MovieChat Forums > Winchester '73 (1950) Discussion > Swastika??? Shown in the Movie?

Swastika??? Shown in the Movie?


My family was watching the movie tonight, and my son noticed what appears to be a swatistka on Young Bull's horse blanket.

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[deleted]

The fact of the matter is, swastikas have been around for a LOT longer than Nazis, and appear as symbols of good luck (oddly enough) in a lot of cultures around the world, including Native American and Indian (TRUE Indian...e.g. from Bombay and Delhi). The Nazis just corrupted the symbol and tried to take it for their own.

Exactly.

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Not exactly.

It DEPENDS ON WHICH DIRECTION the swatiska is going in! The Nazis reversed the direction. The ones used by Hindus and Indians goes in the opposite direction.

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It is exactly.
Swastika ("it-is-good") is a symbol since God knows when, and in Hinduism you can see it facing right as a Nazi swastika; in Bhuddism, Japan, ancient Rome, Byzantine, Africa, America and many parts of Europe it is a left-facing swastika; while in ancient Greece you can find it both ways. Nazi symbolism used both versions as well but mainly right-facing (on land flags) and under the angle of 45 degrees.
Anyway, until Nazism, swastika was always a symbol of something good, luck, sometimes Sun.

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Thanks for the interesting (and intelligently worded, I might add) reply.

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Also as a side note I have seen a picture that makes the first military aircraft that I know of to carry a "swastika" a plane of an american flyer in wwI. The squadron (if I remember correctly) was a group of american airmen flying for the french, the lafayette esquadrell (I can't spell). Never the less they used native american symbols on their planes. The main symbol is a chiefs head, but I have seen a photograph with a plane also bearing a "swatiska".

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[deleted]

While all that has been posted here is true, the viewer should understand that Hitler did not concoct the symbol for the Nazi Party from Native American culture. He was obsessed with so-called Aryan culture where a swatistka was used. His musical hero was Richard Wagner, who was also anti-Semitic, though not to the extreme that Hitler became. Hitler's twisted cross was patterned after a Wagnerian opera where Lohengrin wears a Teutonic cross that became Hitler's model for his twisted cross. Hitler had seen this opera several times in his native Austria. The symbol itself goes back to prehistoric cultures world-wide. It was also used by anti-Semitic groups throughout Europe beginning in the late 19th century, about the time of Hitler's birth.

Kenneth Rorie

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Interesting information, but even if the filmmakers were trying to be accurate in their potrayal of the old west, you would think that showing a swastika on a blanket, whether it implied Native American traditions or not, would be something they would certainly avoid, seeing as how this movie was made so close to the end of WWII. I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt a swastika makes an appearance anywhere in the film.

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I'm watching the movie right now and there really IS a swastika on the blanket! Wild!

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Interesting information, but even if the filmmakers were trying to be accurate in their potrayal of the old west, you would think that showing a swastika on a blanket, whether it implied Native American traditions or not, would be something they would certainly avoid, seeing as how this movie was made so close to the end of WWII.


Why avoid it? In those days, Indians were seen as wicked enemies (historically), just like the Nazis, and the Swastika could have represented a shared sense of malevolence. Remember those times were less racially sensitive and/or politically correct.

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I had a fourth grade teacher from Texas who talked to us at length about the different cultures found amongst the American Indians, and how European-Americans just never could quite get them, so to speak. Having a teacher tell you that sort of illuminating and intelligent stuff should be required. Now, don't get me wrong, but she told us how the Indian fought in comparison to the American, how the religions differed, and how the Indian viewed the world. It wasn't always complimentary--she was not politicaly correct, but simply honest.

"You eat guts."--Nick Devlin

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When I was a little boy in the 1950's, our school district had an sort of bank of historic objects and antiques that teachers could check out and take to their classrooms. One of the items my fifth grade teacher brought to the class room from this collection was a native American leather pouch with a reverse swastika embroidered in beadwork on it. The swastika was used by native Americans for I don't know how long before the Hitler era.

My parents both were born in Harrison County, Iowa. I was in the county courthouse in Logan, Iowa this past summer. In the marble inlay flooring in the courthouse, swastika designs are seen in numerous places. This courthouse was built circa 1910, when Hitler was still peddling postcards in Vienna.

The national military aircraft recognition insignia for Finland pre-1945 was a reverse swastika, but it had nothing to do with Nazism or Hitler.

These are all just examples of a symbol that has a lot of history that unfortunately will be forever linked to Hitler's use of it.

