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Red Flag (East Germany)

Last modified: 2009-02-28 by
Keywords: east germany | german democratic republic | plain (red) |
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[Red Flag (East Germany)] 3:5  image by Santiago Dotor



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Use of the Red Flag

According to Rabbow 1970 the red flag was never adopted, mainly owing to fears that the same violence would happen which occurred after the first World War in Germany.

Jarig Bakker, 21 June 2000

East Germany never officially adopted a red flag. But having grown up in Potsdam, East Germany I can tell you, that the red flag was the second most common flag in the country. Almost all official buildings as well as monuments, schools etc. flew the national flag (black-red-gold with hammer and circle) and a red flag next to it. At the big demonstrations on May Day, the red flag, representing working class movement was even more common than the national flag. For flag days, there were "dress codes" for appartment buildings, requiring a row of national flags and a row of red flags flying from the windows.

Another perhaps interesting note: the red flag was a common way to get around state requirements at flag days. People who didn't want to support the regime by flying the national flag, used a red flag instead and therefore could stay out of trouble.

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 23 June 2000

Santiago Dotor asked, "Were these 'red flags' basically identical to the Soviet flag? Were they 1:2 or rather 3:5 as most other German flags?". They were plain red without anything on it. I do not think there was any exact description or requirement. The color was the same as the red in the middle stripe of the German (and East German for that matter) flag. Whenever the were shown together with the East German national flag, they matched in size and proportion.

This plain red flag was not the flag of the communist party. The red flag I was talking about was meant to be the symbol of the International Working Class Movement. If I am not mistaken, the very first flag of Communist Russia in 1917 was plain red too at least, that is what they told us at school in East Germany. Thus it did not represent a certain political group but rather a broad political idea.

Volker Moerbitz Keith, 26 June 2000

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