B2 High-Intermediate Other 121 Folder Collection
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Greetings, fellow rodents. The swastika is by most people in the west regarded as a symbol
of cruelty, destruction and evil. We associate it with one of the most horrific regimes that
has ever been. However, the roots of the swastika go much further back than nazi Germany. In
fact, it is a symbol that has accompanied humanity for thousands of years. It is time
to have a closer look at the origin of the swastika. The swastika can be traced in many
different cultures all over the world. Evidence from England, Scandinavia, America, India
and many other places speak of ancient cultures with the swastika as an important symbol.
To many Hindus, the swastika still represents an important heritage, and is a symbol of
hope, benevolence and good. The ancient symbol seems to be an important part of human history
and religios practice. Its original meaning being a mystery. In 1874 an archeological
excavation began in Tyrkey, of what was believed to be the ancient city of Troy. The dig was
lead by a German business man named Heinrich Schliemann. During the excavation, strange
spheres with symbols in them were uncovered at the site. Symbols that we would call the
swastika. He also found pottery bearing the same symbol. This find was important, because
it would lie the foundation of the metamorphosis of this symbol into the emblem of the arian
masterrace. A new mythology of the swastika to be constructed by the nazis. Schliemann
himself didn't know what these symbols were, but there were scholars more than willing
to interpret them for him. And one of these men were Émile-Louis Burnouf, who was a scholar
of ancient Indian litterature. He tried to make sense of Schliemann's finds by turing
to an ancient Hindu epic called the Rigveda. The Rigvedas mention a people calld the Arias.
And in the lexica of the Rigvada the word swastika is mentioned. Burnouf simply put
the two together and told the story of this people, who were invading warriors from the
north who displaced the existing people of India, and how the swastika was their ancient
symbol. These were also the same people who we find represented in the pottery of Troy.
In other words, the pseudo historian Burnolf brought together two entirely unconnected
mythologies. The people of Troy were fused with the Arians of the Rigvedas, and Burnolf
claimed that the swastika was the symbol that united them. It was simply the perfect excuse
to create a new mythology of a single pan European warrior race using the swastika as
their emblem. For a man like Hitler, a symbol with this kind of mythology was perfect for
his ambitios project. And the swastika became the perfect emblem for his nazi movement.
The nazis wanted to create a new history for themselves, with a new foundation in the greatness
of an Arian masterrace. It was perhaps history's most successful example of cultural theft.
The swastika is for most no longer associated with divine blessings, but with race hatred.
After the second world war, the symbol was banned in Germany and Poland. In 2007 Germany
proposed a ban of public use of swastikas throughout the European Union. This upset
many Hindus, since the swastika for them still is a very important religious symbol. Millions
of people use the symbol on a daily basis when practicing their faith. What started
out as anxiaty agains nazism, turned into a fight for religious freedom. The German
proposal was essentially euro centric with little regard of the greater picture. The
massive reaction stopped the ban, and European Hindus were still free to display their religious
symbol. Although, still not without reactions from people who confuse it with the swastika
of the nazis. Dispite the Hindu swastika representing positive aspects of human existence, like
prosperity, luck and good fortune, the intuitive perception of the symbol in western minds
may never be completely healed. I hope you engjoyed this episode of history hamster.
Remember to subscribe for more videos on history in the future. I would also like to recommmend
my 10 facts about Chichen Itza and the ancient Maya, and my video on Socialism. Follow me
on Twitter and Facebook for more history and updates on future videos. And as alway: Stay
rodent, people. Stay rodent.
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Behind the Swastika - Origins of the Nazi symbol | History Hamster

121 Folder Collection
Keira Wang published on February 12, 2018
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