During the Second World War, Nazi officers stationed at concentration camps used the expression “Joy Division” in reference to the younger women imprisoned there – women that they frequently raped.
Ian Curtis, Stephen Morris, Peter Hook and Bernard Sumner settled for that name because all their fathers had fought in World War II. They just wanted a name that had some kind of connection to that armed conflict, as a way of referencing its true weight and how it had touched the lives of their parents.
The fact that the band rechristened itself “New Order” after Curtis died sometimes makes people think that the band had some kind of Nazi affinity – the concept of “New Order” was actively featured in Hitler’s “Mein Kampf”. But that is a mistake. There were no Nazy sympathies of any kind at play. As a matter of fact, the band didn’t even pick the name “New Order” themselves. It was chosen by Rob Gretton, the band’s manager at the time after reading an article on a newspaper about Kampuchea and “the new order” of people living there.