Ministry of Peace

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Not to be confused with Department of Peace.

The Ministry of Peace (Newspeak: Minipax) is one of four ministries in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Along with the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Love and the Ministry of Plenty, the Ministry of Peace governs in the Oceanic province of Airstrip One. It serves as the defense ministry of Oceania's government, and is in charge of the armed forces, mostly the navy and army. The Ministry of Peace may be the most vital organ of Oceania, seeing as the nation is supposedly at war continuously with either Eurasia or Eastasia and requires just the right force to not win the war, but keep it in a state of equipoise.

As explained in Goldstein's book, the Ministry of Peace revolves around the principle of perpetual war. Perpetual war uses up all surplus resources, keeping most citizens in lives of constant hardship - and thus preventing them from learning enough to comprehend the true nature of their society. Since that means the balance of the country rests in the war, the Ministry of Peace is in charge of fighting the war (mostly centered around Africa and India), but making sure to never tip the scales, in case the war should become one-sided. Oceanic telescreens usually broadcast news reports about how Oceania is continually winning every battle it fights, though these reports have little to no credibility.

As with all the other Nineteen Eighty-Four ministries, the Ministry of Peace is named the exact opposite of what it does, since the Ministry of Peace is in charge of maintaining a state of war. As one of the obvious phrases, the meaning of peace has been equalized with the meaning of war in the slogan of the party, which is "War is Peace".

As with the Ministry of Love the name is somewhat accurate only not in the normal sense of the word. By consuming all surplus resources that could make the population too comfortable, it keeps the structure of society intact, thus maintaining internal peace in Oceania.

While the term "Ministry" implies that it is headed by a minister, there is nowhere in the book any mention of a Minister of Peace nor of the ministers heading Oceania's three other Ministries. The heads of the ministries are evidently shadowy figures with all public attention focused on Big Brother.

References in television[edit]

The name "Ministry of Peace", and shorthand "Minipax", appear in the US science fiction TV series Babylon 5. The Ministry of Peace first appears in the episode "In the Shadow of Z'ha'dum". It is a sinister organisation, created to instill loyalty to the government of Earth and root out dissent; one of its senior staff is a "Mr Welles". In its role it more closely resembles the novel's Ministry of Love (which is responsible for the Thought Police and the interrogation of dissidents) than it does the Ministry of Peace depicted in Nineteen Eighty-Four.