The Swastika has a history roughly 5000 years old which is 4920 years older than the National Socialist Movement. To many people, this does not matter at all.
The swastika itself generally looks like a 'broken' or 'folded cross.' Geometrically, it is generally a bent pattern sometimes equidistant to each other in size, shape, and length. The ancient word Swastika actually comes from Sanskrit. The word 'su' means 'good or well' and 'asti' means 'to be.' The Ka at the end was just thrown on presumably to be aestically pleasing to future racists. The symbol was actually prevalent in many early cultures as a sign of good luck or good fortune. Swastikas were seen on temples. Swastikas were woven into clothing. Swastikas were painted onto cooking pots. Swastikas were so universal as a sign of good luck, fortune and charm that you could have reasonably assumed Phillip Knight was getting a royalty every time a swastika appeared. It was not just east Asians either. There are swastikas potrayed in Native American cultures as well. Germanic natives also used the symbol which would eventually lead to a bit of confusion. There is also evidence that Norse religions used the swastika as a symbol. This would have been really awkward if the movie Thor had featured a few 'ancient symbols' on Thor's hammer. So there it was, a peaceful little symbol that young Buddhist boys some times even painted on thier heads....
Keep in mind that by the turn of the twentieth century, really snappy dressers in leather were not the only ones that had taken a shine to the swatiska in Europe and beyond. There is a town in Ontario, Canada that is actually named Swastika. They had a women's hockey team called The Swastikas that used the Swastika on thier uniforms as well. The German Gymnast club adopted the symbol. The Finnish Air Force put the symbol on thier planes. Certain denominations and trophies also proudly beared thier own Swastikas. It was when anti-Semitic archaeologists dug up the symbol in the late nineteenth cetntury that everything got a little hinky. The growing Aryan movement adopted the symbol as an ancient totem of Aryan power and purity. Being so powerful and well puriful, they never actually consulted Buddhist just to see if they were on point. The Buddhists would have been able to tell them 'Hey, its just like putting an ancient rabbits foot on your... hey are you GASSING PEOPLE???" Rudyard Kipling, who spent a fair amount of time in India and South Asia, actually had the symbol on all of his published works. The debate could then rage on how hard the discussion was to get Kipling to later take it off his books. At any rate, the National Socialists needed something down the lines of an ancient excuse to make themselves look like an older movement. For a modern generation, there is like putting a respected actor such as Liam Neeson or Alec Guiness in the role of 'crazy old wizard.' In Mein Kamph, Adolf Hitlet actually discusses how he agonized over the dicisions on putting to gether the Nazi flag. After many revisions, the swastika was put in as a symbol of 'enduring struggle.' We can only guess that Hitler's sanskrit was just as off as his fascination with being urinated on during sex. We understand that he also loved Disney and had really piercing blue eyes.
The Nazi flag was thus Christened with a swastika. They could have easily put a Christian Cross on there. They could have easily imagined what Dopey from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves looked like naked and drew an artists rendering of his ass on there. The point is that Hitler made the decision for the swastika to go up. This was presumably some where in there along with gassing the Jews, inviting Charles Lindberg to inspect his air force, hosting the Olympics, commitment issues with Eva Braun, and starting a war on two fronts. We imagine that it went some where along there with "Put a Swastika on the flag and Pendleton... build me a gun that can shoot from Germany to London..." The Nazis were many things but they did not do anything half way. When they made the swastika a symbol, even Steven Spielberg was going to respect it decades later. Much like the cross on the swastika itself, the swastika then became twisted into the symbol of the Nazi party, Nazism, and every pure evil from genocide to your uncle Fred touching you in 'a bad place.' The Swastika became Nazism and Nazism became the Swastika. No matter how much after that the symbol wanted to scream 'Hey, I was just a lucky rabbit's foot until these fucktards got a hold of me.." The swastika was forever changed. This would be for everyone that had not been using it fifty centuries longer for a completely different purpose. We like to think of the complete destruction of original intent with the swastika much like the introduction of anal sex. 'Hey, first this part of the body was used for one thing and now it can be used enjoyably for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT."
In todays modern culture, everything is sped up. A thousand year Reich can go through rise, fall, and flirtations with the purest forms of evil and degradation in...what....15 now? So the Nazis hedged thier bets and a casualty was a five thousand year old good luck charm. Germany, in particular, wanted to erase the Nazi symbolism from any and all public works. Once things are over, its kind of like Monty Python and the Holy Grail's wedding scene "Now, lets not dwell over WHO KILLED WHO..." France moved to ban Nazi symbolism as well. France cannot ban the symbolism of every current or previous power that kicked its ass because that would only leave legal French symbols. There is also the issue that they could not make a buck off of Napolean either. Banning the swastika became all the rage in Europe. Germany even tried to have the swastika banned completely from Europe, but all of those whiny Buddhist pointed out that it represented thousands of years of thier culture...blah...blah..blah... lucky rabbitt's foot...etcetera...etcetera...etcetera. So now in the east, you have a symbol largely of good luck and in the west you have largely a symbol of hate. Then with the downfall or Nazism, you have the rise of Neo-Nazism. The Neo Nazis take thier love of all things associated with racism to new heights by often combining tattoos of swasikas with the waving of flag of the Army of Northern Virginia (generally referred to as the Stars And Bars.) Neo-Nazis tend to pick and choose what they support. Many are all for gassing Jews but are remarkeably quiet on leftist economic policies. They are also generally not loquacious on how states rights affected a fragile agrain society in the American South. The swastika has also been banned in parts of South America where Nazis made friendly retirement homes.
At the moment, seperating the Swastika from Nazis is quite frankly impossible. People will not listen to any type of reason on it that would be in favor of returning the symbol to its roots. The interesting part is whether the Earth can make it a few Mayan cycles part 2012. In far future times from now, archaeologists may dig up some ancient ruins in India as well as artifacts from World War 2. They may marvel at how this one symbol was so prevalent in both societies. They may look at the swastika with new eyes seeing the long history. They may also have to pay the estate of Phillip Knight, By then, Nike may outright own the thing because thier own little Swoosh is by then passe.