A 'young adult' novel by Todd Strasser, The Wave (1981) is based on a true incident that occurred in a high school history class in Palo Alto, California, in 1969. Made into a TV movie.
The powerful forces of group pressure that pervaded many historic movements such as Nazism are recreated in the classroom when history teacher Burt Ross introduces a "new" system to his students. And before long "The Wave," with its rules of "strength through discipline, community, and action, " sweeps from the classroom through the entire school. And as most of the students join the movement, Laurie Saunders and David Collins recognize the frightening momentum of "The Wave" and realize they must stop it before it's too late.
Despite that rather trite précis from the publisher, this little collection of words has had an appreciative impact on my formative years. Quite. When she suggested the work in Form 3 (Year 9), my teacher may not have envisioned the depth of cynicism and suspicion towards social contracts that, in all honesty, poison my current ideology, but it's comforting to know that someone cared about the completeness of my education. Get 'em while they're young, credulous and malleable, I say.
Admit it, you've seen it happen to others before and laughed: students disbelieve that the rise and..ick..of the National Socialists occurred sans widespread active support and agreement; teacher thinks 'uppity infidels' and gets the class to form a similar society based on special greetings to members, limited association with non-members, anonymous reporting, and proselytisation (insert snide and stereotyped comparison here); said society gyres out of control; civil war; new world order; and so on and so forth. Except for the last two. All well and good, but when the inevitable nipping in the bud ocurred, I must confess that I found myself rather disappointed. Which led to much pleasurable (mental! heavens me) exploration of my Inner Fascist, an interesting coincidence, and the tendency to view all such depictions lacking yours truly as Führer as vaguely amusing, if not more so.