Two Minutes Hate

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The Two Minutes Hate, from George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, 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 for exactly two minutes.

Details from Nineteen Eighty-Four

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 or throw things at 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 Two Minutes 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 probably do not even exist), the Party minimises subversive thought and behaviour.

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

Orwell did not invent the idea behind 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 1/5th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment, T.F., during the First World War, 1914–1918[1]

Use of Orwell's concept

Russian T.V.'s Rossiya 1's attacks on the liberal opposition have been characterised as reminiscent of the 'two minutes of hate' in Orwells 1984 and Russian television has been used to portray Ukrainian troops as monsters during the War in Donbass. One of the most notorious examples was a (hoax) 2014 report on state-controlled Channel One TV that Ukrainian soldiers had crucified a three-year-old.[3]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 5th Battalion the Leicestershire Regiment (29 October 1916). "Monchy Au Bois". British Isle Genealogy. Retrieved 12 November 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Graves, Charles Larcom (1 March 2004). "The Project Gutenberg eBook of Mr. Punch's History of the Great War, by Punch". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved 20 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Stephen Ennis (4 February 2015). "BBC Monitoring - How Russian TV uses psychology over Ukraine". BBC Monitoring. Retrieved 20 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>