The Nazi salute or Hitler salute (German: Hitlergruß – literally Hitler Greeting) is a gesture that was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany. The salute is performed by extending the right arm in the air with a straightened hand. Usually, the person offering the salute would say “Heil Hitler!” (Heil Hitler!), “Heil, mein Führer!” (Heil, my leader!), or “Sieg heil!” (Heil victory!). It was adopted in the 1930s by the Nazi Party to signal obedience to the party’s leader – Adolf Hitler – and to glorify the German nation (and later the German war effort). The salute was mandatory for civilians but mostly optional for military personnel, who retained the traditional military salute until shortly after the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944.
Use of this salute is currently a criminal offense in Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Austria. In Switzerland and Sweden, it is an illegal expression if used for propagating Nazi ideology.