I wanted to put on an Amazing Grace hat that I earned on one of the sites and zooming in I saw that the grey symbol on it resembles the Reichsadler, the coat of arms of Nazi Germany. I admit that for people not living in Germany this maybe not so obvious or even completely unnoticeable and insignificant but for people in Germany - who are very sensible to this topic - it's a striking similarity. I put them together so that the resemblence is more evident.

Amazing Grace hat Reichadler

Keeping in mind this topic about communist symbol I think SE should be more careful in choosing what they put on the hats.

PS. I know from the answers now that it’s (loosely) based on US Navy symbol (still looks more like Reichsadler than any other eagle on any other coat of arms). Which doesn’t make things better - why do we have military symbols on our hats in first place?


5 Answers 5


It's a US Navy hat, not a Nazi hat. There's lots of eagles and hawks and whatnot in the patriotic regalia of many counties — in my personal opinion so much that I don't think we can reasonably just cede this one to the Nazis.

In this case, the hat is iconic — there are many wide-spread pictures of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper in dress uniform, and for me at least the association was automatic — especially with the horn-rimmed glasses and shoulder-length gray hair which are also part of the "hat" icon used.

not just the hat

Compare to this:


If you don't know who Grace Hopper is or why she is amazing, you should. If the association wasn't automatic for you, that's OK. Many of the Stack Exchange hats are obscure references or kind of "deep cuts". So here's an opportunity to learn — and this is something important that everyone who uses a computer or smart device should know.

A quick web search will find you a bunch of biographies, but here's some highlights:

  • worked on the Mark I computer at Harvard during World War II, and wrote the manual for it
  • put a literal dead bug in a logbook as a joke — this was not actually the first time the word "bug" was used, but the incident recorded due to her sense of humor is famous in the public consciousness. (I remember it as a question on the game show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?")
  • encouraged the practice of code reuse and code "libraries" in a time when that was not at all common practice
  • invented the first compiler. This may seem obvious now, but definitely was not. It took her the best part of a decade to convince others of the utility and importance. Without her, it is very possible that computers would have stayed arcane calculators programmed by government scientists and specialized researchers.
  • was instrumental in the development of the COBOL programming language, which I know is a joke for old fashioned today, but in its time was revolutionary in bringing computing to people who previously could not access it.

This isn't just some random American woman. It's someone you should know about. You literally would not be using computers in the way you do today without her.

And that's her hat.


You can learn more about Commodore Grace Hopper on wikipedia.

Here is what she looked like in uniform:

amazing grace

Hopefully this will clear up any questions on the origins of the symbol on the hat.

  • 2
    Thanks. The origin is clear now, the picture itself is still more Reichsadler than any other. See the straight line of the wings which is distinctive for this coat of arms.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 9:16
  • was just going to post this same info, Yaakov. Btw, for your reference in case you didn't already know about that, back in '15 there was a post that listed each hat origin. Could be useful to restart the tradition. Anyway, I think that maybe it is safer if we avoid anything that could be related to politics/military in the future (remember - we also had the Flying Tiger hat the same year)
    – SPArcheon
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 9:16
  • 7
    @Hitodama if users are looking for anything that could possibly offend, even bland colors will offend someone somewhere. This is Meta, I don't think there's been any turmoil reported elsewhere. Let's agree to say "arrivederci" "Thank you" "adieu" and "adios" to the Winter Bash hat competition and let the developers over at SE come up with something fresh and more exciting way to celebrate 2021. Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 9:39

I think it looks more like the "Allies" faction's emblem from the Command & Conquer franchise:

enter image description here

A simplified icon can be interpreted to have a lot of different origins.

The difference between the Reichsadler and that icon isn't any less than the difference between the "Allies" emblem and that icon.

"the picture itself is still more Reichsadler than any other. See the straight line of the wings which is distinctive for this coat of arms." (source)

I disagree. Take these automotive brands, for example:

enter image description here enter image description here

And that's just 2 of them.

