Most of us have experienced World War II (WWII) only through the pages of history and cinematic renditions. Whether it is the Invasion of Normandy scene from Saving Private Ryan or the helplessness of Jews as rendered in The Diary of Anne Frank, the horrors of WWII (1939-1945) are etched in our memory. In those dreadful six years, the world witnessed every emotion one can go through—fear, anger, sorrow, hope, and eventually, happiness.
The war wasn’t just about absolute power, it was also about discerning human limitations and a test of man’s willpower. In this feature, Soulveda is turning the wheel of time to relook at the period through some of the popular symbols, each representing a stage of WWII and triumph of the human spirit.
Swastika, the symbol of fear
Swastika, a Sanskrit word that means “good fortune”, has a history that dates back to 5000 years. To this day, the motif is seen as a symbol of divinity by Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. During the mid-nineteenth century, the symbol rose to popularity when a German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered the hooked cross on the site of ancient Troy. From that time onwards, the symbol was linked to the Aryan race that was seen as ‘superior’ to others.