the language of Ingsoc, and refers to the deliberately impoverished language promoted by the state.
Newspeak is closely based on English but has a greatly reduced and simplified vocabulary and grammar.
This suits the totalitarian regime of the Party, whose aim is to make any alternative thinking—"thoughtcrime", or "crimethink" in the newest edition of Newspeak—impossible by removing any words or possible constructs which describe the ideas of freedom, rebellion and so on.
One character, Syme, says admiringly of the shrinking volume of the new dictionary: "It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words."
The Newspeak term for the English language is Oldspeak.
Oldspeak is intended to have been completely supplanted by Newspeak before 2050 (with the exception of the Proles, who are not trained in Newspeak and whom the Party barely regards as human).
There is, at present, a strong relationship between Newspeak and the current tendency towards 'Political Correctness', which tries to eliminate 'inappropriate' words and phrases.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014


The basic idea behind Newspeak is to remove all shades of meaning from language, leaving simple dichotomies (pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness, goodthink and crimethink) which reinforce the total dominance of the State.
Similarly, Newspeak root words served as both nouns and verbs, which allowed further reduction in the total number of words; for example, "think" served as both noun and verb, so the word thought was not required and could be abolished.
A staccato rhythm of short syllables was also a goal, further reducing the need for deep thinking about language.
Successful Newspeak meant that there would be fewer and fewer words – dictionaries would get thinner and thinner.
In addition, words with negative meanings were removed as redundant, so "bad" became "ungood".
Words with comparative and superlative meanings were also simplified, so "better" became "gooder", and "best" likewise became "goodest".
Intensifiers could be added, so "great" became "plusgood", and "excellent" and "splendid" likewise became "doubleplusgood".
Adjectives were formed by adding the suffix "-ful" to a root word (e.g., "goodthinkful", orthodox in thought), and adverbs by adding "-wise" ("goodthinkwise", in an orthodox manner).
In this manner, as many words as possible were removed from the language.
The ultimate aim of Newspeak was to reduce even the dichotomies to a single word that was a "yes" of some sort: an obedient word with which everyone answered affirmatively to what was asked of them.

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014


In London, the Airstrip One capital city, Oceania's four government ministries are in pyramids (300 metres high).
The ministries' names are antonymous doublethink to their true functions: "The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation". (Part II, Chapter IX — The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism)

Ministry of Peace (Newspeak: Minipax)

Minipax reports Oceania's perpetual war.
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.

Ministry of Plenty (Newspeak: Miniplenty)

The Ministry of Plenty rations and controls food, goods, and domestic production; every fiscal quarter, the Miniplenty publishes false claims of having raised the standard of living, when it has, in fact, reduced rations, availability, and production.
The Minitrue substantiates the Miniplenty claims by revising historical records to report numbers supporting the current, "increased rations".

Ministry of Truth (Newspeak: Minitrue)

The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts.
Winston Smith works in the Minitrue RecDep (Records Department), "rectifying" historical records to concord with Big Brother's current pronouncements, thus everything the Party says is true.

Ministry of Love (Newspeak: Miniluv)

The Ministry of Love (the equivalent of the Soviet Cheka or NKVD) identifies, monitors, arrests, and converts real and imagined dissidents.
In Winston's experience, the dissident is beaten and tortured, then, when near-broken, is sent to Room 101 to face "the worst thing in the world" — until love for Big Brother and the Party replaces dissension.


'By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared.
The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed.
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be.
Even the literature of the Party will change.
Even the slogans will change.
How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished?
The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now.
Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness.'

Some examples of Newspeak include 'crimethink', 'doublethink', and 'Ingsoc'.
They mean, respectively, "thought-crime", "accepting as correct two mutually contradictory beliefs", and "English socialism" (the official political philosophy of the Party).
the word Newspeak itself also comes from the language.
All of these words would be obsolete and should be removed in the "final" version of Newspeak, except for 'doubleplusungood' in certain contexts.


Thoughtcrime is an illegal type of thought - this has corollaries in the Soviet system.
The Party attempts to control not only the speech and actions, but also the thoughts of its subjects, labelling disapproved thought as thoughtcrime or, in Newspeak, "crimethink".
"Thoughtcrime does not entail death: thoughtcrime is death."


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014
The 'Thought Police' (almost identical to the Checka or NKVD) (thinkpol in Newspeak) are the secret police of the Party, whose job it is to uncover and punish 'thoughtcrime'.
The Thought Police use psychological surveillance to find and eliminate members of society who are capable of the mere thought of challenging ruling authority.
Technology plays a significant part in the detection of thoughtcrime - with the ubiquitous telescreens which could inform the government, misinform and monitor the population.
The citizens of Oceania are watched by the Thought Police through the telescreens.

