The swastika is one of the oldest symbols of humanity, and it may have originated from the symbol of the sun. Archaeologists have found photos that are more than 10,000 years old. In the Indus Cultural District, the swastika is about 5,000 years old. Today they can be found in various forms as good luck and blessings, and are open to the right and left, in Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines – until recently they were also found in the emblems and shoulder insignia of the Finnish Air Force.
Indeed, Finnish political professor Thiefo Tiefenen did not draw attention to the fact that the Finnish Air Force Command had “quietly and secretly” removed the swastika from its set of symbols only last week. Instead of a swastika framed by wings, the golden eagle now adorns the new emblem of Air Force HQ. A step Tevenen has been struggling with for years.
When most Europeans see a swastika, the first thing that comes to mind today is not “ancient fortune magic”. Instead, the Nazi symbol of the League is “hard to avoid,” Tevenen wrote in 2016 on his blog.
The Finns used the swastika as early as 1918
The fact that the Finnish Air Force kept the swastika throughout the decades following World War II and found it extremely difficult to disengage from it is also due to the fact that the symbol found its way into their ranks long before Hitler’s rise. So the defense lawyers argued that there was absolutely no connection with the National Socialist Movement. In fact, the Finnish Air Force had a swastika – blue on a white background – at the very beginning of its existence. In 1918, the symbol was adorned with the first aircraft flying in the sky for the new Finnish army: the Thulin Type D, a gift from the Swedish aristocrat Erik von Rosen, who wanted to use it to support the fight against the Red Army.
The swastika was back in fashion as a symbol at the beginning of the twentieth century, and Erich von Rosen made it his personal lucky charm. The subsequent misuse of the symbol by the German Nazis did not challenge the Finnish air force all these years, nor the fact that Erich von Rosen himself had risen to be a prominent supporter of the Swedish National Socialists a few years after his generous donation to Finland. In 1923 he became Hermann Goering’s sister-in-law, and married his wife’s sister.
Chief of Staff Jari Mikkonen told the newspaper: “We are proud of our traditions. We are not ashamed of the swastika we use, it has nothing to do with Nazi Germany.” The Helsingin Sanomat Newspaper. However, the symbol has frequently attracted attention abroad. You had to explain yourself over and over again, with abolishing now hoping to end discussions. The Air Force Command stated that the new design of its logos is due to the “harmonization” of the appearance of all units that were identified in 2017.
Right-wing extremists are also widespread in Finland
The political expert Tiffainen welcomed the move in the same newspaper. The fact that the swastika was placed prominently in the Air Force Command logo and on its website would have opened the door to misunderstanding and malicious explanations: “It’s a bit like handing your enemy a pistol,” he said. Especially at a time of increasing right-wing populism and extreme right-wing tendencies in Finland. Finnish neo-Nazis have recently walked several times on Finnish Independence Day carrying swastika flags that are clearly based on the German model.
However, in Finland, no one thinks about banning the symbol as it is in Germany. And below the headquarters level, you can still find the swastika of the Finnish Air Force, for example, decorated with a fan, the emblem of the Air Force Academy.