Is it illegal to display the swastika and other Nazi symbols in the UK?

I just wondered if Nazi symbols and the Nazi salute are illegal in the UK as they are in Germany and France.


To be clear, I am not considering hoisting the swastika up a flag post. I was just curious as I had read that Nazi symbols were outlawed in Germany and France.

16 Answers

  • the c
    Lv 6
    9 years ago
    Favourite answer

    There is no specific law or act against it. However it may be an offence to use Nazi salutes or display the Swastika in some circumstances. It would depend on where and when it was done, however it could constitute an offence under the 1986 Public Order Act, most likely sections 4, 4a or 5. Due to the accepted racial nature inherent in the symbolism it could also lead to charges of racially aggravated public order, meaning charging by the CPS would be more likely.

    Basically these offences state that; using words or behaviour that are threatening abusive or insulting that are LIKELY (intended to be so for S4a and intending to cause fear of assault for section 4) to cause harassment alarm or distress is an offence. This can be committed in a dwelling if the person likely to be caused harassment alarm or distress is not in a dwelling. It would include posters and flags as well. The important word is LIKELY; where there is someone who is LIKELY to be cause this harassment alarm or distress it is an offence, where there isn't this person it isn't.

    As someone else mentioned, common sense; do it in a room of neo nazi's and you have committed no offence. Do it in the imperial war museum holocaust exhibition in front of Jewish school children and you could be pretty sure you have.

  • Yorrik
    Lv 7
    9 years ago

    It is not illegal to display a swastika here in UK. However, wearing a Nazi Swastika armband as did Prince Harry, is a very foolish thing to do.

    The problem here in UK concerning the swastika is that it's ancient origins are within the Hindu faith. But because the Nazis used the swastika for evil purposes it has taken the once great magic out of this symbol of love and peace and turned it into something evil and monstrous.

    The swastika is one of the 108 symbols of Hindu deity Vishnu and represents the Sun's rays, upon which life depends.

    Until the Nazis arrived, the Swastika was widely worn as a good luck or magic charm.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    It is not illegal to display the Swastika as a piece historical memorabilia in the UK. Go to any militaria sale and you will find swastikas and emblems of the Nazi era on view. It is, however, illegal to wear it as part of a political uniform. The Public Order Act of 1936 banned anyone from wearing a uniform that could cause fear and distress, this was brought in as law against Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists, and later used against the UK Nazi party in the 1960's when Colin Jordan organised summer camps for his followers, dressed as brown shirts.

    It is not illegal to wear such items for a theatrical drama, film, and such like, whereas in Germany it is totally outlawed.

    Source(s): See Public Order Act 1936 on wikipedia
  • John B
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    There has been a great deal of controversy in the UK regarding the wearing of an armband by Prince Harry that had a “swastika” badge on it.

    This created a predictable uproar in the local media with many people being reminded of the grim horrors of the Holocaust (the Prince was wearing a replica Nazi uniform).

    Along with the reaction, there were calls for the symbol to be banned (on the grounds of being racially offensive).

    Thankfully, the Hindu Forum of Great Britain got into the act (see, “HFB launches national campaign to reclaim swastika”) and decided to start a campaign to create awareness amongst the general public about how an ancient Hindu symbol had been misappropriated by the Nazis.

    Ever since the Nazi Party adopted the swastika, many countries have banned public display of it. Including:

    Hungary, it is a criminal misdemeanour to publicly display "totalitarian symbols", including the swastika, the SS insignia and the Arrow Cross, punishable by fine. Display for academic, educational, artistic or journalistic reasons is allowed. Also the communist symbols of hammer and sickle and the red star are also regarded as a totalitarian symbols and have the same restriction by Hungarian criminal law.

    In Poland, public display of Nazi symbols, including the Nazi swastika, is a criminal offence punishable by up to eight years in jail.

    Germany, there are little to no exception on publicly displaying the swastika and is punishable by, no more than 3 years in prison. The swastikas on Hindu and Jain temples are exempt, as religious symbols cannot be banned.

    Asia, as I said above religious symbols cannot be banned. Today there are many religious uses of the swastika in many asian countries.

    Brazil, in Brazil the use of, or distribution of any Nazi symbol or swastika is punishable by a two to five years prison term and a fine

    The other point is that the very mention of Nazis seems to bring out the worst in people. Bands/careers have been ruined based on this accusatory slur or the perception you may find anything remotely attractive about it.

    Let's be clear currently it's not illegal in UK but definitively frond upon.

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  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    No Not Illegal

    No one cares today I have purchased on EBAY UK several Items and I hate the NAZIS

    the reason I own Nazi Memorabilia it meant that the Slave never died for Nothing

    But I refuse to By anything made today by Hugo Boss

    Just go down Portabello Road and you can Buy from Iron Cross to Full NAZI SS uniforms

    NAZI relics are openly sold displayed all over the UK

  • John G
    Lv 5
    9 years ago

    No. We have the freedom to hoist what we like but having said that, it would be a very silly thing to do and would almost certainly attract a lot of the wrong sort of attention. Prince Harry found that out when he wore a swastika for a party!

    The horror and fear of such symbols is widely known which is why extreme right wing political organisations use them.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    I'm not sure if it's technically illegal, but I know that doing so here in the United States is pretty bad. Some guys at my school got in trouble for kidding around and doing the salute. I wouldn't take a chance, because there are probably people there that would get offended by it. Hitler made a bigger impact in Europe than he did in the US, so they're probably stricter about it in the UK. And just out of curiosity, why in the world would you want to display the nazi (I refuse to capitalize it, it isn't worth it) sign?

  • Dave M
    Lv 6
    9 years ago

    I don't think it's illegal. I can't remember what but the Nazi sign meant something else before that lot commandeered it.

  • 9 years ago

    no go for it if you want

    the irony of the situation is that your allowed to wear a symbol of fascism but if the country were fascist you wouldnt be allowed to display a symbol which opposed the government

  • 4 years ago

    probably not illegal, but it would be ill-advised and in poor taste

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