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Key fob commemorating the bicentennial of George Washington’s birth with a swastika on the back

Object | Accession Number: 2017.397.1

Hard plastic key fob commemorating the 1932 bicentennial of George Washington’s birth bearing his image on one side and a lucky swastika on the other. The fob was most likely manufactured in the United States around 1932, when the US had an official commission to manage nationwide bicentennial celebrations. Many prominent manufacturing companies produced medals, medallions, tokens, fobs, and other novelties for use during those celebrations, and their designs were widely copied by less reputable manufacturers. This fob is likely one of those copied novelties with a common image of Washington along with the swastika, an uncommon association for the bicentennial novelties. The swastika was an ancient, worldwide symbol of auspiciousness and good luck, and had regained popularity in the United States and Europe during the early Twentieth century. In 1932, the swastika was still considered a common, everyday symbol of good luck and was found on military insignias, town names, prominent products, and advertising novelties. Many of these materials were widely circulated in the US, and while they were not originally intended to support the political and social ideals of the Nazi Party in Germany, they could have been repurposed for that role later. During the latter part of the 1930s and early 1940s, many fervent pro-Nazi sympathizers, including German American Bund members, used common American symbols such as George Washington to emphasize the idea that they were patriotic Americans, and that their pro-Nazi, isolationist agenda was representative of what America really wanted and needed.

Date
manufacture:  approximately 1932
commemoration:  1732-1932
Geography
manufacture: United States
Language
English
Object Type
Key fobs (aat)
Genre/Form
Memorabilia.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Robert Hines
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Record last modified: 2019-07-16 16:21:19
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn561751