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In writing the work, Orwell was influenced and inspired by totalitarian regimes of the time, including Hitler's Nazi Germany and Stalin's Soviet Union. Both regimes glorified their respective leaders as demi-gods and saviors, required the destruction of all individuality in order to promote the Party's needs over the individual's, demanded absolute loyalty from their citizens, and resorted to violence whenever disloyalty was suspected. Moreover, both regimes consistently demonized their enemies, just as the Party and Big Brother do in 1984, through the Two Minutes Hate, Hate Week, and daily mass propaganda.
Orwell wrote 1984 as a warning to modern society of the damage that can come from embracing totalitarian regimes. The novel mourns the loss of personal identity while demonstrating how to effectively rid a person of their independence, particularly through extensive sexual repression and the prohibition of individual thought. Many of the concepts and themes presented in 1984 have steadily made their way into the common vernacular. For instance, the phrase "Big Brother" is often used to refer to the advancement and expansion of technology used to observe and record behavior, such as video cameras placed on city streets and government monitoring of phone and Internet communication. The adjective "Orwellian" is also commonly used to describe such real-world developments reminiscent of1984.