If you spent much time on A Radical Guide you may have noticed that a couple of symbols appearing throughout the site. One of those symbols is known as the Antifascist circle or the Iron Front logo.
So, what is it and where does it come from?
The Iron Front (German: Eiserne Front) was an anti-fascist paramilitary organization that was formed in the Weimar Republic during the early 1930s. The organization was established on December 16th, 1931 by the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the Allgemeiner Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (ADGB), the Reichsbanner and workers’ sports clubs, as a response to the rise of the right-wing Harzburg Front, which was formed by the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP), the Stahlhelm, and the German National People’s Party (DNVP).
The Iron Front was established with the goal of uniting various groups as a united front against the growing threat of fascism in Germany. The organization sought to engage the old Reichsbanner, the SPD youth organization, and labor and liberal groups to fight against the rise of the Nazi Party. The SPD rallied to the Iron Front, held mass demonstrations, fought Nazis in the streets, and armed themselves.
The organization’s logo, the Antifascist Circle, was designed by Sergei Tschachotin in 1931. The logo, which consists of three-lined-arrows pointing southwest inside a circle, was designed to easily cover Nazi swastikas. The meaning of the three arrows has been variously interpreted, but the present-day Reichsbanner association claims that the arrows stood for the SPD, the trade unions, and the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold, as well as for the political, economic, and physical strength of the working class. The symbol was also used on a November 1932 Reichstag election poster of the SPD to represent opposition to monarchist, fascist, and communist parties.
In 1933, the Iron Front was banned by the Nazi government, and many of its members were arrested and persecuted. However, despite being banned, the Iron Front’s downward arrow symbol continues to be used in the 21st century as a symbol of anti-fascism and resistance to totalitarian ideologies.
Iron Front’s chairman, Karl Höltermann, commented about the formation of the organization: “The year 1932 will be our year, the year of victory of the republic over its opponents. Not one day nor one hour more do we want to remain on the defensive – we attack! Attack on the whole line! We must be part of the general offensive. Today we call—tomorrow we strike!”. And that’s how Iron front was born, it was a movement that fought for the protection of democracy, freedom and equality. It was a movement that showed that the fight against fascism must be done by all the people, not just by a few politicians or parties.
The Iron Front downward arrow symbol continues to be used into the 21st century to represent anti-fascism.
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