The origin of Hitler’s salute and how it was used in Hitler’s Germany.

The Hitler’s salute was a gesture of greeting in Nazi Germany usually accompanied by saying, Heil Hitler. Characteristic of a cult of personality, it was adopted in the 1930s by the Nazi Party to signal obedience to the party’s leader Adolf Hitler and to glorify the German nation and later the war effort. The salute was mandatory for civilians but mostly optional for military personnel. Use of this salute is currently a criminal offence in Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.

To perform this salute, it was required to extend the right arm to at least eye level, straighten the hand so that it is parallel to the arm and say emphatically Heil Hitler. If physical disability prevented raising the right arm, it was acceptable to raise thee left.

The oral greeting Heil became popular in the pan-German movement around 1900. The salute gesture is widely believed to be based on an ancient Roman custom. Autumn 1923, some members of the Nazi Party were using the rigid, outstretched right arm salute to greet their leader, and the leader responded by raising his own right hand crooked back at the elbow, palm opened upwards, in a gesture of acceptance. In 1926 the Heil Hitler salute was made compulsory. It functioned as a display of commitment to the Party and a declaration of principle to the outside world. Yet the drive to gain acceptance did not go unchallenged. Some party members challenged the legitimacy of the so-called Roman salute, employed by Fascist Italy, as not Germanic. In response, efforts were made to establish its pedigree by inventing a tradition after the fact

References

Hitler’s salute. (2013). Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_salute

Brooke

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