A century late: Finland’s Air Force unceremoniously drops swastika from its logo

A century late, Finland’s Air Force Command has quietly changed its logo that prominently featured a Nazi swastika.

While the new logo showcases a golden eagle surrounded by a circle of wings, the Scandinavian country’s military branch had been using a swastika since 1918, before it became linked to Nazi Germany. The Nazi Party officially adopted the swastika two years later, in 1920.

The “official” justification has been that the Air Force started to use the swastika before the Nazis. The first plane of the Finnish Air Force was donated by Swedish Count Eric von Rosen, who later became a Nazi through his brother-in-law, a personal friend of Hitler.

Although there has been no statement from the Air Force on the decision, a professor of World Politics at the University of Helsinki, Teivo Teivainen, explained the possible logic behind the decision via a Twitter thread in Finnish.

Given the swastika’s associations with Nazism and the Holocaust, Teivainen explained that it was likely decided that the continued use of the symbol was “politically difficult”, especially when Finnish Air Force personnel were on duty overseas.

The logo of Finland’s air force academy continues to feature the swastika.