(I don't know if this fits in on the boardm but oh well)
The History of the Swastika
The swastika ( ) is an ancient symbol. Dating back 3,000 years, the swastika predates the ancient Egyptian symbol, the Ankh (). Approximately 3,000
years ago (1000 BCE), the swastika was commonly used; swastikas have been found on many artifacts such as pottery and coins dating from ancient Troy.
During the following thousand years, the image of the swastika could be found in many cultures around the world, including in China, Japan, India, and
By the Middle Ages, the swastika was a well known, if not commonly used, symbol but was called by many different names:
China - wan
England - fylfot
Germany - Hakenkreuz
Greece - tetraskelion and gammadion
India - swastika
Though it is not known for exactly how long, Native Americans also had long used the symbol of the swastika
The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix.
Until the Nazis used this symbol, the swastika was used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength, and
Even in the early twentieth century, the swastika was still a symbol with positive connotations. For instance, the swastika was a common decoration
that often adorned cigarette cases, postcards, coins, and buildings. During World War I, the swastika could even be found on the shoulder patches of
the American 45th Division and on the Finnish air force until after World War II.
In the 1800s, countries around Germany were growing much larger, forming empires; yet Germany was not a unified country until 1871. To counter the
feeling of vulnerability and the stigma of youth, German nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century began to use the swastika, because it had ancient
Aryan/Indian origins, to represent a long Germanic/Aryan history.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the swastika could be found on nationalist German volkisch periodicals and was the official emblem of the German
In the beginning of the twentieth century, the swastika was a common symbol of German nationalism and could be found in a multitude of places such as
the emblem for the Wandervogel, a German youth movement; on Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels' antisemitic periodical Ostara; on various Freikorps units; and
as an emblem of the Thule Society.
In 1920, Adolf Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed its own insignia and flag. For Hitler, the new flag had to be "a symbol of our own
struggle" as well as "highly effective as a poster." (Mein Kampf, pg. 495)
On August 7, 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, this flag became the official emblem of the Nazi Party.
In Mein Kampf, Hitler described the Nazis' new flag: "In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the
swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such
always has been and always will be anti-Semitic." (pg. 496-497)
Because of the Nazis' flag, the swastika soon became a symbol of hate, antisemitism, violence, death, and murder.