The blurb of the German edition of the novel The Wave by Morton Rhue begins with the question, “How does fascism arise?”. In order to be able to determine whether The Wave was indeed some sort of fascist movement, it is worthwhile to first consider the characteristics of fascism or the Nazi state.

Fascist movements are characterized above all by the absolutization of their own interests and a strictly hierarchical orientation (leader principle). Further characteristics are the complete control over the state and society as well as the uniform “national community”. Internal tensions are either distorted or denied.

Fascist states lack the characteristics of democracy and parliamentary constitutions. Minorities and opponents are consistently excluded or used to shift conflicts against them. Members of fascist movements are characterized by an increased willingness to use violence and aggressiveness, and political persuasion is also carried out with the help of struggle, propaganda, or, if necessary, violence. Political opponents are deliberately intimidated, eliminated, or suppressed by the surveillance apparatus.

Although The Wave, launched by Ben Ross, does not pursue any political goals, parallels with fascist movements can certainly be drawn. The first similarity consists of the clear leader principle and the hierarchical ranking: history teacher Mr Ross is clearly the creator and leader of the “society”. He gives orders that are followed by the students without question.

In the course of t...

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