Sep 14

The Swastika - the Hindu Symbol - as seen in North Bali, Indonesia, AsiaWhen Adolf Hitler chose the Swastika Symbol for his National Socialist German Workers Party, better known as NSDAP or the Nazi party, he was actually already a failed Politician. He was involved in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch (Coup) of 1923, but got arrested 3 days later and had to spend 8 months in jail.

There he came up with his ‘infamous’ book “Mein Kampf”, in which he laid out his racist agenda, to eradicate most if not all of the Jews, other ‘Races’, like the Sinti and Roma ‘Gypsies’ and other inconvenient people. He formulated his plans to conquer most parts of Europe to get more ‘living space’ or ‘Lebensraum’ for the German Volk.

Those ideas weren’t even new. Hitler was here a mere copycat, taking most of these concepts from a guy called Hans Grimm, who wrote down the concept of ‘Volk ohne Raum‘ already a few years earlier.

To ‘spice up’ his Movement, Hitler was looking for an easy memorable symbol, which symbolized Strength, Power, Struggle and Superiority. After all he wanted to create nothing less than a ‘Thousand-Year Empire’, the ‘Third Reich‘. Tough luck that it only lasted 12 years, but who would be so nit-picky about that small difference, right?

Raiders of the Lost Ark

The Nazis in the their Crusade to find the true origin of the ‘Aryan Race’ plundered recklessly the ideas, symbols and concepts of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sanskrit and other Ancient Cultures and Writings.

Nazi SwastikaAs we learned already from the Indiana Jones movies, the guy responsible for this and most into it, was Heinrich Himmler, one of Hitler’s willing buddies whose goal it was ‘to indoctrinate Germany’s paramilitary forces with an apocalyptic “idealism” beyond all guilt and responsibility, which rationalized mass murder as a form of martyrdom and harshness towards oneself’. He even sent a Zoologist, an Anthropologist, and several other scientists to Tibet on the eve of war. He ordered these men to examine Tibetan nobles for signs of Aryan physiology, to find scientific proof of a grotesque historical fantasy that was at the center of Himmler’s beliefs about race. Thus the inspiration for the Indiana Jones flicks.

Swastika in Mathura, IndiaHimmler believed in the racial superiority of the Aryan race and Germanic Meso-Paganism, partly from his interests in folklore and mythology of the Ancient Teutonic tribes of Northern Europe. Although he became a disbeliever of Christian doctrine, he thought that a “Supreme Deity” had chosen the German people to rule the world.

So off H&H went on a brainstorming session to find something that could symbolize their ‘Visions’. What they did eventually chose out of their hodge-podge of Indo-Aryan theories and beliefs, was the Swastika (Hakenkreuz) symbol, which made a lasting impression on them.

Some claim as well, that the Nazis were in awe with the Japanese Code or Way of the Warrior – the Bushido, so they took the Japanese Flag, inverted it (white filled circle on red background instead of red filled circle on white background) and added the Swastika Symbol from the Ancient Mythologies. Happy to have ‘created’ such a powerful, easy to draw and a memorable symbol they decided to call it a day and Hitler went ahead introducing the new Symbol and Flag at the 1920 NSDAP party congress in Salzburg.

Hitler himself 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.”

Oh my. What a mess!

So – what did the Swastika originally stand for?

Swastika as used by the Roman Latini TribeThe Swastika has a long and varied history of more than 3.000 years, even predating the Ancient Egyptian Symbol, the Ankh!

The first signs were found in the Euphrates-Tigris Valley and some parts of the Indus Valley, as well as on coins in Ancient Troy or todays north-western part of Turkey. The Sumerians used the Swastika, but neither their successors the Babylonians and Assyrians, nor the Egyptians seem to have used it.

The Ancient Greek and the Persians did though. Most other Ancient cultures in Eurasia did use it as well.

It was used well before the birth of Christ in Iran, Pakistan, China, India, Japan, and Southern Europe. Whether it was also used that early in the Americas, however, is not known. There are no Swastika-like signs on the oldest rock carvings there. Neither did the Mayans, the Incas, and the Aztecs use it. However, many of the Indian tribes in the southern parts of North America, (i.e. the Navajos) seem to have begun using the sign shortly after the arrival of the first Spanish colonists.

Swastika on Buddhist Temple in TaiwanThey Swastika was revered, used in a variety of shapes and styles, associating it with the hammer of Thor, the footprints of Buddha, the emblem of Shiva, Apollo, Jupiter, and even Jesus Christ. Scholars agree that for the first three hundred years of the infant Christian religion the Swastika was the only form of cross used in the catacombs and early churches.

The word “Swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix. It’s called Swastika when the limbs are bent towards the right, and Suavastika when they are turned to the left. It is believed that the first represents Lord Ganesha, while the second represents goddess Kali. According to other schools of thought, the first stands for the sun, for light and life; the second stands for night and destruction.

Swastika on a Greek Vase app. 500 BC showing AtheneAround 1900, during the Victorian era it was a good luck sign, showing up on buildings, clothing, jewelry, postcards, and household items in Sear’s catalogue. A 1909 Detroit car named the Krit used it as a lucky hood ornament. The Dawn Patrol, or Lafayette Escadrille, WWI American volunteers flying with the French Air Force, had the Swastika as their symbol. Coca-Cola made a lucky Swastika watch fob in 1925. It was the sign of good coal for the Swastika Fuel Company in Raton, New Mexico and was on the label of Carlsberg beer. It was also the sign for the Finnish Air Force from 1918 up to the 1950s. In China, Swastika found a place among written characters, where it contains the notion of abundance, prosperity and long life. In Japan, it represents the number 10,000. The Chinese empress Wu (684-704 A.D.) decreed that it should be used as the sign for the sun.

