A Teacher’s Sensational Third Wave Experiment

In 1967, a teacher at California Palo Alto High School conducted such an interesting experiment with his students that this experiment remained an exemplary lesson in the minds of the students even years later. So what was the purpose of this experiment?

History teacher Ron Jones wanted to do an experiment to make sense of Nazi Germany with his students, aged 15-16, who were in the Contemporary World History class and were in the 10th grade. But after a certain point this experiment got out of hand and began to disrupt the psychology of young people. In fact, Jones was expelled from school for spearheading such a thing.

Moreover, the name of the experiment spread as far as Hollywood. made in 1981 ‘The Wave’ The movie is based on the true story of this experiment. Then let’s go into the details of this subject without leaving you wondering any more.

In fact, what caused this experiment to start; One student said, “How come the Nazis are attractive to people? For example, when the Holocaust happened, why didn’t the German people object to it?”

Ron Jones

Instead of answering the question, Jones dressed as a dictator and wanted the students to experience the answer to the question directly. On the first day of the experiment, Jones came to school and cleaned the classroom; Then, with a very serious attitude, students He waited for them to come to class.

When the teacher is someone who normally doesn’t keep track of students’ absences, suddenly his character It has changed 180 degrees.

Documentary: Lesson Plan of The Third Wave (2010)

The students, of course, were a little surprised the first time they saw their teacher in this state. Jones told his students that the key to success ‘strength through discipline’ Said it was to get.

The young people, who were unaware of what was going to happen to them, did not care much about this experiment at first. The reason for this was that his teachers were famous throughout the school with his charismatic personality. But your charisma When you read the rest of the story, you will understand that it does not always mean a positive meaning.

After a long time since this experiment; Growing students talked about this interesting experience in their interviews. Jones, for example, to those who participated in the experiment and took it seriously and made it a matter of life and death. A will give expressed.

Palo Alto High School

Again, those who participated in the experiment and did not spend enough effort for this experiment C will give, He said that he would give F to those who did not participate in the experiment and did actions that could sabotage the experiment. Moreover, students who got an F would have to work in the library throughout the year.

The teacher made sure that the students sat up up to postures He set certain rules for them in many matters. In fact, one student said that after the teacher asked them to stand up straight, she started to breathe better and became more active in the lesson.

Class rules began to turn more and more into military discipline. For example, students had to listen to the teacher silently until they heard the second bell. Or anyone who wants to ask a question should definitely get permission. shouldn’t even have made a sound.

third wave movie

Jones saw that the students adopted the experiment very much the day after the experiment and got into different moods. If it were up to Jones, most of the students would go into this experiment. “Let our grades rise on the eve of university transition” purpose, but things were not like that at all.

Jones even assumed that the experiment would only last one day, and that the students would return to their usual self the day after the experiment. ‘Unexpected stone head benefits’ They didn’t say in vain, when you read the end of the experiment a little later, you can really say that in your heart.

In the second phase of the experiment, a special type of greeting emerged, as with the Nazis.

Representational image of students greeting each other

The day after the experiment, the students “Commander, Commander” He was waiting for his teacher in the classroom, looking as if to say. When Jones entered the classroom and saw them like that, he wrote “strength through unity” instead of “strength through discipline” on the board.

Steve Coniglio, former student and director, shows the greeting

Jones then taught the youth a way of greeting, just as with the Nazis. He even made it mandatory for them to greet each other when they saw each other both in the classroom and outside. The purpose of this to teach unity so called.

Movie: The Wave (2008)

This wave of greetings gradually spread throughout the school, and everyone third wave named it. This greeting is also present in the movie The Wave, and the audience remembers it.

The experiment became so absurd that even classroom cops were chosen from among the students to spy on the others.


Normally, when the experiment first started, there were 30 people in the class because that’s what the class had. But even on the third day, the class size reached 43 people with the students coming from outside. It is impossible for him to understand “why did the students want to participate in such a dictatorial experiment?” To many, this experiment it sounded like a game probably.

Jones led a group of three people he called elite guardians. surveillance team He said he wanted to install it. As these individuals were selected, the entire class closed their eyes and placed their hands on the desk.

Then Jones came three students touched his shoulder. As you can see, even this selection phase is entirely under the initiative of a single person.

real image

Classroom cops follow the others and see if they have misbehaved. They were tasked with reporting to Jones. In addition, the teacher forbade more than three people to get together and talk. Whatever it is…

Jones takes the people who have been reported to him in the middle of the class and to discuss their crimes was beginning. Persons thought to be guilty were also asked to explain why they were not guilty.

Let’s say these young people were found guilty despite all their statements, then the whole class was excluding them. This experiment actually created peer bullying among students. The teacher even intimidated the youth so much that the consequences of not following the rules unable to go to university He even said he was.

The students were very immersed in this experiment. Some students thought they were Ron Jones’ bodyguards or something.

Nazi Germany

One day, a student followed Jones into the teachers’ room, and then another teacher fired that student. Thereupon, Jones thought that this experiment had destroyed the psychology of the young people. your real face He decided it was time to show them.

Jones told the students Third Wave He said that they were in a national movement called the national movement and that it was very special. When the students heard this, they seemed to go crazy with excitement.

Movie: The Wave (2008)

The teacher said that the next day he would bring a television and show the students the leader of this national movement. This day, however, was very special because it was the day the youths would take an oath of allegiance to this leader, and it was exclusive to those who participated in the experiment. even after “Is that all that counts?” It was an absurd development you would say.

a lumber firm “The Third Wave Is Coming!” He published a poster in Time Magazine under his name. Seeing this, the students were now sure that their teacher was telling the 100% truth.

When the day of reckoning came, the tears flooded…

Adolf Hitler

When the young people come to the rally ‘discipline by force’ started chanting. There were even more than 200 Third Wave Movement members coming from three nearby schools.

At 12:05, Jones turned on the television and nothing was shown on the screen for two minutes. Young people were surprised when they couldn’t see anything on the screen because a leader image they expected to see.

Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party

Then Jones told the students that there really was no leader, that he had been deceiving and manipulating them from the very beginning. Jones wanted the young people to see the extent to which their desire to be dominated by someone else came to be deplorable. Because most of them are disciplined by someone else and by that person. to control They had become accustomed to its comfort and had given up their freedom just because of it.

Holocaust (Jewish Genocide)

It was a matter of criticism for Jones that the students did not give up on the experiment while they were free to quit. That’s why they “How long were you planning to keep this going?” he questioned implicitly.

Nuremberg Rally

Then the teacher told the students that the Nazi party had organized Nuremberg rally, concentration camps and Nazism He showed various images and videos featuring his ascension. Most of the students were crying while watching these, and on the other hand, they were confused about “what did we get into”.

In short, young people have seen how fascist their love of power can reach. So what do you think?


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