I am a coward
The book “The Wave” is based on real events, and it is about the history teacher Mr Ross and his students. Mr Ross wants his students to understand how it was in Germany during World War II. He decides that the best way of learning them that Nazis were people, just as himself and his students, is to turn them into Nazis without telling them what he is doing. He creates a group called “The Wave”. The group has their own salute, a symbol and a motto; “We are all in the same team, winners need discipline”. At first it is not that many members in The Wave but after a while the number of members starts to grow, and some members are taking The Wave very seriously, perhaps to serious? What started as an innocent experiment is going out of hand, will Mr Ross be able to stop it in time?
This book makes you think about how you would have reacted and what you would have done if you had lived during World War II. Many of us want to believe that we would have done something to stop the Nazis, but that is not the case. Many is to afraid, but if all the people that were afraid during World War II had worked together, they would have been stronger, and maybe then they would have dared to try to stop the Nazis.
I seriously do not believe that I would have done anything to stop the Nazis, because I know that I am a real big coward, but at least I admit it. I do not think I would agree with them, since I belong to one of the groups that the Nazis hated, but I would not do anything to stop them from killing people. I would never say my opinions, I would have been to scared. If an SS soldier would have asked me if I was a Nazi I would have answered “yes”, just to save my own skin. All I would do during World War II would be to try to stay alive.
The Wave is about a school in USA. The history teacher, Mr Ross one day introduces some new rule to the class. The students like the rules and after some days; Mr Ross says they are now a team. He names their team the Wave and they have some words they say to each other when they meet and also an own salute.
Mr Ross saw it as an experiment, but to the class, it's real. They are the Wave. The Wave is spreading steadily over the school and soon almost all the students are members of the Wave. The members start to dislike the people that aren't members. But there are also good things about the Wave – the students feel like a team and the students that were bullied before have got friends.
Mr Ross introduced the Wave to the class because he wanted to show them how it was in Germany during World War II. He wanted to show that it's easy to be a member of something and believe that the gang is doing something good.
Mr Ross and Hitler were both smart people. They started to say some things that sounded good and the people believed them. Hitler and Mr Ross made the people work as a team and humans like to feel they are a part of something. I think the Wave was a very good way to show the class that some Nazis probably were good people. When the Wave has stopped, the class says that they had learned a lot from the Wave. When I read about the Wave, I also learnt it's easier to start something than to stop it. Mr Ross had difficult to stop the Wave even when he had decided that he wanted to do so.
The great famine
In 1840 there lived nine million people in Ireland. 15 years later the population had decreased with 33%. The reason? The great famine.
The great famine started in 1845 when 33 to 50% of Ireland's potato crops were destroyed by a disease. Potatoes were a big part of the Irish food. The disease, called potato blight, was very dangerous for humans. You got the disease from the potatoes by eating them. In 1846 the potato blight spread over the country, and more people died. Some people starved to death, others died because of the potato blight. Scientists tried to figure out what the disease was caused by and how to stop it. They only succeeded to figure out the reason, not any cure. In 1848 and 1849 the country was also stroked by Cholera, and it killed even more people than the famine and the potato blight did. You cannot be sure about how many people that died because of the great famine, but at least one million people.
Many people emigrated to escape from the great famine. 70% emigrated to USA, 28% to Canada and 2% to Australia. Some people moved to England, but because Ireland and England both were part of the United Kingdom it was not counted as emigration. On the ships to America a big amount of people was very sick and died before they reached their destination. Therefor the boats were called “coffin ships”. When the people who survived came to America the Americans realized that they were very sick, so they put them in quarantine centres until they were healthy again. The emigration to America continued for almost a century. Because of that there is many people in USA and Canada with Irish roots.
During the great famine more and more people went to the churches, mostly Catholic churches. Many churches were built during this time. Still, a big part of the population are Catholics. Probably people searched for help from God during such a hard period. That is normal during such circumstances.
This years of sickness, starvation and emigration affected Ireland in a lot of ways. For example it affected the Irish. Fewer and fewer people were speaking Irish, and it was almost extinct, but now the knowledge about Irish is slowly starting to grow. It also affected Ireland's demography when so many people moved or died. As it always is with diseases, the eldest and the youngest are most affected. Mostly very old people and small children died of the potato blight. When almost a total generation could die of the potato blight, it was not as many as usual left who could grow up and get children of their own. The population decreased very much and it took a long time before it started to grow again.
Not only Ireland was affected by the great famine. Of course it also affected USA and Canada a lot. Today, many Americans have Irish roots, but that is not strange at all. America is a country, whose population exists of almost only immigrants. For example a lot of Americans have their origin in Sweden or Great Britain.
We can draw the conclusion that a huge disaster always affects the world history.
By: Robin Gustafsson and Elisabeth Wagersten.