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Socialist Yugoslavia (1945-1991)

Last modified: 2004-06-05 by
Keywords: yugoslavia | coat of arms: yugoslavia | star (red) | torches: 5 (red) | torches: 6 (red) | civil ensign |
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[Federal Peoples' Republic of Yugoslavia]by Zeljko Heimer

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The successive names of the so-called "Socialist Yugoslavia" were:

Flags to be used on land all had 1:2 proportion, whereas those for use at sea were 2:3. Most of them were based on former national flags, removing the national emblem in the middle and putting the star instead of it.

The blue over white over red flag was invented after the First World War, as the only heraldically proper combination of these colours, not already used. Red-white-blue was the other acceptable combination, but then already long established as the Croatian flag.
Before the Second World War, the State flag had the state coat of arms in the middle, and civilians used a simple version.
Smith claims that the flag with the red star has been used since September 1941. I believe it has been used since July when the uprising started. However, until 1946, the star was (usually) just in the white field, in the "inner diameter equals outer radius" version, and without the yellow fimbriation. The version with the yellow outlined red star was officially adopted on 31 January 1946 and abandoned sometime in the spring of 1991. The flags of the Federal Republics with stars, were made a year later (1947).

Zeljko Heimer, 19 November 1997

Description of the national flag

The new Constitution of Yugoslavia was adopted on 31 January 1946, as well as the new national flag. This flag was not changed until the early 1990s when the state fell apart.

[Construction sheet for the flag]by Zeljko Heimer

The star is inscribed in an imaginary circle with diameter 2/3 of the flag length and with the center matching the crossing points of the diagonals of the flag (i.e., the center of the flag). In this way the top point of the star would reach exactly the middle of the blue stripe, while the lower two points would not reach that far, but accordingly less. The width of the yellow fimbriation was never explicitely defined. The flag proportion is 1:2.

The flag was designed by Djordje Andrejevic-Kun. According to Marijan Grakalic's Hrvatski grb (NZMH, Zagreb, 1990), referring to Enciklopedija Jugoslavije (1980), it is supposed that Dj. Andrejevic-Kun and A. Augustincic are the authors of the coat of arms of Yugoslavia and that Kun might be the author of the coat of arms of the republics.

Officially, this flag was for use by government and army on land, but practically it was also used by civilians as the national flag.

Source: Pomorska enciklopedija VII: Zastava, Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod, Zagreb, 1964

Coat of arms

First version (1946-1963)

[Coat of arms, 1946]by Zeljko Heimer

The coat of arms for the new state was devised by the artist Djorje Andrejevic-Kun around 1943, with the date of the Jajce conference added after it. It was officially adopted only in the1946 Constitution, with a slightly different artistic representation.

The silver circular shield was as a rule omitted, especially in the latter time, but the Yugoslav heraldists (e.g,. Milos Ciric, Heraldika 1, Beograd, 1988) claim that it was an essential part of the coat of arms.

Source: Symbol und Wirtschaft [suw50i]

Zeljko Heimer, 23 June 2000

Second version (1963-1991)

[Coat of arms, 1963]by Zeljko Heimer

In 1963 the name of the state was changed to Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia, just as all the people's republics forming it were renamed Socialist republics. Mainly due to the question of the Bosnian Muslims not being represented in the five torches representing the five Yugoslav nations, the number of the torches was increased to six, with a new meaning, which was the number of the constituent republics.

As for the first version, the silver circular shield was often omitted, even in official use, although the heraldists of the period insisted that it should be there.

The national flag was not changed, but the naval flags that included the coat of arms were modified.

Zeljko Heimer, 25 October 2003

Civil ensign

[Civil ensign]by Zeljko Heimer

The civil ensign was adopted in 1950 by the law on establishment of the merchant ensign and inland navigation ensign of FPRY (Zakon o ustanovljenju zastave trgovaske mornarice i brodarstva unutrašnje plovidbe FNRJ), adopted on 21 March 1950 and published in Sluæbeni list FNRJ 11/50). The ensign was prescribed to be similar to the national flag, but in proportion 2:3.

The civil ensign was used by all ships except those in military and border guard service, which included the other state services.

Source: Pomorska enciklopedija VII: Zastava, Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod, Zagreb, 1964