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The Third Wave was the name given by history teacher Ron Jones to an experimental recreation of Nazi Germany which he conducted with high school students.

The experiment took place at Cubberley High School in Palo Alto, California, during one week in 1967[1]. Jones, unable to explain to his students why the German citizens (particularly non-Nazis) allowed the Nazi Party to exterminate millions of Jews and other so-called 'undesirables', decided to show them instead.

Jones writes that he started with simple things like classroom discipline, and managed to meld his history class into a group with a supreme sense of purpose and no small amount of cliquecliquishness]].

Jones named the movement "The Third Wave," after the common wisdom that the third in a series of ocean waves is always the strongest, and claimed its members would revolutionize the world.

The experiment allegedly took on a life of its own, with students from all over the school joining in; Jones wrote that he agonized over the outcome of the exercise before bringing it to a halt by claiming that the movement had a world-wide leader, and then displaying a film clip of him: Adolf Hitler.

Despite the clear implications of this study on the malleability of young minds, of particular interest to both psychologists seeking to understand and prevent it, and would-be world dictators attempting to recreate it, little had surfaced on the subject until recently. Todd Strasser, under the pen name Morton Rhue, wrote a young-adult novel on the subject (entitled The Wave), which was a novelization of the 1981 Norman Lear TV movie "The Wave." Original students were interviewed in the 1991 article by Leslie Weinfield (linked below), and in fall 2010 the new documentary film "Lesson Plan" debuted wherein the original Third Wave students and their teacher Ron Jones re-tell the story in their own words.


  • In 2006, a Florida middle school history class attempted to recreate the experiment with even younger children. [2]

See also


External links

el:Το Τρίτο Κύμα
es:Tercera Ola
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