You got the gist of it. 1984 was a reaction to Orwell's own experiences in the British colonial police, as a propagandist for the BBC during WW2, and under the late 1940s Labour government. What most people (and evidently many American high school English teachers) don't understand is that the book has
to be read as immanent to WW2. 'Newspeak' draws from an essay Orwell wrote on trends in British journalism. The longing for a half-remembered before time is not abstract and reactionary, but a concrete depiction of how WW2 imposed brutal austerity conditions on the British people. It's also a reaction to Fordism and the kind of obsession with a rationalized, efficient world that was common back then. We see this with "the clocks were striking 13"—they're on military time! It's a depiction of militarized efficiency cannibalizing all of society. The stuff about "we've always been at war with Eastasia"? That happened in 1945 when the war propaganda effort switched abruptly from focusing on Germany to Japan. Orwell was there when that happened, in the BBC. The book ends with Orwell giving up on, essentially, Blanquism and reformism and endorsing a proletarian revolution. It's a critique of the ideology behind British Imperial decline, of wartime social democracy, and of the contemporary trends that idolize that period.