From the 1930 onwards the swastika was linked to the horror that Nazism was, since the German party made it become the emblem of its flag first and of the Hitlerian Germany later. The connection with the political choices of its representatives turned the symbol itself into a true sign of evil even when historically speaking it wasn’t so. For thousands of years the hooked cross was omen of fortune and wellbeing. Around the world, especially in Asia, there is often this symbol reproduced on monuments and very ancient objects.
Below: Greek helmet with the incision of a swastika, 350-325 BC, found in Ercolano. Cabinet des Médailles, Paris. Picture shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons
The word comes from the masculine Sanskritic term “svastika”, which has several meanings, one of which being “favourable/propitious object”. The symbol is a Greek cross with the beams folded at an angle which, according to most of the orientalists, represents the solar disk. The first archeological finds where the swastika is present, date back to the Neolithic; one of these finds occurred in the Synagogue of Capernaum, near a star of David sign. In the Orient it is mainly a favourable symbol for all those religious cultures coming from India such as Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
Below: Etruscan necklace with swastika motives discovered in Bolsena,VII BC. Paris, Louvre Museum. Picture shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons
In the Chinese Buddhism the Sanskritic term svastika translates as “10,000” as in “infinite” or “everything”, which shows up in the conscience of buddha. For this reason, when it comes to buddha statues, the symbol is often placed at the height of the heart.
Below: the swastika on a fabric in Beijing Museum. Picture by Marco L shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons
Throughout the 20th century, the swastika was used as a lucky charm by the airplane pilots. Even Matilde Moisant, American pioneer aviator and 2nd woman to obtain the licence as a pilot.
Many sport associations used the symbol of the swastika as their own before the 1930.
Below: picture of a Canadian Hockey team using the image for their uniforms
For thousands of years the swastika was the logo of peace and Hinduism, and it still remains so to this day. It is represented during one of the most important Indian celebrations, the “Diwali”, symbolising the victory of good over evil also known as the “Festival of Lights”.
The swastika was reproduced, probably as a solar symbol, in the Neo-Romanesque architecture on the Church of Rosazza, in Piedmont, built around the 1850. Picture by Twice25 shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons
The swastika was also used as by the Finnish Armed Force and just in recent time it was stopped to be used by the Finnish Air Force. Furthermore it was employed by the Danish Brewery company Carlsberg: it is not part of their logo any longer but the image is still visible in some scenarios, one of which being the door with the elephants in the original site of their Copenaghen factory.
Below: picture of a detail about an Irish laundry lorry from 1912
Even the far away Orient used to use the swastika as a sign of peace. In Japan, still today, it is not unusual to find it inside the Buddhist temples.
Below: picture shared via Wikipedia – licence Creative Commons