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Repblica Bolivariana de Venezuela

Universidad Central de Venezuela

Facultad de Humanidades y Educacin
Escuela de Idiomas Modernos
Ingls V


Autor: Andrs Elas Gonzlez Garca

C.I: 23.707.921
Profesor: Lucius Daniel

Caracas, 4 de marzo de 2015

World War II left a legacy of death and destruction in all Europe. Not
only the lives of 50 Million people were lost, but the whole world was able to
witness the evil that was brought by the political and ideological movement
used by Hitler and Mussolini: fascism. Nowadays, first half of the XXI
century, 75 years have passed since the Soviet Union and America
advanced successfully against the Axis, forcing the German capitulation
both in Rheims and Berlin. Since then, History itself has progressively
revealed the consequences of the anti-Semitism that produced the
systematic death of millions of Jews, and step by step those empires
involved in the catastrophe have assumed and implicit but necessary
historic responsibility. Now, documentaries and master classes, speeches
and commemorations about the topic are plentiful.
In this context a high school professor named Ron Jones decided to
make an experiment in order to explain his students how it was possible
that a political project with such dangerous nature like fascism could
persuade enough supporters to put Hitler in the German Chancellors Office
and throw Europe in an international chaos. Titled The Third Wave, this
experiment consisted in the creation of an ideological group with strong
nationalistic foundations that could modify the patterns of behavior of any
community (in this case his own students) through the use of persuasion,
identity and human nature itself.
Inspired in the academic success of Ron Jones experiment, director
Dennis Gansel observed a great amount of parallelisms between the
American society of the second half of the XX century and the German
society that exists today. If the American students of back then could not
conceive that Germans felt attracted to the ideas of fascism, the German
students that belong to the third generation since the ending of WWII took
for granted that it was impossible that fascism could be established once
again in Europe. That is how Die Welle was born.
Die Welle (The Wave, in English) is a sociopolitical thriller which, based on
Ron Jones experiment, tells the story of a course and its professor, Reiner
Wenger. When he realizes of the lack of disposition that his own students
have when addressing the topic of National Socialism or talking about
figures like Hitler and Mussolini, he decides to make and experiment in order
to prove how easily fascism could become a popular movement in Germany.
Just like Ron Jones experiment, the experiment made by Reiner would last
five complete days.
Reiner Wenger (Jrgen Vogel) is the kind of teacher that is popular
and respected among students. Dressing with mostly punk bands T-shirts,
he is considered the cool teacher who in every vacation break dictates
Anarchy as an optional subject in a high school of a tiny German town.
However, because of a conflict with another professor he is obligated to
dictate the subject of Autocracy. When he finds himself in front of a course
of German students sick and tired of talking about Hitler, he decides to

make a theorical-practical experiment as a pedagogic resource to teach

them how fascist groups form and how their members behave.
The Project is based on the principles on which the National Socialism
was established in the Germany of the XX century: Power through discipline,
power through union and power through force. The experiment has different
stages, being the first one the modification of the rules in class. In order to
intervene the students would have to stand up and give clear concise
answers, addressing their teacher not as Reiner but Herr Wenger (or Mr.
Wenger), which is now the main figure of the course, the Fhrer. The groups
of friends that usually form in the classroom are separated and the students
with best grades are placed next to the ones with bad grades in order to
increase and guarantee the efficiency of the course. Later on a uniform is
decided so they can differentiate themselves from the rest of the school.
This uniform consists of a white shirt that preserves decorum and equality,
eliminating in the process any sign of individualism. The students learn how
to march rhythmically, not only to sabotage the anarchy class that has its
classroom downstairs, but to consolidate the course as a unified entity. Then
the now created movement chooses Die Welle as its name in order to unify
all its members under the same identity.
After those first steps the movement reaches to a point in which it
assumes own independence and self-development. The students, without
Herr Wengers suggestion, decide to create a salute and a symbol that could
represent them. The course begins to acquire an uncontrollable popularity
and dozens of students that were initially not even part of the course begin
to participate actively in the movement. Parties exclusive for members are
organized, and little by little discrimination arises between the members of
Die Welle and the rest of the school population. The members assume the
implicit responsibility of promoting his ideas not only in the classroom or the
school, but also throughout the town, causing friction between them and
groups of anarchists. Breaking point is the scene in which Tim (Frederick
Lau) stands along with his friend against one of those anarchist groups,
drawing a gun in front of everybody. Completely frightened, anarchists run
away and Tims friends immediately reject the action while he excuse
himself saying that the gun only fires fake bullets.
In the course only one student stands up against Die Welle after
realizing about the dangerous nature that movement begins to acquire:
Karol (Jennifer Ulrich). Even though she is one of the students with the
highest grades, the movement begins to ostracize and attack her after she
says she do not like the uniform that she is being forced to wear. The
circumstances turn her not only into a pariah in the course, but also into a
symbol of the opposition of Die Welle. In a scene where the members of the
movement are supporting the school swimming team in a competition
against the team on another school, Karl decides to spread anti-Die Welle
propaganda, causing a brawl in the swimming pool area. She is silenced by
her own classmates, who rush to take all the flyers and destroy them. Slowly

but surely she opens the eyes of her boyfriend, Marko (Max Riemelt), who in
the final day of the experiment stands up against Die Welle and his teacher,
claiming that everything has gone too far. Reiner Wenger, in his role as a
dictator, orders to the other students to catch Marko so he can be punished
for treason. That way the experiment finishes, and Reiner gives a speech in
which he repudiates the fanatic behavior of his students. However, Tim, that
had developed an obsession with Die Welle, draws his gun and in a burst of
insanity he shoots to one of his best friends, Bomber (Maximillian Vollmer).
When he realizes what he had done, he turns the gun at himself, and shoots.
The ending of Die Welle is the result of the consequences that are
brought by boundless power. Throughout the movie the audience can
appreciate scenes that symbolize and make reference to the political reality
of a lot of countries around the world. The promotion of discrimination and
hate against the dissidence and to anyone that has an opinion against the
established system. Censorship of ideas, convincing persuasion that appeals
to our identity, to who we are. The lack of space for individualism. Die Welle
shows how easy we can forget the principles of democracy and be seduced
by the supremacy of autocracy, a State that does not admit anything
outside itself.