Two Minutes Hate

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In the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), by George Orwell, the Two Minutes Hate is the daily, public period during which members of the Outer Party of Oceania must watch a film depicting the enemies of the state, specifically Emmanuel Goldstein and his followers, to openly and loudly express hatred for them.[1]

The political purpose of the Two Minutes Hate is to allow the citizens of Oceania to vent their existential anguish and personal hatreds towards politically expedient enemies: Goldstein and the enemy superstate of the moment. In re-directing the members' subconscious feelings away from the Party's government of Oceania, and towards non-existent external enemies, the Party minimises thoughtcrime and the consequent, subversive behaviours of thoughtcriminals.[2]


In the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), the first session of Two Minutes Hate shows the introduction of O'Brien, a member of the Inner Party, to the story of Winston Smith, the protagonist whose feelings communicate the effectiveness of the Party's psychological manipulation and control of Oceanian society:

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one's will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp.[2]

In the cinematic version of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), brainwashing of the participants in the Two Minutes Hate includes auditory and visual cues, such as "a hideous, grinding speech, as of some monstrous machine running without oil" that burst from the telescreen.[3] meant to psychologically excite the crowd into an emotional frenzy of hatred, fear, and loathing for Emmanuel Goldstein, and for Oceania's enemy of the moment, either Eastasia or Eurasia. The hate session includes the participants throwing things at the telescreen showing the film, as does the Julia character. In the course of the Two Minutes Hate, the film image of Goldstein metamorphoses into the face of a bleating sheep, as enemy soldiers advance towards the viewers of the film, before one enemy soldier charges towards the viewers, whilst firing his sub-machinegun; the face of that soldier then becomes the face of Big Brother.[4] At the end of the two-minute session of hatred, the members of the Party ritualistically chant "B-B . . . B-B . . . B-B . . . B-B." To maintain the extreme emotions provoked in the Two Minutes Hate sessions, the Party created Hate Week, a week-long festival of hatreds.[5]

Origins of the term[edit]

George Orwell's conceptions of the Two Minutes Hate and of Hate Week derived from the psychological warfare used by the Allies of the Entente and by the Central Powers during the First World War (1914–1918) to disrupt the garrison-like routines that the entrenched armies had developed, consequent to the stalemate of trench warfare.[6] In that time, British propagandists satirised the Imperial German campaign of nationalist hatred against the English, and imagined a Prussian family at their kitchen table having their "morning hate".[7] Moreover, both sides practised hates, in the form of short, daily artillery cannonades meant to disrupt the garrison routines of the enemy:

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 1/5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, T.F., 26 October 1916.[6]

Orwell's concept[edit]

Nonfictional concepts[edit]

The attacks on the liberal opposition by state-owned Russian television channels such as Russia-1 and RT have been characterised as reminiscent of the "two minutes hate". Russian television portrayed Ukrainian troops as monsters during the War in Donbas. One of the most notorious examples was a 2014 hoax report on Channel One Russia that Ukrainian soldiers had crucified a three-year-old child.[8]

American propaganda by the Committee on Public Information during World War I has also been compared to the propaganda in the "two minutes hate" program.[9]

Fictional concepts[edit]

In the 2002 American epic historical drama film, Gangs of New York, during the time of the American Civil War, nativists and confederates attend Uncle Tom's Cabin to express their hatred to President Abraham Lincoln for his attempt to turn the United States of America back to normal where it was before it was separated into two. The methods of this uncalled act of cruelty in this play are shouting racist epithets, throwing objects at Lincoln, and rioting to calls of "Down with the Union!", "Death to the tyrant!", "Sic semper tyrannis!", "The South shall be free!", etc.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) in George Orwell (1980) pp. 750–751.
  2. ^ a b "Nineteen Eighty-four, by George Orwell : chapter1.1". Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  3. ^ Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) in George Orwell (1980) p. 749.
  4. ^ Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) in George Orwell (1980) p. 751.
  5. ^ Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) in George Orwell (1980) p. 743.
  6. ^ a b 5th Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment (29 October 1916). "Monchy Au Bois". British Isle Genealogy. Retrieved 12 November 2009.
  7. ^ Graves, Charles Larcom (14 March 2004) [First impression July 1919]. "Mr. Punch's History of the Great War 1919". Punch. Retrieved 11 September 2017 – via Project Gutenberg.
  8. ^ Ennis, Stephen (4 February 2015). "How Russian TV uses psychology over Ukraine". BBC. Archived from the original on 2 March 2015. Retrieved 20 March 2015.
  9. ^ Kennedy, David M. (16 September 2004). Over Here: The First World War and American Society. OUP USA. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-19-517399-4. Retrieved 11 September 2017.