"The plot of the film is derived from a German best-selling novel, in turn based on events in a California high school in the 1960s when a teacher decided to teach about fascism by putting his students through a programme of inculcating discipline, uniformity and commitment to the group. In the film, the self-selecting group of students who opt for a Project Week topic on ‘autocracy’ find themselves with a popular and laid-back teacher, horrified that he’s been given the topic to teach and that his preferred option ‘anarchy’ (he has been a real anarchist) has been given to the most conservative teacher in the school. Faced with a class expecting something new, “Not the Third Reich again, man!”, he quickly decides he needs a new idea."
- excerpt from here.
apparently ('tho there seems to be some controversy), something like that really did happen in some small californian city called palo alto in the 1960s, 'tho not with such tragic consequences. links below for more info.
this was quite an interesting film.