The Roman salute is a gesture in which the arm is fully extended, facing forward, with palm down and fingers touching. In some versions, the arm is raised upward at an angle; in others, it is held out parallel to the ground.
The politically correct view now is that Jacques-Louis David's painting The Oath of the Horatii (1784) wrongly created the impression that it was used in Ancient Rome. Regardless, it was earlier widely believed to have been used in Ancient Rome and therefore used by Italian fascists and later by other fascists (broad sense) more generally, including by National Socialists.
The National Socialist salute, in German deutscher Gruß (literally "German Greeting") or Hitlergruß (literally "Hitler Greeting"), also derogatorily known as the "Nazi salute", combines a variant of the Roman salute with saying "Heil Hitler!" (Hail Hitler!), "Heil, mein Führer!" (Hail, my leader!), or "Sieg Heil!" (Hail victory!). It is frequently confused with the Roman salute, possibly sometimes deliberately, such as regarding a person who made some form of a Roman salute without saying anything, who is instead wrongly described as making a "Nazi salute".
After WWII, similar to the swastika and some other National Socialist symbols, such gestures are now in some Western countries either completely outlawed or considered to be an expression of anti-Semitism and/or racism and publicly displaying it may cause the user to be affected by various hate speech and hate crime laws.
The Bellamy salute and the "Olympic salute" are similar salutes, possibly with the same believed Ancient Roman origin, both predating the National Socialist salute and used in association with the American Pledge of Allegiance and the Olympic Games, but are now no longer used due to the similarity.
As the Roman salute is similar to many common greeting/hand-waving gestures, many persons likely make gestures similar or identical to a Roman salute without intending this to be a Roman salute. In other cases, a person may intend to make a Roman salute, but for purposes such as a form of comedy, irony, or satire, but may then be wrongly labelled as a fascist or "Nazi".
- The Olympic Salute We Don’t Use Anymore Because it Looked too Much Like Heiling Hitler https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/the-olympic-salute-we-dont-use-anymore-because-it-looked-too-much-like-heiling-hitler-19789031/