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First seen 12,000 years ago

MMDE: Swastika is clockwise

Current: Swastika is anti-clockwise

The very word swastika - and image - strikes revulsion in most people who instantly connect it with the Nazis. This is unfortunate, because they appropriated it as a symbol very recently in it's long history. It can be found in Hinduism, the Roman Empire, Buddism and many other religions and cultures.

The image of the swastika associated with the Nazis was personally designed by Adolf Hitler. In his 1925 Mein Kampf, he wrote "I myself, meanwhile, after innumerable attempts, had laid down a final form; a flag with a red background, a white disk, and a black swastika in the middle."

If you ask anyone today not familiar with this Mass Memory Discrepancy Effect to draw one, chances are they'd do it with the uppermost top section rising from left to right. However, some are claiming that is the wrong way round and results in a mirror image of the one they remember. Some evidence of the "flipped" one does exist -  are these mistakes too?

Still in use today

Today in Germany, it's illegal to display a swastika. Germany even tried to impose an EU-wide ban in 2007.

Unfortunately, it's being used in other places in it the way the Nazis intended it, for example in white supremacist marches in the United States.

There are also stories of problems arising from swastikas being created before the Nazis which were re-interpreted. In Quebec, Corey Fleischer was stopped by the police when he tried to remove a swastika which had been engraved on an anchor which was on public display. The problem? It'd been there as a symbol of good luck from before the Nazis came to power, and actually was made by an English company.

The footprints of the Buddha

In Buddhism the swastika represents the footprints of the Budda, and in Hinduism it can appear both forwards and reversed, one representing darkness and the other light. It was stamped on coins in Mesopotamia and the Native American Navajo people designed it into their blankets and clothing. Even the Romans used it as a common motif in their architecture.

Before the Nazis

It's strange to see now, but it was actually used on greeting cards in the US in the 1920's:

swastika card 700x452