Unethical experiments

The actual conflict within the novel The Wave by Morton Rhue arises from a film about National Socialism. Following the documentary, history teacher Ben Ross is unable to explain to his students in a comprehensible way why the German population did not resist Hitler: “Why hadn’t he been able to give the students adequate answers to their questions? Was the behavior of the majority of Germans during the Nazi regime really so inexplicable?” (Chapter 4, 0%) . While he is pondering this question, an idea begins to shape up.

Together with his students, Ben wants to try out an experiment to see if it can provide him and his students with answers to their questions. He establishes a movement: The Wave. In this way, he wants to give his students a better understanding of the conditions of that time. However, this experiment should not last longer than one or two lessons. That the experiment will ultimately be completely beyond his control, is something Ben Ross cannot know at this point: 

Suppose, he thought, just suppose he took a period, perhaps two periods, and tried an experiment. Just tried to give his students a sampling, a taste of what life in Nazi Germany might have been like. If he could just figure out how it could be done, how the experiment could be run, he was certain it would make far more of an impression on the students than any book exp...

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