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PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust
 pg. 39 
The Swastika

Today people in Western cultures associate the swastika with Nazi Germany. Actually, the symbol dates to ancient times, and it is still widely used in Eastern cultures.

The word derives from the Sanskrit svastika, which means "conducive to well-being." The symbol appeared in art from the Byzantine era (5th and 6th centuries) as well as from Indian tribes in North, South, and Central America, including the Navajos. Today in India, it is an auspicious symbol of the Hindus and Buddhists.

In 1910 German nationalist Guido von List suggested the swastika (Hakenkreuz in German) as a universal symbol for antisemitic organizations. The Nazi Party adopted it as their emblem in 1920. In 1935 the black swastika on a white circle against a red field became the national flag of Germany. Today, it is illegal to display the symbol in that country.
Photo: Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz

This advertisement was issued in 1924 to announce the publication of Hitler's "autobiography," Mein Kampf, under the title 4-1/2 Years of Struggle Against Lies, Idiocy, and Cowardice.
Photo: Library of Congress
As Hitler drew selectively on Social Darwinism and racial theory that could be traced back to the 19th century, the links between these dimensions of his worldview and his racist antisemitism were not difficult to recognize. In fact, these components were interfused because Hitler thought that nature and history are of one piece. Not only are there different human races, which should be kept apart as much as different species are naturally separated, but also some human races are culture-creating and others are culture-destroying. These enemies, he believed, are locked in a struggle for survival of the fittest. According to Hitler, at the top of the culture-creating races is the Nordic-Aryan-Germanic "master race," which deserves to dominate "inferior" races. In Hitler's view, however, the racially superior German people were especially threatened by racial "pollution." Thus, Poles, Russians, Ukrainians, and other Slavic peoples, as well as "defective" and "asocial" Germans (for example, the mentally and physically disabled, homosexuals, and habitual criminals), would become Hitler's targets. The Jews, the racial enemy that Hitler regarded as the most unrelenting of all, headed this target list.
 1921: The Times of London pronounces the Protocols of the Elders of Zion a forgery.
 1921: Völkischer Beobachter (People's Observer), the official National Socialist newspaper, begins publication.
 March 21, 1921: Anti-Jewish riots break out in Jerusalem.
 July 29, 1921: Adolf Hitler becomes the Nazi Party's first chairman with dictatorial powers.
 1922: Jungsturm Adolf Hitler (Adolf Hitler Boys Storm Troop) is established; See1926.
 1922: Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler(Shock Troop Adolf Hitler) is established as Hitler's personal bodyguard contingent. This is the nucleus for what will become the Schutzstaffel (SS).
 1922: Benito Mussolini establishes a Fascist government in Italy.
 1922: Antisemitic professor and social anthropologist Hans F. K. Günther publishes a racist book, Race Lore of the German Volk.
 June 24, 1922: Walther Rathenau, Jewish foreign minister of Germany, is assassinated by members of Organisation Consul, a clandestine, right-wing political organization led by Captain Hermann Ehrhardt.
PROLOGUE: Roots of the Holocaust
 pg. 39 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.