- “I'm gonna give you a little somethin' you can't take off.”
- ―Aldo Raine
The swastika (卐 or 卍) (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) is an equilateral cross with four arms bent at 90 degrees. The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization as well as the Mediterranean Classical Antiquity and paleolithic Europe. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world including India, Iran, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea and Europe.
Following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture, a swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920, who used the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, a right-facing 45° rotated swastika was incorporated into the flag of the Nazi Party, which was made the state flag of Germany during the Nazi era. Hence, the swastika has become strongly associated with Nazism and related concepts such as antisemitism, hatred, violence, death, and murder in many western countries, and is now largely stigmatized there due to the changed connotations of the symbol.
In Inglourious Basterds
The swastika is the symbol of Nazism and the Third Reich in the film, and is seen in many places occupied by the Germans. Aldo Raine was known to carve a swastika on the forehead of the German soldiers that he spared with his knife, so they could "spot a Nazi, just like that".
- The swastika that Aldo carves on the forehead of the German soldiers is drawn wrong, as the type adopted by the Nazi Party is rotated at 45°. On the other hand, the swastika that Zoller carves on the wooden floor is the correct one.
- The swastika "accidentally" made by the American bullet fire on the bell tower outer wall is also the same type made by Aldo. This could be considered a shout-out to the fact that the Americans (presumably the Basterds) cannot draw the Nazi swastika correctly, and only Germans can.
- The swastika from the bell tower wall appears in one scene, but disappears in the next.
- In the last scene where Aldo is carving a swastika in Landa's forehead, Aldo is carving the bottom of the swastika to the left which is incorrect. In the next scene that mark is gone and he's correctly carving it to the right.
- When the cinema is set on fire, the golden swastika above the movie screen is seen falling. Eli Roth claimed the swastika was not supposed to fall, as it was fastened with steel cables, but the steel softened and snapped.