Anecdotally, another rune symbol that was used by the Hitlerites was the "life rune" which looks like a Y with a bar that continues on up through the leg of the Y to the top, splitting the upper part of the Y in half. Turned upside down and having a circle added, this was adopted by the "Ban the Bomb" movement in Britain in the 1950's and later by the peace movement in the US during the Vietnam era. The Brits picked it up from their ancient Viking heritage and there's the connection with the Hitlerites, some of whom were fascinated by that ancient Nordic history theme.

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In case anyone is wondering when the swastika can be noticed... It's in the scene where Lola Manners (Shelley Winters) and Steve Miller (Charles Drake) are riding in the wagon and the Indians start to chase them. Miller takes off on his horse to get help and the next shot is Young Bull on his horse - it rears up and then starts to run - look in the lower right hand corner of the horse's blanket.

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Interesting. I'm watching a Tivo of it right now, pausing and framing that "rearing" scene, and all I can see is shadow. I wonder if it was edited.

Regarding whether or not the Nazis successfully corrupted the symbol: virtually nothing is universal, but the air vents in the building where I work collect dust in a pattern that looks like a swastika, and it caused quite an "intolerance" stir. Not sure how an air vent can be intolerant, but...

Update: You can see the swastika plainly a few moments later as Shelly Winters and Charles Drake go barreling down the hillside toward the cavalry camp. Young Bull stops his horse and you can see it on the blanket.

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[deleted]

If I remember right the "swastika" used by the Native Americans is actually drawn backwards to the swastika used by the Nazi's. I think it is a symbol of a whirlwind. I may be wrong here but this is how it was explained to me when I raised a similar question in 7th grade.

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The one in the movie is of the same orientation as the Nazi swastika. There are differing opinions about whether it makes a difference to have the symbol's apparent rotation clockwise or counter-clockwise. People who can see the difference usually think the Nazi version is "evil" and the clockwise version is "good." This is an oversimplification, but it hardly matters. Neither is acceptable for display anymore.

http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/8-24-2004-58322.asp

Don't ask a dyin' man ta lie his soul inta Hell

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"Neither is acceptable for display anymore."

Tell that to the Native Americans....

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The Navajo were still putting it on blankets throughout the war, my grandparents bought one on a trip in the late 40s.

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It was an American Indian symbol, actually. That was why until Hitler took power in 1933, it was the symbol of the 45th INfantry Division. Once he took power, they switched to the Thunderbird.

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I noticed in the movie, Im watching it now.

Navajos portrayed the swastika solely in their religious ceremonies in the form of sand paintings. In Navajo myth the swastika represents the legend of the whirling log. As told by Aigner, the tale is of a man, outcast from his tribe, who rolls down river in a hollowed-out log. With the help of sacred deities he finds a place of friendship and abundance.

American soldiers used the swastika as their symbol early in World War I, and up to 1941, against Germany. The symbol was used by Americans in the French Escadrille Lafayette, by the 45th Infantry Divison.
http://rexcurry.net/45th-infantry-division-swastika-sooner-soldiers.html

Hitler got it from the Indian culture, and perverted what had been a good luck symbol. Before Hitler, it was used in about 1870 by the Austrian Pan-German followers of Schoenerer, an Austrian anti-Semitic politician. Its Nazi use was linked to the belief in the Aryan cultural descent of the German people. They considered the early Aryans of India to be the prototypical white invaders and hijacked the sign as a symbol of the Aryan master race.

Symols do occur in different cultures and times, e.g. the Jewish star of David can be seen in ancient Asia, rastafarian culture and the occult.

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svastika

educate yourself.

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There is another western movie where an Indian warrior has a swastika on his shield in one scene.

I believe it is the Indian Fighter.

https://moviechat.org/tt0048204/The-Indian-Fighter/58c721fe5ec57f0478eb7418/Why-does-one-of-the-indians-have-a-swastika-on-his-shield?reply=5a13b729e203d70012d80ed4&animate=false

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And an episode of Wanted: Dead or Alive.

https://moviechat.org/tt0051327/Wanted-Dead-or-Alive/58c722b95ec57f0478ec1ad2/Bounty-for-a-Bride-episode-swastika-symbol-on-Apache-tent?reply=5b6b772adedbee0014d4a22b&animate=false

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And I just accidentally stumbled upon this description of the movie Thunderbirds (1952):

An Oklahoma National Guard unit, comprised mainly of Native Americans, is called up for duty at the start of World War II.


And I happened to notice this dialog from the movie in the IMDB quote section:


Chief Whitedeer: [looking at the new division arm patch] Thunderbird, bringer of rain. It is new. Why you change it?

Cpl. Ralph Mogay: I have the old one.

[close-up of Mogay holding the old swastika patch the division had used before]

Cpl. Ralph Mogay: Hitler took our sign.

Chief Whitedeer: Hitler? Oh, the crazy man. You take it back, son.

Cpl. Ralph Mogay: Maybe we will, soon.

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