In 1910, a poet and nationalist Guido von List suggested that the Swastika should be used as a symbol for all anti-Semitic organizations. When the National Socialist Party was then formed, it adopted the symbol, following Hitler’s introduction, giving it the worst meaning possible, destroying the good symbolism which the Swastika had held for thousands of years prior.

Did Hitler knew its original meaning?

Probably not.

Did its meaning match with his ‘Visions’ of World Domination, terrorizing most of Europe and and slaughtering millions of its people?

Definitely not!

Swastika on Buddhist Temple in KoreaSo it was more or less a careless choice, which branded this symbol of luck, joy and resurrection for ever with a negative aura. Today, whenever this Ancient Symbol is used, it is automatically assumed by most people that it’s a Nazi Symbol and that the people who use it are Nazis.

When the Nazis took this Ancient Symbol, they erased the good meaning of the Swastika, the symbol of purity and of life. Racists of today even further degrade the meaning of the Ancient Symbol by spray painting the Swastika on people houses, cars, and even schools. The Nazis and their fellow brethren, right-wing radicals and extremists, have annihilated the significance of that Ancient Symbol. Unfortunately, they were so effective at their use of the Swastika, that many do not even know any other meaning for the Swastika.

Can there be two completely opposite meanings for one symbol?

Unfortunately, the Swastika today is to most people a symbol of evil, a symbol of demise, and a symbol of ruination. It is sad to find that although the Swastika is a symbol of Life, a symbol of Joy, it is now for most people the Representation of Evil, a ‘symbol beyond redemption’.

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written by Chris

10 Responses to “Hitler got it all wrong…”

  1. Tinny RayNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Yours are intriquing comments. It is interesting to note that the Nazis did not call their symbol a swastika, and that the Nazis did not call themselves Nazis.

    Old Swastika pictures and Pledge of Allegiance pictures at the link expose shocking secrets about American history.

    Swastika symbols as alphabetic symbolism for “socialism” originated in the USA where it was adopted later as Nazism’s swastika. Swastikas spread as overlapping S-letters for “socialism” under the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, as shown in the research of the noted historian Dr. Rex Curry (author of Swastika Secrets).

    Those concepts are not entirely inconsistent with the symbol’s meaning in Sanskrit.

    A new documentary video movie exposes the shocking facts on youtube. Search for Edward Bellamy.

  2. YearinthelifeNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    The word “Swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix.

    Wikipedia also says that the Thai greeting “Sawadee” is from the same root, apparently…

  3. Tinny RayNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Yes, thanks for your support. That is how socialists viewed their dogma when they used the symbol. “good to be” or “good luck” or auspicious. It is really no different from how other people used the symbol for whatever they believed was “positive.” Socialists eventually also turned it into alphabetical symbolism as overlapping S-letters for “socialism.” The link at my post name shows more. Also, more is available at any web search for socialist swastika. Thanks again.

  4. dodong floresNo Gravatar PHILIPPINES Says:

    Well-written, Chris! That’s quite a history for me :)

  5. digitalnomadNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    Interesting how symbols can change over time and usage.

  6. The Best of Nomad4ever in 2007 | nomad4ever UNITED STATES Says:

    […] Hitler got it all wrong… is about the Swastika Symbol and its meaning throughout history. Unfortunately these days it’s mainly associated with Adolf Hitler of Nazi Germany, who used it in his flag when trying to conquer the world. Get an overview on what it originally meant and where you can still find it today. […]

  7. SammNo Gravatar CANADA Says:

    The way i see it, is hitler knew what the symbol ment. He just wanted to use it to fool them into thinking he ment well. Efectivly(sp?) hiding his original plans.

  8. JeremyNo Gravatar UNITED STATES Says:

    :-o Soooooo….interesting…it just goes to show you, that with a symbol of so called, “Hate”, we are all related, one way or another…lets take a step back and realize a great truth,… we are all one…this symbol/ideal is one, if not, “THE” idea of Unity/Brotherhood Universal…When we pass we will know the ultimate truth, until then let us learn and love, not judge and kill…except your brothers and sisters share your beliefs and knowledge…don’t be afraid to spread “THE” Creators truth of: love and exceptence…thier is a Creator,… the name is not important the Idea of LOVE is!…Peace, Love, Understanding…Jeremy Kost.
    Please feel free to email me:

  9. NareshNo Gravatar IRELAND Says:

    Swastika is a sacred Hindu symbol and in India we use it in every auspicious occasion. May be in Germany or western countries, it is used as Symbol of violence, but it is not the same here and I guess in China, Japan too…..

  10. frank bowerNo Gravatar UNITED KINGDOM Says:

    When someone misappropriates a symbol and stamps evil deeds with that symbol over and over – well, we may just have to forget about that symbol. Far be it from me to decide how other (non-european) cultures use that symbol.

    At least two of my pre WW2 relatives were in polish military brigades that used the ” swastika”. As a child I always wondered why my ancestors wore the symbols of Nazis, when they were those the Nazis wanted to destroy.

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