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The swastika (Sanskrit: "good luck" or "well-being", literally "it is good") is a sign that has been (since the 1930s) associated with Nazi Germany, and later with Nazism in general, and is also known in this context as the Hakenkreuz. The symbol itself, however, has been used in many ancient civilisations, and is also known in these contexts by a number of names including fylfot and gammadion.

Geometrically, the swastika is an irregular icosagon[?], a 20-sided polygon.

Two versions of the symbol commonly occur, one with outer bars pointed counter-clockwise, and the mirror image with outer bars pointed clockwise. Although the Nazis do not appear to have made a symbological distinction between the two, the latter is more common in their usage.

Both swastikas appear in art throughout human history, symbolising many different things, such as the sun or good fortune. The swastika is common as a design motif in ancient architecture, frequently appearing in mosaics, friezes, and other works across the ancient world. Related symbols in classical architecture include the cross, the gammadion and the triskele or triskelion.

In Hinduism, the two symbols represented the two forms of Brahma; clockwise it represents the evolution of the universe (Pravritti), anti-clockwise it represents the involution of the universe (Nivritti).

In Buddhism, the swastika is oriented horizontally. These two symbols are included, at least since the Liao dynasty, as part of the Chinese language (as 卍 (in pinyin: wan4), the symbolic sign for the character 萬 (wan4) meaning "all", and "eternality" and as 卐 which is seldom used.) The swastikas (in either direction) appears on the chest of some statues of Gautama Buddha.

In Jainism, the swastika symbol is combined with that of a hand.

The swastika symbol was found extensively in the ruins of the city of Troy.

In Christianity, it has been used as an alternative to the cross.

It is also used as a symbol of well-being, in some cultures.

In Finland the swastika was used as the official national marking of the Finnish Air Force and Army between 1918 and 1944. The blue swastika was the good luck symbol used by the Swedish Count Erich von Rosen[?], who donated the first plane to the Finnish "White Army" during the Finnish Civil War. It has no connection to the Nazi use of the swastika.

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