Swastikas Through the Ages

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Long before the world’s most infamous vegetarian permanently gave them a bad name, swastikas were found in numerous different cultures scattered throughout the world. Although Joseph Goebbels was a very talented propagandist whose legacy lives on to this day in the form of the liberal/communist/Russophile media, Hitler himself was no slouch in the mass manipulation of the masses, his crowning achievement being the adoption of the swastika as the symbol of the Nazis.


Although people automatically associate the swastika with Nazism, most people seem to be ignorant of the fact that the swastika is among the most ancient symbols known to humankind. Swastikas usually are signs of good luck, and have been found on artifacts and structures from ancient Etruscan, Minoan, Greek, Roman, Persian, Hindu, and North and South American civilizations. Before the mid-1930's, they were prevalent in many places in Western Europe and North America, until Hitler gave both the swastika and the squared-off mustache a bad name. Anyway, here are some photos of various pre-Nazi era swastikas from different times and places around the world:


 Fruit crate in California, early 1920's.


Another early 1920's fruit crate from California


Ancient Roman mosaic floor


Canadian hockey team, early 1900's


Gate somewhere in Denmark, date unknown


Ancient Etruscan badge


American hockey team, 1920's


Ancient Greek coin


Hindu temple, date unknown


Ancient Minoan vase


Native American basketball team, 1920's


Ancient Roman mosaic


Another ancient Roman mosaic


Wedding dress, early 1900's


South Korean temple, date unknown




Billy Roper Added Mar 14, 2017 - 7:50pm
The Tocharians, ancient Whites who brought the sunwheel to China, have even been found mummified with swastika tattoos.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 14, 2017 - 8:10pm
The swastika is a symbol that Ernst Zundel found sacred.  That's one of the reasons he would not display it, wear it, or call himself a "Nazi"; because of the misunderstanding and misappropriation of the symbol and the connation of "Nazi".  (Billy, that's kind of why I was curious about your opinion of Mr. Zundel).
The key thing that Adolf Hitler did with the symbol, is to turn it 45 degrees, centering it within the white circle and red background.  This gave the Nazi Swastika distinction, and lifted it dimensionally, almost simulating a clockwise spin.  Maybe you have to try to see it that way, or just stare at it for long enough.
I love historical articles like this.  I met a Greek immigrant back in the early 2000s who despised the Nazis and Hitler - not for any of the classic reasons propagated by Hollywood nor or either H-word, but solely for the reason of "stealing the Swastika from the ancient Greeks".
Michael B. Added Mar 14, 2017 - 8:17pm
Billy, it is indeed a very ancient symbol, and I find it interesting that so many different cultures, seemingly without contact with one another, used it for more-or-less the same reasons.
Michael B. Added Mar 14, 2017 - 8:25pm
Tom, you kind of beat me to the punch, lol; I was going to say, I believe it was Hitler's idea to rotate it a quarter turn, although red, white, and black were already Germany's national colors.
I also find it interesting that Finland used the swastika during WW2 as a roundel for their aircraft and other military equipment. Although nominally allied with Nazi Germany, Finland was actually the only functioning democracy to side with the Axis, and was also the only such country that wasn't occupied by any Allied power after the war. They literally paid dearly for that "privilege", but in the grand scheme of things, they were small fry compared to what Stalin really wanted to do, which was to resume the war against his own people.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 14, 2017 - 8:36pm
That is interesting stuff.
I respect the German Swastika immensely, since I've come to understand it in a realistic sense.  It was the flag of the German Volk and Nazi Party, the flag of the Third Reich.  It was not a symbol worn by evil doers.  
Michael B. Added Mar 14, 2017 - 8:47pm
No matter how you slice it, it is undoubtedly a very, very powerful  symbol, in all of its manifestations and representations. Personally, I think it's pretty cool-looking.
Once when I was at a bar in Germany, some dude said that the swastika could still be found in German money; when I asked where, he pulled out a 5 Deutsch Mark coin and rolled it along the bar...sure enough, it gave the illusion of a swastika, as it had a large "5" on one side. I cracked up!
Billy Roper Added Mar 15, 2017 - 7:16am
Michael, actually, a LOT of research was done in the early and middle part of the 20th centuries to show how the different countries which revered the Swastika were largely interrelated, such as Hinduism being established by Aryans.
Dino Manalis Added Mar 15, 2017 - 10:53am
Swastikas are a sign of far-right wing extremism!
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 15, 2017 - 11:01am
Wow, Dino,
The swastika should be, and is a revered symbol that means a helluva lot more than the way Hollywood paints it.  I can understand why you see it that way but it truly means much more.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 15, 2017 - 1:28pm
Michael already illustrated that there is more to the symbol, and here is some more education on the swastika in this short video.  At about 2:30 minutes in, I think it's Louis Farrakahn speaking about the symbol itself.  He talks for around 2 minutes about the swastika.  The rest of the video is about the greater scope of the Third Reich.
Swastika talk
Michael B. Added Mar 15, 2017 - 2:38pm
It was inevitable that someone would completely miss the point of this post.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 15, 2017 - 2:59pm
Michael,  Yeah when the generally uninformed or misinformed person sees the word "swastika" or the symbol, they think "evil!".  That's some successful propaganda.  Kind of like how the H-man has become synonymous with DC Comics and Marvel villains. 
In the 1980s I was a young lad, and I enjoyed Masters of the Universe and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons.  Well, the popular narrative of Hitler seemed very similar to Shredder from TMNT, or Darth Vader of Star Wars...who else?  Name one.  It's as though you can put Der Fuhrer atop the hierarchal pyramid of popular fictional villains.  Somehow, Stalin is undesirably unromantic and left out of the pyramid.  He's like "Beastman" from Masters of the Universe, just a gruesome tool.  But Vader even had his own Stormtroopers, just like the H-man, and was the primary instrument for the world dominating  "Empire".  And Star Wars wasn't even a Spielberg deal!  :)  But the new Star Wars movie had a scene or two that mirrored Hollywood Nazis.  It's a bit silly after awhile, I think.  It has to do with demeaning the original and modern Nationalist, but also somewhat normal to resemble what is known to most in popular culture for movies to sell tickets, I guess.     
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 15, 2017 - 3:18pm
Oh, I forgot to mention Skeletor from Masters of the Universe.  He was like Hitler too.
Michael B. Added Mar 15, 2017 - 3:31pm
Tom, I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Hitler and the Nazis should have at least got an Oscar for production design! There have never been, and probably will never be, villains with such a powerful sense of style. Their equipment, uniforms, vehicles, medals, badges, everything look so fucking cool! Germans in general are very good at making practically anything look purposeful in an aggressive kind of way, from heavy artillery to bottle openers. The Nazis will be in Hollywood movies forever and ever.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 15, 2017 - 3:42pm
Yup, you're right.  I am so glad I began to ask more questions and look deeper into WWII and especially, the Eastern Front.  I used to enjoy the entertainment and romance in the Hollywood version of WWII Europe.  I feel like the propaganda backfired with me.  It sucked me in with intrigue, so far that I began to see the real history and actuality of the Eastern Front.  That's why my view has changed as such - comparing the Hollywood Hitler to the aforementioned fictional villains.  There is Hollywood Hitler, then there is Adolf Hitler, the man.   I prefer to know the man over the Hollywood narrative.  It's much more interesting and the knowledge is liberating.  :)
Doug Plumb Added Mar 15, 2017 - 6:54pm
I always believed the holocaust was fake but I never knew it until Zundel was convicted.
  Hitler didn't give the swastika a bad rep, the Western media did.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 15, 2017 - 6:57pm
Sometimes, Doug, you can put such things in as few words as anyone.  That's all true and Ernst Zundel is an interesting figure indeed.
Billy Roper Added Mar 15, 2017 - 7:31pm
I think you all might find this article written by a friend of mine interesting:
Michael B. Added Mar 15, 2017 - 8:00pm
The Eastern Front...that's quite a topic. From what I've read, several German generals said they possibly could have won, except for:
The German Army wasn't nearly as mechanized as it should have been for such an operation, especially with respect to tracked and half-tracked vehicles. The majority of the Wehrmacht still moved by horse and by foot. The Soviet road network was mostly primitive to non-existent, which greatly complicated their movements, especially during the rainy season.
Operation Barbarossa was originally supposed to start on May 15, 1941, but events in Yugoslavia and the Italians' failed effort in the Balkans and Greece forced the Germans to secure their southern flank. They did this successfully, but it cost them five weeks of good weather, in addition to their material losses.
The North African desert campaign was adamantly opposed by the General Staff; Rommel was supposed to simply hold his positions to save the Italians, but his offensives and the subsequent battles had the effect of draining vast resources away from the Eastern Front. Rommel throughout his career was known to be a headstrong officer who disobeyed orders, and usually got away with it because he was one of Hitler's favorites. Rommel was tactically brilliant but strategically foolish.
Michael B. Added Mar 15, 2017 - 8:18pm
Billy, very interesting article...I got a chuckle on the swastikas on the Palace of Fine Arts...in San Francisco! I was there some years ago, but I don't recall seeing them. I'm surprised that they haven't been obliterated and replaced by symbols for K-Y jelly or something more in line with San Francisco's normal iconography, lol.
Jenifer Frost Added Mar 16, 2017 - 12:16am
The Swastika is a tremendous symbol of good in it's original mystical orientation. As a mystic, occultist and an artist I painted a chess set with symbols of light and darkness, good and evil. The white king bares a red Swastika, turned at the angle now familiar from the Germans (the black king an inverted white Pentagram). All the other pieces have symbology representing the forces of good and evil except for the pawns which I just painted their opposite colors on their spheres. Too bad I can't upload a picture of them here, but you get the idea I'm sure. 
Michael B. Added Mar 16, 2017 - 12:30am
Jenifer, for some reason, I'm not too surprised at your appreciation of the swastika with respect toward your myriad other beliefs, lol. At a bare minimum, swastikas are pretty fucking cool-looking, but the fact that they pre-date pretty much every other symbol on this planet by many thousands of years should command a little more respect, or at least some admiration, than many other symbols known today...IMHO.
Tom C. Purcell Added Mar 16, 2017 - 11:13am
Personally, I like the way the swastika accompanies the Knights Cross, and I like the swastika in precious metals.  I hated it until I understood it.
Michael B. Added Mar 16, 2017 - 7:35pm
There's a certain store where I live that usually deals in outdoor gear, paintball, and limited gun and ammo sales, but they also deal in militaria. There's a certain section which is normally closed, but they open it up upon request; all German WW2-era stuff, badges, medals, the works. The owner told me he recently sold a Knight's Cross with documentation for $10k, although he refused to tell me who it was. Interestingly, he also told me that Germans are buying a lot of that stuff back, and he had several regular customers in various parts of Germany.
Jeff Michka Added Mar 17, 2017 - 5:01pm
Wow, "Once a Nazi symp, always a nazi symp."  This is what ol Tom has missed, a good rub to hard of "Das Oldt Days and glories of the Third Riech." Get out yer snappy uniforms! LOL
Mircea Negres Added Mar 18, 2017 - 8:04am
Good one, Michael. The best explanation of how the original symbolism gets twisted can be found in the lecture scene at the beginning of the Da Vinci Code movie. The swastika as depicted in the fourth picture (Canadian hockey team) meant "life" to Buddhists. Turned the other way around, like in the first and second pictures (the fruit crate markers) meant "death". Oddly enough, a lot of USAAF (US Army Air Force) pilots painted reversed swastikas on their aircraft to signify German planes they'd shot down, although some people think it may have been because the pilots didn't know how the Nazis drew theirs...  
John Minehan Added Mar 18, 2017 - 4:12pm
Isn't it originally a solar symbol, the sun and light generally . . . .
Jenifer Frost Added Mar 18, 2017 - 6:50pm
That is correct John, at least that's the most common interpretation. Keeping in mind that solar symbols are symbols of good. 
Michael B. Added Mar 20, 2017 - 8:58pm
Mircea, I never saw that movie, but its interpretation of the "heads" and "tails" reeks of artistic license. I think the reason that a lot of USAAF aces and bomber crews painted them backwards as victory marks was simply to disrespect them. The Soviets hated them so much that victory marks were painted as red Communist stars. Some western Allied aces also eschewed swastikas and painted the "Balkankreuz" instead of the swastika as victory marks on their aircraft. I'll have to look into this further.
Michael B. Added Mar 20, 2017 - 9:00pm
John and Jenifer, you're both right, there were stylized swastikas for those purposes, however, the swastika itself isn't necessarily a universal solar symbol.