Mr. Wenger's Disobedience As Depicted In The Film '

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The film highlights how easy it is for a group of unsuspecting and easily influenced people to become controlled and entirely influenced by a leader, very much drawing on German history and Hitler’s remarkable rise to power. We observe throughout film the progression from a group of students who believe that Germany has learnt from its mistakes and thus could never again be run by a totalitarian government, to a group of students who have subconsciously embraced a strict regime and actively fight for its survival. Instead of merely teaching his students about autocracy, the teacher, Mr Wenger, decides to form a mini dictatorship within his classroom as a sort of experiment. Nominating himself as a leader, despite his clear aversion to dictatorship…show more content…
Mr Wenger has thus already established an authoritative relationship with his pupils and before he has even begun this experiment and Mr Wenger has already gained the respect of his student group and thus has acquired a following. Mr Wenger’s position as a totalitarian dictator works in a number of ways within the film. Having already established a following, he soon begins his experiment by imposing strict methods of discipline on his group. When he enters the room, all students must stand up, the students must only speak when spoken to and they must all address him as ‘Herr Wenger’. They must answer ‘Ja, Herr Wenger’ or ‘Nein, Herr Wenger’ to his questions. By addressing him in this way and being made to refer to him by a formal title when the students are used to addressing him by his first name, Rainer, the students immediately assume an inferior position to him. He has transformed from being a relaxed, friendly and approachable teacher, into a strict, terrifying…show more content…
However, as the experiment continues throughout the week the students and teacher alike begin to embrace this regime in an interesting yet terrifying way. The group, in a similar way to the Nazis of the Holocaust, begin to acquire their own brand and thus become a recognisable single unit. The teacher, Mr Wenger, demands that the students taking part in the experiment must adopt a new uniform consisting of blue jeans and a white shirt in order to unite the group and to absolve any aesthetic differences that may stand between them. In addition to this uniform, the group acquire a group name, ‘Die Welle’, a group symbol, which consists of a kind of menacing looking wave, and a group salute that is a sweeping hand movement across the chest which they must perform every time the group members come into contact with each other or their teacher. By acquiring a name, a symbol, a uniform and a salute, the teacher has sown the seeds for the success of the totalitarian experiment. The group already look like a fascist movement and soon they start behaving like one. The students soon respond to the unifying effects of the group

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