In spring 1967, in Palo Alto, California, history teacher Ron Jones conducted an experiment with his class of 15-year-olds to sample the experience of the attraction and rise of the Nazis in Germany before World War II.Â In a matter of days the experiment began to get out of control, as those attracted to the movement became aggressive zealots and the rigid rules invited confusion and chaos.Â Â It serves as a teaching tool, to facilitate discussion of those uncomfortable topics of history, human nature, psychology, group behavior, intolerance and hate.
The primary purpose of this website (Â http://www.thewavehome.com/Â )is to document and separate fact from fiction about the original experiment.Â As the story is told and re-told, reported and fictionalized, carried in the news and blogged on the internet, it is becoming more difficult to learn what really happened.Â There has also been more information available recently from the original students, and that has been very helpful in sorting things out.Â This is intended to be a comprehensive and current collection of material and news, mostly from original sources.
It is also the purpose here to provide additional material for the discussion of this dark and never-ending side of human nature.Â In today's confused and chaotic world, it seems that polarization, persecution, political and religious extremism, cults, gangs and bullying are as prevalent as ever.Â The risks and stakes have never been higher, and this lesson is needed now more than ever.
Above is from the website pertaining to the movie I just watched this evening, The Wave.
I watched the German version, which based on what the movie/lesson pertained to, was quite harsh on the reality of how it could happen. (You can watch the German version free via Netflix)
You can also watch the made for tv version (in English at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4689717947890475769&ei=2G9uSvGDKpv-qAOCyJAd&q="the+wave"&hl=en# I haven't watched this version yet myself)
I also highly recommend checking out the site I gave you above to read quotes, lesson plans and a more understanding of what this teacher was trying to teach his students.
And this is also a lesson adults can learn. As I go through forums/blogs, I see the same mentality in adults, mostly in the political words. Below are words directly from the lesson, what words do you recognize that you or others might had said during a debate via political forums.
Â Charismatic leader
Promises of a better future by the leaders
Gradual process of influence, power and abuse
Questions and open discussion discouraged
Mistreatment of internal dissidents
Outside common enemies and scapegoats
Held together by paranoia and fear
The group as your home, family, place of safety
Aggressive hateful group (not loving/supportive/inclusive)
Extreme positions and behavior
No middle ground (see issues in black-and-white, right-or-wrong)
Rigid rules of behavior
Snitching by members
Strict enforcement of rules by thugs
Elitist arrogant attitudes
Assertively recruit new members
The "right way", the "only way"
Majority are complaisant, while zealots are complicit
Procedures include elements of formality and mythology
Uniforms, flags, logos and other group bonding accoutrements
"If they are not for us, then they are against us"
"Holier than thou"
Transparency in organizations and government
Group versus individual rights
Terminology to Consider
Collaboration and complicity
One of my favorite quotes from the lesson plans
"THEY CAME FIRST for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
THEN THEY CAME for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
THEN THEY CAME for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
THEN THEY CAME for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."
Be you against Obama/Left Wings/Democrats/Republicans/Right Wings/Tea Partiers: The words above are DEADLY, it is a way for you to be a part of a group that think alike, act alike...a sheep if you must.
Be yourself, don't repeat what you heard on a tv news show, or a website or from your friend on a forum...Stop...listen...learn
Before you become a group of Nazis who want to see the end of another group of human beings who don't see eye to eye with your believes.
Thank you for reading.