Nazi salute  

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"You had your choice between soaring to superhuman heights with Nietzsche and sinking into subhuman depths with Hitler. You shouted Heil! Heil! and chose the subhuman." --Listen, Little Man! (1945) by Wilhelm Reich

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Nazi salute, or Hitler salute (Hitlergruß, literally Hitler Greeting or Deutscher Gruß, German Greeting), was a gesture of greeting in Nazi Germany usually accompanied by saying, Heil Hitler! ["Hail Hitler!"], Heil, mein Führer ["Hail, my leader!"], or Sieg Heil! ["Hail victory!"]. 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.

In 1923 the salute was gradually adopted by the Italian Fascist regime. It was made compulsory within the Nazi party in 1926, and adopted by the German state when the Nazis took power in 1933. It was also adopted by other fascist movements.

Origin

The extended arm saluting gesture is widely, and erroneously, believed to be based on an ancient Roman custom, but no known Roman work of art depicts it, nor does any extant Roman text describe it. Jacques-Louis David's painting Oath of the Horatii (1784) seems to be the starting point for the gesture that became known as the Roman salute. The gesture and its identification with ancient Rome was advanced in other French neoclassic art. This was further elaborated upon in popular culture during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in plays and films that portrayed the salute as an ancient Roman custom. This included the silent film Cabiria (1914), whose screenplay was written by the Italian ultra-nationalist Gabriele d'Annunzio, arguably the forerunner of Benito Mussolini.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nazi salute" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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