Nazi symbolism

The swastika was the first symbol of Nazism and remains strongly associated with it in the Western world.

The 20th-century German Nazi Party made extensive use of graphic symbols, especially the swastika,[1] notably in the form of the swastika flag, which became the co-national flag of Nazi Germany in 1933, and the sole national flag in 1935.[2] A very similar flag had represented the Party beginning in 1920.

The swastika

The Nazis' principal symbol was the hakenkreuz, "hooked-cross" (which resembles the Swastika) which the newly established Nazi Party formally adopted in 1920.[3] The emblem was a black swastika (卐) rotated 45 degrees on a white circle on a red background. This insignia was used on the party's flag, badge, and armband. Similar shaped swastikas were seen in United States postcards wishing people good luck in the early 1900s.[4][5]

The black-white-red motif is based on the colours of the flags of the German Empire. This colour scheme was commonly associated with anti-Weimar German nationalists, following the fall of the German Empire.[6] The Nazis denounced the black-red-gold flag of the Weimar republic (the current flag of Germany).[6]

In Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler described the symbolism of the Nazi flag: "The red expressed the social thought underlying the movement. White the national thought. And the swastika signified the mission allotted to us-the struggle for the victory of Aryan mankind and at the same time the triumph of the ideal of creative work ..."[7]

Today, certain countries such as Germany (see Strafgesetzbuch section 86a), Austria, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Brazil, and Israel have banned Nazi symbols and it is considered a criminal offence if they are displayed publicly for non-educational purposes. On August 9, 2018, Germany lifted the ban on the usage of swastikas and other Nazi symbols in video games. "Through the change in the interpretation of the law, games that critically look at current affairs can for the first time be given a USK age rating," USK managing director Elisabeth Secker told CTV. "This has long been the case for films and with regards to the freedom of the arts, this is now rightly also the case with computer and videogames."[8][9]