What is the history of the swastika symbol?

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The swastika (from Sanskrit svástika स्वस्तिक ) is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing (卐) form or its mirrored left-facing (卍) form. The swastika can also be drawn as a traditional swastika, but with a second 90° bend in each arm.

Archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates from the Neolithic period. An ancient symbol, it occurs mainly in the cultures that are in modern day India and the surrounding area, sometimes as a geometrical motif and sometimes as a religious symbol. It has long been widely used in major world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.

The swastika was used as a Nazi symbol and gained further association with the Third Reich as the Reich gained influence. Though once commonly used all over much of the world without stigma, because of its association with Nazism, the symbol has become controversial, especially in the Western world.


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