Yes, that’s right. The Finnish armed forces used the swastika as a symbol up to 2020.
There was of course an explanation: they adopted it before the Nazi regime and for that reason they had never believed they had to change it. This reason seems insufficient to us in this blog. There is simply no reason to wear it today because they need to spend even more time clarifying why it is used than it is worth. Besides, and simply, whoever sees it makes a quick mental association that will somehow remain in the mind after that.
And it seems that the Finns have changed their minds too.
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The swastika in the Finnish armed forces
Let us give you a quick summary about the origins of the use of the swastika in Finland. The first airplane of Finland was given to the country by a Swedish count during the Finnish civil war. The swastika was the symbol on the plane’s wings, and the count used it as a charm of “good luck”. Since then it has been used on Finnish planes and tanks.
After the Nazi defeat in World War II, the Allies asked the Finns to stop using this symbol. And they did – except for one thing. The air force, although not wearing this symbol on planes anymore, continued to use it on their insignia. It can even be seen inside the Finnish presidential flag.
If you want to get a good look into the subject, something we recommend, check out this article with an informative video.
By the way, the name of the swastika in Finnish is Hakaristi.
Finland stops using the swastika on 2020
They didn’t make a big fuzz about removing the symbol from the insignias. They did it without telling anyone, as YLE news reports.
A senior Air Force official, Jari Mikkonen admitted that the symbol usually attracts negative and even angry reactions outside Finnish borders. Imagine what Germans or Israelis who are not versed in the reasons why they use this sinister symbol would think.
So, although some voices were in favour of keeping the tradition because it was not linked to the Nazi regime, the truth is that keeping the symbol did not help much abroad. The decision ended up falling on the side of removing the symbol completely. Something we definitely agree with.
Since they did it quietly and without a PR event, it seems that the Finnish Air Force preferred not to bring this up in the political debate and simply did it.
It is also worth noting that the symbol will remain present and with the usual modification (the “arms” are thinner) on the Finnish presidential flag, which we show you in the picture above (right column, center flag).
And there is a new Finnish Air Force symbol. From now on it will be a golden eagle within a circle of wings, and crowned. A better symbolism, for sure.
What is your opinion about this? How would you have gone about getting rid of the symbol?