Jones instilled harsh discipline, continuously drilling his students on sitting a certain way, answering questions a certain way, breathing a certain way, and yes, chanting and saluting in a certain way. They raised their right arms to their chests, palms down, while chanting "Strength Through Discipline. Strength Through Community." Since the motion looked like a wave, Jones called their movement the Third Wave. Again, this was two days after lecturing about the Third Reich.
Nothing derivative about this.
Few students caught on, and by Day Three, Jones realized things were spiraling out of control. As he put it, "The Wave had become the center of [the students'] existence." They had membership cards, black armbands, were saluting each other in the halls, and were intimidating and even beating up students who weren't in The Wave. Kids were even cutting other classes and joining Jones', simply to assimilate into The Wave. Within five days, he had over 200 blindly obedient kids at his command.
Even Jones himself was acting like a dictator, becoming more disciplinary and authoritarian by the hour. But he couldn't stop, because both he and the students had gotten in too deep. If he abruptly ended it with "April Fools!" then young minds and spirits would likely be crushed, and perhaps they'd even revolt against Jones or fellow students. Remember that the next time you ask why Trump never dropped out.
He wanted to be involved, you guys.
Jones' solution, after five days of increasingly scary incidents (including one of the students' fathers, a former POW of the Nazis, destroying the classroom in a fit of rage), was to double-trick the students. He told The Wave they were part of a nationwide effort to find students willing to create change -- in schools, colleges, the working world, politics -- until they'd ultimately change "the destiny of this nation." They were now the Third Wave Youth Program, because "YOU ARE ALL ACTING LIKE NAZIS" didn't roll off the tongue as well.
After exiling the handful of students who still questioned The Wave (leaving only dutiful, obedient Wavers), Jones held a Wavers-only rally. What they got wasn't a rally, but rather footage of the worst shit the Nazis did, starting with Nuremberg Rallies, followed by families being violently torn apart and hoarded into vans and trains on the way to the death camps. It ended with Nazis on trial insisting they only did what they were told, followed by the quote, "Everyone must accept the blame. No one can claim that they didn't in some way take part."
"Uh, some more than others ..."
With that, Jones explained The Wave was a hoax, and how it exposed the children as fully capable of the evil they were taught about the week before. "You have been used, manipulated," he told them. "Shoved by your own desires into the place you now find yourself. You are no better or worse than the German Nazis we have been studying. You thought that you were the elect. That you were better than those outside this room. You bargained your freedom for the comfort of discipline and superiority. You chose to accept that group's will and the big lie over your own conviction."
The kids learned their lesson. They learned their lesson so hard that many of them waited decades to tell anyone about the time they were fake Nazis. Instead, they grew up to never talk about politics or engage in government again.
Jason is on Facebook and Twitter, doling out lessons to all who listen. Now if only someone would listen.
Also check out 5 Feel-Good School Programs With Horrifying Consequences and The 6 Most Horrific Lessons Ever Taught In Elementary School.
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