Friday, June 15, 2012

Swastikas - Part 2

Comanche Trail Council Indian Camp 1937 National Scout Jamboree

The story so far...

The swastika is an ancient symbol that has been in use for over 3,000 years from cultures and countries as varied as  China, Japan, India, southern Europe and North American, where it was used by Native Americans.   Prior to its use by the Nazis it was regarded as a positive symbol and it remains a spiritual symbol in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.  Part 1 of this post showed its use in temples and religious shrines throughout Asia, as well as in Western buildings constructed prior to the rise of National Socialism.  Its use, however, was not confined to adornments on buildings . . .

Official team jersey of the Native American Basketball Team [1909] proudly displaying a very large swastika.

Girls’ ice hockey team from Edmonton, Canada, 1916.  The ream was known as the Edmonton Swastikas.

Pittsburgh Land Show medallion, 1910, showing good luck symbols in the centre:  horseshoe and swastika

Postcard with the American flag and the good luck symbol.

Before the 1930s, members of the 45th Infantry Division of the United States Army proudly wore on their left shoulders an ancient "good luck" symbol, the swastika, in yellow on a square red background.

 Swastika on "Snow Flake" crackers, Los Angeles, California.

Clara Bow, silent film star and the personification of the 1920’s, in swastika fashion

 Good luck canning rings 1915, Boston Woven Hose & Rubber Company.

Swastika Laundry was a venerable institution in Dublin, founded in 1912. It operated from Shelbourne Road in Dublin 4 and remained in business until the late 1960s

Swastika printed on the spine of “The Scout’s Handy Book” in 1913


The swastika was also widely circulated by the Boy Scouts of America as an honour badge for meritorious deeds and achievements and was also distributed door-to-door across America as a fundraiser.

Baden-Powell, the founder of the Scouts, wrote in 1921 in the Scouts’ Handbook:

" ... as you know from the account of the Swastika Thanks Badge which I have given to you in Scouting for Boys, the symbol was used in almost every part of the world in ancient days and therefore has various meanings given to it.

"Anyway, whatever the origin was, the Swastika now stands for the badge of fellowship among Scouts all over the world, and when anyone has done a kindness to a Scout it is their privilege to present him or her with this token of their gratitude, which makes him a sort of member of the Brotherhood, and entitles him to the help of any other Scout at any time and at any place.

"I want specially to remind Scouts to keep their eyes open and never fail to spot anyone wearing this badge. It is their duty then to go up to such a person, make the scout sign, and ask if they can be of service to the wearer."

To be continued, final part next week.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Too bad Nazi's ruined using this symbol from ever being used without any issues from basically everybody. It has so much history and meaning from so many different cultures. Maybe just still too early...


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