The Two Minute Hateperiod – Immanuel Goldstein – 1984

Goettingen, Bismarckturm

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The Two Minute Hateperiod – Immanuel Goldstein – 1984

A Video from our Theaterproduction „George Orwells 1984“ in March 2008 in the Theater in OP in Goettingen

Nur die Diktatur ist Demokratie. Die Demokratie ist immer Diktatur.

Krieg ist Frieden, Freiheit ist Sklaverei und Unwissenheit ist Stärke!

In George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the Two Minutes Hate is a daily period in which Party members of the society of Oceania must watch a film depicting the Party’s enemies (notably Emmanuel Goldstein and his followers) and express their hatred for them.

The film and its accompanying auditory and visual cues (which include a grinding noise that Orwell describes as „of some monstrous machine running without oil“) are a form of brainwashing to Party members, attempting to whip them into a frenzy of hatred and loathing for Emmanuel Goldstein and the current enemy superstate. Apparently, it is not uncommon for those caught up in the hate to physically assault the telescreen, as Julia does during the scene.

The film becomes more surreal as it progresses, with Goldstein’s face morphing into a sheep as enemy soldiers advance on the viewers, before one such soldier charges at the screen, submachine gun blazing. He morphs, finally, into the face of Big Brother at the end of the two minutes. At the end, the mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted viewers chant „B-B!…B-B!“ over and over again, ritualistically.

Within the book, the purpose of the Hate is said to satisfy the citizens‘ subdued feelings of angst and hatred from leading such a wretched, controlled existence. By re-directing these subconscious feelings away from the Oceanian government and toward external enemies (which likely do not even exist), the Party minimizes subversive thought and behavior.

In the first Two Minutes Hate of the book, the audience is introduced to Inner Party member and key character O’Brien. Within the novel, hate week is an extrapolation of the two-minute period into an annual week-long festival.

Origins of the term

Cover of "Nineteen Eighty-Four"

Cover of Nineteen Eighty-Four

Orwell did not invent the term „two minutes hate“; it was already in use in the First World War.[1] At that time, British writers satirised the German campaign of hatred against the English, and imagined a Prussian family sitting around the kitchen table having its „morning hate“.[2]

In addition, short daily artillery bombardments made by either side during the First World War, and aimed at disrupting enemy routines, were known as „hates“:

The evening of this same inspection was one of the few occasions on which Pommier was bombarded. A sudden two minutes’ ‘hate’ of about 40 shells, 4.2 and 5.9, wounded three men and killed both the C.O.’s horses, ‘Silvertail’ and ‘Baby’
—A record of the 1/5th Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment, T.F., during the first world War, 1914-1919[1]

See also

Emmanuel Goldstein's ominous face on a telescr...

Emmanuel Goldstein’s ominous face on a telescreen in Michael Radford’s 1984 film adaptation. Played by actor John Boswall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


  1. ^ a b „Monchy Au Bois“. British Isle Genealogy. Retrieved 12 November 2009.
  2. ^ Graves, Charles Larcom (1 March 2004 [Upload date]). „Mr. Punch’s History of the Great War“ (Various [plain text or HTML]). Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 12 November 2009.


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