The German state has its origins in the ninth century AD. A century later – in 962 – the “Holy Roman Empire” (First Reich) was founded, which in the Middle Ages acquired a slightly different name – the “Holy Roman Empire of the German (Germanic) Nation. The millennial Reich disintegrated in 1806 into many small kingdoms. The German Empire (Second Reich), created in 1871, lasted just under half a century and disintegrated at the end of World War I. The Third Reich was proclaimed by the Nazis in 1933 and died out 12 years later.
This is what the modern German flag looks like:
- History of German flags
- Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation 1410-1806
- Rhenish Union 1806-1813
- German Union 1848-1852
- North German Union 1868-1870
- German Empire 1870-1919
- Weimar Republic 1919-1933
- Nazi Germany 1933-1945
- Postwar Germany 1945-1949
- German Democratic Republic 1949-1990
- Flag colors
- Meaning of colors and flag symbol
- General information about Germany
- Map of Germany
History of German flags
The flag of present-day Germany was officially adopted in May 1949. In the history of the Germans there were cases when this version of the symbol of the country was abolished. First it was during the German Empire, and then during the Nazis. The history of the state symbol has undergone its own changes, but the colors used on the modern cloth have always been predominant.
Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation 1410-1806
Rhenish Union 1806-1813
German Union 1848-1852
During the Napoleonic struggle, student volunteers invented their own uniforms:
- black uniform;
- red epaulettes;
- golden (brass) buttons.
Founded in 1813, the “Freedom Corps” already formed three years later into a student association, which came up with its own flag in the form of three stripes: black, red and gold. The same flag was raised for the first time during the revolution of 1848-1849 as the symbol of a united Germany. The hopes and aspirations of the Germans to revive the empire in those years were not realized. The German alliance failed. The large states represented by Austria and Prussia refused to recognize the rebirth of the new empire, and everything ended in nothing.
Nevertheless, the combination of the three colors stuck and became perceived with the concept of Germanic identity.
North German Union 1868-1870
German Empire 1870-1919
The Austrian Empire at the time of the creation of the Second Reich did not become part of it, but united with Hungary to form the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which, like the German Empire, collapsed at the end of World War I. All the fragments of the First Reich that subsequently became part of the new German Empire ceased to exist as a sovereign entity in 1918, following Germany’s defeat in World War I.
Weimar Republic 1919-1933
Nazi Germany 1933-1945
Hitler’s Germany did not abandon the color scheme of the German Empire (black, white and red). As is known, the same colors were used on the cloth of that period, although reworked in its own way. Hitler deliberately used the color combination of the Second Reich in order to attract the conservative-minded bourgeoisie and monarchists to his side.
On the territory of the former “Holy Roman Empire of the German (German) Nation” many kingdoms and states existed or emerged, each with its own symbol.
Postwar Germany 1945-1949
German Democratic Republic 1949-1990
Even in the German Democratic Republic (GDR 1949-1989) did not abandon the historical colors, adding only the country’s coat of arms to the center.
The Federal Republic of Germany is the modern form of German statehood. Since its unification with the GDR in 1990 its administrative division consists of sixteen states. These are historical territories which have retained their names. They all have their own symbols, which have either been retained in their original form or slightly altered.
The national symbol of Germany has a rectangular form, with horizontal even stripes of three colors: black, red and gold. The proportions of the cloth are 3 to 5. The width of each of the stripes is equal to 1/3 of the entire width of the flag. The black stripe is at the top, the red stripe in the middle, and the gold stripe at the bottom.
The German flag consists of three colors: black, red, and gold. These are the traditional colors of the German state, which have come down to this day from the depths of time.
Meaning of colors and flag symbol
Black and yellow (golden) are known to have been used as early as the middle of the last millennium. These colors for the Germans symbolized:
- black – the historical past, the power and courage of Germany;
- Gold – joyful future;
- red – the blood shed by the Germans in different periods of Germany’s great history.
In addition to this interpretation of colors, another interpretation is used, in which black is not just the past, but the dark past.
According to German law, the state symbol is used only by state institutions. In case of illegal use there is a fine of 1 thousand euros. In addition, the state symbols are prohibited for use for commercial purposes. However, the colors of the flag are allowed to be used for any purpose.
The symbol is protected from defamation and insults, in which case the perpetrator is punished by a large fine and imprisonment of up to three years.
A German citizen has the right to keep the national flag and to display it.
General information about Germany
|Territory||357 385 km2|
|Population||83 019 200 people|
|Currency||Euro (EUR, code 978)|