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The Swastika in Europe: 20th Century

Last modified: 2011-12-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: swastika | romania | germany |
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In the latest issue of the City Journal, I read the following line:

The League of National Christian Defense's main policy was the elimination of the Jews from Rumanian life, and it adopted the swastika as an emblem before the Nazi Party did so.

The date that the League was founded is given as 1922. When did the Nazis adopt the symbol? Did one influence the other? Does anyone have more information on this?
Nathan Lamm, 3 August 2005

Ben K. Weed quotes England 1997 [eng97] thus:

[…] what inspired Hitler to use the swastika as a symbol for the NSDAP was its use by the Thule-Gesellschaft [organization] since there were many connections between them and the DAP […] from 1919 until the summer of 1921 Hitler used the special Nationalsozialistische library of Dr. Friedich Krohn, a very active member of the Thule-Gesellschaft, […] Dr. Krohn was also the dentist from Sternberg who was named by Hitler in Mein Kampf as the designer of a flag very similar to one that Hitler designed in 1920 […] during the summer of 1920, the first party flag was shown at Lake Tegernsee […] these home-made […] early flags were not preserved, the Ortsgruppe München flag was generally regarded as the first flag of the Party.

Apart from the fact that the NSDAP flag was based on symbols previously used by German nationalist organisations, such as the Thule-Gesellschaft, the first black swastika, white disc, red field flag was flown in the Summer of 1920, two years before the founding of the Romanian group.
Santiago Dotor, 3 August 2005

If the Romanian group did adopt it in 1922 it most likely was done independently. The Nazis were not a very prominent group that early. And while the two groups may not have directly adopted it from the same specific source, they almost certainly were under the same general influences. The swastika had been used by a number of small ultra-nationalist or racist groups by 1920.
Ned Smith, 3 August 2005

I've found an interesting (and thankfully politically neutral) site on the history of the Swastika suggesting that its use for nationalists in Germany predates the NSDAP by decades.
James Dignan, 4 August 2005