Every movement, reflex, facial expression, and reaction is measured by this system, monitored by the Ministry of Love.
There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment.
How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork.
At times, it seems as if the telescreen is constantly watching each citizen.
Because of this system of surveillance, the Thought Police and the Ministry of Love become universally feared by any member of the Outer Party or any one of the 'Proles' who is capable (or felt by the Party to be capable) of thoughtcrime.


© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

Nineteen Eighty-Four (first published in 1949) by George Orwell is a dystopian novel about Oceania, a society ruled by the oligarchical dictatorship of the Party.
Life in the Oceanian province of 'Airstrip One' is a world of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance, and incessant public mind control, accomplished with a political system euphemistically named English Socialism (Ingsoc), which is administrated by a privileged Inner Party élite.
Yet they too are subordinated to the totalitarian cult of personality of Big Brother, the deified Party leader who rules with a philosophy that decries individuality and reason as thought-crimes; thus the people of Oceania are subordinated to a supposed collective greater good.
As in Soviet Russia, no one is safe.
There is a complex and pervasive political orthodox philosophy, (in the case of Russia, Marxist Leninism and Stalinism), which is so complex that no one can completely master its intricacies  As a result anyone can make an error, and make an apparently heretical statement which will result in arrest.
Therefore everyone in Oceania (and Soviet Russia) is trapped in a metaphysical, or more properly a meta-political prison, and fears the knock on the door at night, and the bullet in the head - apart, that is, from 'Big Brother', Lenin or Stalin.

The protagonist, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party who works for the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), which is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism.
His job is to re-write past newspaper articles so that the historical record is congruent with the current party doctrine.
Because of the childhood trauma of the destruction of his family — the disappearances of his parents and sister — Winston Smith secretly hates the Party, and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother.
As literary political fiction and as dystopian science-fiction, 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' is a classic novel in content, plot, and style, because many of its terms and concepts, such as Big Brother, doublethink, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and memory hole, have become contemporary vernacular since its publication in 1949.
Moreover, Nineteen Eighty-Four popularised the adjective Orwellian, which refers to official deception, secret surveillance, and manipulation of the past in service to a totalitarian political agenda.


Nineteen Eighty-Four occurs in Oceania, one of three intercontinental super-states who divided the world among themselves after a global war.
Most of the action takes place in London, the "chief city of Airstrip One", the Oceanic province that "had once been called England or Britain".
Posters of the Party leader, Big Brother, bearing the caption BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU adorn the landscape, while the ubiquitous telescreen (a transceiving television set) monitors the private and public lives of the populace.

As the government, the Party controls the population with four ministries: the Ministry of Peace (Minipax), Ministry of Plenty (Miniplenty), Ministry of Love (Miniluv), and the Ministry of Truth (Minitrue), where protagonist Winston Smith (a member of the Outer Party) works as an editor revising historical records to concord the past to the contemporary party line orthodoxy — that changes daily — and deletes the official existence of people identified as unpersons.

The story of Winston Smith begins on 4 April 1984: "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen"; yet he is uncertain of the true date, given the régime’s continual historical revisionism.
His memories and his reading of the proscribed book, 'The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism', by Emmanuel Goldstein, reveal that after the Second World War, the United Kingdom fell to civil war and then was integrated to Oceania.
Simultaneously, the USSR annexed continental Europe and established the second superstate of Eurasia.
The third superstate, Eastasia comprises the regions of East Asia and Southeast Asia.
The three superstates fight a perpetual war for the remaining unconquered lands of the world, in pursuit of which they form and break alliances as convenient.

From his childhood (1949–53), Winston remembers the Atomic Wars fought in Europe, western Russia, and North America.
It is unclear to him what occurred first — either the Party's civil war ascendance, or the US's annexation of the British Empire, or the war wherein Colchester was bombed — however, the increasing clarity of his memory and the story of his family's dissolution suggest that the atomic bombings occurred first (the Smiths took refuge in a tube station) followed by civil war featuring "confused street fighting in London itself", and the societal postwar reorganisation, which the Party retrospectively call "the Revolution".

© Copyright Peter Crawford 2014

The story of Winston Smith presents the world in the year 1984, after a global atomic war, via his perception of life in Airstrip One (England or Britain), a province of Oceania, one of the world's three superstates; his intellectual rebellion against the Party and illicit romance with Julia; and his consequent imprisonment, interrogation, torture, and re-education by the Thinkpol in the Miniluv.

Winston Smith is an intellectual, a member of the Outer Party, who lives in the ruins of London, and who grew up in some long post-World War II England, during the revolution and the civil war after which the Party assumed power.
At some point his parents and sister disappeared, and the Ingsoc movement placed him in an orphanage for training and subsequent employment as an Outer Party civil servant.
Yet his squalid existence consists of living in a one-room flat on a subsistence diet of black bread and synthetic meals washed down with Victory-brand gin.
He keeps a journal of negative thoughts and opinions about the Party and Big Brother, which, if uncovered by the Thought Police, would warrant death.
The flat has an alcove, beside the telescreen, where he apparently cannot be seen, and thus believes he has some privacy, while writing in his journal: "Thoughtcrime does not entail death - thoughtcrime IS death".
The telescreens (in every public area, and the quarters of the Party's members), hidden microphones, and informers permit the Thought Police to spy upon everyone and so identify anyone who might endanger the Party's régime; children, most of all, are indoctrinated to spy and inform on suspected thought-criminals — especially their parents.

