It was long a rather surprising choice of imagery for Finland’s Air Force Command – a swastika and pair of wings.
The symbol will always be intrinsically linked with Nazi Germany and its crimes, even though its roots go back many thousands of years.
But now it has been confirmed the Air Force Command has quietly stopped using this unit emblem.
The change was first observed by University of Helsinki academic Teivo Teivainen.
He had previously questioned whether the continued use of the symbol was helpful for the Finnish armed forces.
Finland’s air force has been using a swastika ever since it was founded in 1918, shortly after the country became an independent nation and long before Nazism devastated Europe.
Until 1945 its planes bore a blue swastika on a white background – and this was not intended to show allegiance to Nazi Germany, though the two nations were aligned.
While the symbol was left off planes after World War Two, a swastika still featured in some Air Force unit emblems, unit flags and decorations – including on uniforms, a spokesperson for the Finnish air force told the BBC.
Since January 2017 the emblem for Air Force Command has been similar to the Air Force service emblem – a golden eagle and a circle of wings, the air force said.
“As unit emblems are worn on uniform, it was considered impractical and unnecessary to continue using the old unit emblem, which had caused misunderstandings from time to time,” the spokesperson said.
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