The German flag (“Schwarz Rot Gold”) is a tricolor of three horizontal stripes of black (top), red (center), and gold (bottom). Germany became a unified country after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The current flag actually dates back to 1848 before it was abolished in 1852. It was once again embraced as the flag of the Weimar Republic on August 11, 1919, and again abolished in 1933. The new constitution on May 9, 1949, granted the use of the current flag. The German flag has a ratio of 3:5.

What Do the Flag's Colors and Symbols Mean?

Despite the colors of the German flag being consistent since their inception, they have taken on different meanings. Ideally, the three colors of black, red, and gold represent a united and democratic Germany before it was divided into East Germany and West Germany. The colors also represent the liberty of the German people during the Napoleonic wars in the early 19th century. The soldiers at the time wore black coats with red braid and gold buttons. Sources define the current flag colors as black representing determination, the red symbolizing strength and bravery, and the yellow representing generosity. However, the meaning of the German flag’s color changed during the rule of the Weimar Republic. During that era, the black, red, and gold portrayed the colors of the Democratic, Centris, and Republican parties respectively.

Who Designed the Flag?

The designers of the German flag begun as early as 1778. Nonetheless, true advancement occurred after the republican movement popularized the flag in 1832 at the Hambacher Fest. The flag achieved prominence during the 1848 Revolutions when the Frankfurt Parliament (1848-1850) proposed the flag in a united German state following World War I. After World War II, the tricolor flag represented both East and West Germany until 1959 when the East German flag opted to include the coat of arms of East Germany

What Have Historical Versions of the Flag Looked Like?

The German flag has not always used the tricolor of black, red, and gold as its colors. For instance, a black-white-red flag emerged after the Austro-Prussian war in 1866. This flag was later used to represent the German Empire after its consolidation in 1871, and it remained in use until 1918. As a deliberate attempt to do away with the German republican colors, Nazi Germany re-established the tricolor of black, white, and red as the national colors with the emblem of an eagle. Adolf Hitler designed the flag in 1920 to represent the Nazi Party (1933-1945). Moreover, the Holy Roman Empire used the colors black and gold with an eagle on a golden background to represent the Roman Emperor. Current variations of the German flag include an eagle inside a shield. However, only the federal government can only fly the flag.

This page was last modified on March 14th, 2018