Or how about United States Aviator Badges:

badges from wikipedia

  • 3
    None of them have heads. They're just headless wings.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 10:43
  • 1
    Another small difference that could lead to a different interpretation. The automotive emblems do have the straight line in the wings you claim to be distinctive for that coat of arms.
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 10:50
  • 1
    Yes, the do. But they are not an eagle. There are a lot of logos with straight line but this doesn't make them an eagle.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 12:51
  • 3
    The fact that you're arguing about the interpretation of that symbol kinda proves my point: "A simplified icon can be interpreted to have a lot of different origins."
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 12:58
  • I'm not arguing about the interpretation, I'm not even giving any interpretation. I'm just saying what this icon looks like.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 13:01
  • 1
    "what this icon looks like" Ehm, that's your interpretation, right there...
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 13:25
  • Nope. That maybe how you interpret the word "interpretation". But if something looks like something else it's similarity, not interpretation.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 13:36
  • 1
    "interpret: to explain or tell the meaning of : present in understandable terms" (source) You interpret that icon to mean "Reichsadler"...
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 13:39
  • Point me please where I say it means Reichsadler.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 14:02
  • 3
    The first sentence of of your question... "I saw that the grey symbol on it resembles the Reichsadler"
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 14:04
  • No look up "to resemble".
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 14:05
  • 6
    Can we stop debating semantics? You claim the symbol looks like a Reichsadler. I show you some examples that look just as much like an Reichsadler.
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 14:28
  • 1
    And these examples prove that... what?
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 14:45
  • 2
    Nothing I haven't already tried to explain to you.
    – Cerbrus
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 14:47
  • 8
    There seems to be an awful lot of trying to correlate this eagle to an unrelated object to achieve the same outcome as with the communist star, @Neumann. Your refusal to even acknowledge a different meaning feels like you're making a bad faith argument. It's going to be hard to even see it as a concern with the amount of insistence you're displaying.
    – fbueckert
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 17:29

Since there's a few things stuck in comments, and I need to practice what I preach.

Since most of the hats this year are recycled, it might be worth it for our newer readers to take a look at the original hat. It had an even more obscure name - IDENTIFICATION DIVISION (yes allcaps), as an allusion to Cobol.

As for the less (or more Geeky Aspects?)

The Current hat is named Amazing Grace - an allusion to Rear Admiral Grace M Hopper. If you've not heard of her - do yourself a favour and read the wikipedia article. She was a pioneer, and helped found many concepts of modern computing

While not exactly accurate, the attempted renderation of the US Navy Hat is probably a lot more visible as a small addition to a avatar than the actual ones.

(warning. Boring pop history lesson follows)

On eagles - I'd blame western civilisation and their obsession with the romans. The United States styled itself on a idealised, and rather rose tinted view of the Roman Republic and many later empires styled themselves on the Roman Empire - say the french

Basically eagles everywhere.

And more or less, sometimes, a hat is just a hat.


This head and it's birdesque symbol does not even look like Nazi insignia. I mean at all. The head sticks out like a sore thumb, unlike the Reichsadlers all tugged in streamlinedness. Apart from what it actually is, it looks more like a Playmobil totem pole than a Reichsadler:

enter image description here

And yes, I'm old. I know the new one's look different and this old one is probably in some way culturally inappropriate.

And by the way, the heraldic symbol of Germany has been an Eagle before the Nazis, during their reign and afterwards. So even a German Eagle does not stand for Nazis, except very specific iconography. And there is no way to make it that specific in those... what? 20 pixels?

  • Have I ever said of German Eagle? As for pixels - there are two very detailed anchors. Didn’t you notice them? So there was a way to paint another eagle in those 20 pixels.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 18:06
  • 1
    Still, the Eagle looks more like Playmobil than like Third Reich. I guess that proves that it wasn't intended to be and does indeed not look like it.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 19:10
  • It proves nothing. You say it looks like that, I say it looks like this. So why do you think you're right and I am not? And btw no one said it was intended.
    – Neumann
    Commented Dec 20, 2019 at 19:13
  • 1
    Both were probably inspired by Roman Aquila. The Americans from the tradition of the republic and the Nazis from that of the empire Commented Dec 21, 2019 at 2:47

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