At the Minitrue, Winston is an editor responsible for the historical revisionism concording the past to the Party's contemporary official version of the past; thus making the government of Oceania seem omniscient. 
As such, he perpetually rewrites records and alters photographs, rendering the deleted people as "unpersons"; the original documents are incinerated in a "memory hole".
(This constant manipulation of the past and the concept of 'unpersons' is taken directly from the Soviet System)
Despite enjoying the intellectual challenges of historical revisionism, he becomes increasingly fascinated by the true past and tries to learn more about it.

One day, at the Minitrue, as Winston assisted a woman who had fallen, she surreptitiously handed him a folded paper note; later, at his desk he covertly reads the message: I LOVE YOU. The name of the woman is "Julia", a young dark haired mechanic who repairs the Minitrue novel-writing machines.

Before that occasion, Winston had loathed the sight of her, presuming she was a member of the fanatical Junior Anti-Sex League, because she wore the red sash of the League, and because she was the type of woman he believed he could not attract: young, beautiful, and puritanical; nonetheless, his hostility towards her vanishes upon reading the message.

Cautiously, Winston and Julia begin a love affair, at first meeting in the country, at a clearing in the woods, then at the belfry of a ruined church, and afterwards in a rented room atop an antiques shop in a proletarian neighbourhood of London.
There, they think themselves safe and unobserved, because the rented bedroom has no telescreen, but, unknown to Winston and Julia, the Thought Police were aware of their love affair.

Later, when the Inner Party member O'Brien approaches him, Winston believes he is an agent of the Brotherhood, a secret, counter-revolutionary organisation meant to destroy The Party.

The approach opened a secret communication between them; and, on pretext of giving him a copy of the latest edition of the Dictionary of Newspeak, O'Brien gives Winston 'The Book', 'The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism', by Emmanuel Goldstein, the infamous and publicly reviled leader of the Brotherhood. 
The Book explains the concept of perpetual war, the true meanings of the slogans WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, and IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH, and how the régime of The Party can be overthrown by means of the political awareness of the Proles.

The Thought Police capture Winston and Julia in their bedroom, to be delivered to the Ministry of Love for interrogation.
Charrington, the shop keeper who rented the room to them, reveals himself as an officer in the Thought Police.

After a prolonged regimen of systematic beatings and psychologically draining interrogation, O'Brien, who is revealed to be a Thought Police leader and becomes Smith's inquisitor, tortures Winston with electroshock, showing him how, through controlled manipulation of perception (e.g.: seeing whatever number of fingers held up that the Party demands one should see, whatever the "apparent" reality, i.e. 2+2=5), Winston can "cure" himself of his "insanity" — his manifest hatred for the Party. In long, complex conversations, he explains the Inner Party's motivation: complete and absolute power, mocking Winston's assumption that it was somehow altruistic and "for the greater good".

Asked if the Brotherhood exists, O'Brien replies that this is something Winston will never know; it will remain an unsolvable quandary in his mind.
During a torture session, his imprisonment in the Ministry of Love is explained: "There are three stages in your reintegration . . . There is learning, there is understanding, and there is acceptance", i.e. of the Party's assertion of reality.

In the first stage of political re-education, Winston Smith admits to and confesses to crimes he did and did not commit, implicating anyone and everyone, including Julia.
In the second stage of re-education for reintegration to the society of Oceania, O'Brien makes Winston understand that he is rotting away.
Winston counters that: "I have not betrayed Julia"; O'Brien agrees, Winston had not betrayed Julia because he "had not stopped loving her; his feelings toward her had remained the same".

One night, in his cell, Winston awakens, screaming: "Julia! Julia! Julia, my love! Julia!" O'Brien rushes in to the cell, but not to interrogate Winston, but to send him to Room 101, the most feared room in the Ministry of Love, where resides each prisoner's worst fear, which is forced upon him or her.

In Room 101 is Acceptance, the final stage of the political re-education of Winston Smith, whose primal fear of rats is invoked when a wire cage holding hungry rats is fitted onto his face.
As the rats are about to reach Winston’s face, he shouts: "Do it to Julia !", thus betraying her, and relinquishing his love for her.
Julia, also, betrayed Winston, in what O'Brien described as "a text book case" of betrayal.

At torture’s end, upon accepting the doctrine of The Party, Winston Smith is reintegrated to the society of Oceania, because he loved Big Brother.

Smith has accepted the Party's depiction of life, and sincerely celebrates a news bulletin reporting Oceania's decisive victory over Eurasia for control of Africa.
He then realises that "he had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother".