Swastika: Misunderstood Beauty Essay

1032 words - 5 pages

One of the most important and significant symbols for many cultures is the swastika. The word “swastika” can be broken up into four syllables Su, Asti, Ik, and A, which when combined means “to exist continuously in good condition”. Unfortunately, because of the adoption of this symbol by the Nazis, it is regarded by many as the symbol of death and racism. Prior to their adoption of the Swastika, it was regarded as an important symbol to many cultures both ancient and recent for good luck. Even American's used it for good luck and wishes of prosperity. Coca-Cola created a pendant with the swastika as the design to advertise its massively sought-after drink. From post-cards to athletic teams, the swastika's use was embraced. For most of history, the symbol was regarded with honor.

The swastika has been found in many places dating back several millenia. It was found in the civilizations of China and Egypt as well as India. The common swastika originates from India. Artifacts outside of the region have also used this symbol with their own slight variations. Greek coins, Scandinavian artifacts, pre-Christian Celtic artifacts, the catacombs of the early Christians in Rome, and several buildings during the Byzantine period used the swastika as decorative images. Native Americans have also used the swastika to represent good luck. However, it was not always regarded with the same kind of respect after the rise of the Nazi party during WWII.

Hitler adopted the swastika as the symbol for his party, the Nazis, during the 20th century
Deopersaud 2
subsequent to WWI. He claimed that the swastika originally belonged to the Aryan race and that the
Nazis were reclaiming it. Since the Indo-Europeans came from the steppes north of Caucasus, and the popular form of the swastika was found in ancient India, Hitler believed that the swastika was truly an Aryan symbol. The Nazis went on to invade and take over more than half of Europe during WWII.

The terror that the Nazis spread was and is currently associated with this symbol by many. It is extremely controversial because of the duality it has. From one perspective, the swastika is the symbol for peace, luck, and harmony. On the other hand, its misuse by the Nazis arises deep hate for anything associated with the Nazis, including the swastika. The Holocaust especially brings memories to some that bring intense hatred to the Nazi party and Hitler. The association of Hitler and the swastika makes it despised by many who do not understand the circumstances under which it originated. All references to the swastika whether it was relevant to the Nazi party or not, were abhorred.

The 45th Infantry is a prime example of such dislike towards the swastika. Prior to the use of the swastika by the Nazis, it was used by the 45th Infantry as a Native American symbol which represented good luck. After the usage of the swastika by the Nazis, the swastika was removed from the uniform of those who served. Even...

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