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Christian-Social Union (Bavaria, Germany)

Christlich-Soziale Union

Last modified: 2002-09-07 by santiago dotor
Keywords: bavaria | christian-social union | christlich-soziale union | csu | lion: rampant sinister (gold) | lozenge (blue) | letters: 3 (blue) | letters: 3 (black) |
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[Christian-Social Union (Bavaria, Germany)] 5:2
200×500 cm and 80×200 cm
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag used since c.1998

See also:


The CSU (Christlich-Soziale Union or Christian Social Union) is the conservative party in Bavaria. It is the sister-party of the CDU that is active in the rest of Germany. Although it is its own party with its own leader (from 1961-1988 this was Franz-Josef Strauß, 1988-1999 Theo Waigel, since 1999 Edmund Stoiber) and its own symbols, it cooperates with the CDU. In the Bundestag (federal parliament) the CDU and CSU constitute a joint parliamentary group.

The CSU was founded in 1946 by conservative Christian groups. Since 1946 it is the largest party in Bavaria and except for a short period in the 1950ies (1954-1957) the Bavarian Ministerpräsident (prime minister) has been a member of the CSU. Since 1957 the CSU rules uninterruptedly in Bavaria, most of the time with a comfortable majority in the parliament and no need for a coalition. In the federal government the CSU took part:

  • In the coalitions with the CDU, FDP and (for some time) smaller parties from 1949-1966;
  • In the grand coalition with the CDU and SPD 1966-1969; and
  • In the CDU-CSU-FDP coalition under Chancellor Kohl from 1982-1998.
  • From 1969 to 1982 and since 1998 it has been in federal opposition.
In federal politics it is usually viewed as slightly more conservative than its CDU counterpart. In Bavaria however, the basis for its success is the combination of a conservative, traditional, rural image with a reformist, modernist approach. This combination has been coined in the slogan Laptop und Lederhose, laptop and leather trousers (a traditional form of Bavarian trousers). As it is, in a certain sense, a regionalist party, it is decidedly federalist and against any centralist tendency coming from Berlin. This could be seen for instance in a debate about culture politics last year between the Bavarian Minister Zehetmair and the Federal Minister Naumann. Its regionalist approach leads to the (implicit) claim, that Bavaria, its landscapes and mountains, its beer and beer gardens, its castles and Oktoberfest, has actually been invented and made by the CSU.

Marcus Schmöger, 29 March 2001


Arnold Rabbow (in his publications Rabbow 1965 and Rabbow 1970) does not mention an own flag of the CSU. However, since about the 1970's the CSU uses a new logo (which can be seen at its website). It consists of the 'CSU' letters and a stylized yellow lion and a single blue lozenge. Lion and lozenge have been symbols in Bavarian coats-of-arms for a long time. The symbol is also used in party flags. These are (from top to bottom) pale blue-white-pale green with continuous transitions; the writing 'CSU' is on top, the lion-and-lozenge symbol near the bottom. The most common version of this flag (used for example at the party headquarters in Munich or during party conventions) is a vertical flag (higher than wide), this comes in two sizes (200 × 500 cm and 80 × 200 cm). The 'normal' horizontal flag has a size of 200 × 335 cm, but is rarely used.


  • Rabbow 1965
  • Rabbow 1970
  • CSU website
  • My own observations at the party headquarters in Munich
  • Photos of party conventions in the Internet
  • A letter from the public relations shop that delivers flags to the CSU, including drawings, sizes and prices of the party flags.

Marcus Schmöger, 29 March 2001

Horizontal Flag Variant

[Christian-Social Union, horizontal variant (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:5 | 200×335 cm
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag used since c.1998

Flag c.1974-c.1998

[Christian-Social Union c.1974-c.1998 (Bavaria, Germany)] 5:2
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag used c.1974-c.1998

Up to 1974 the CSU obviously did not use its own flags. During party conventions there were only Bavarian (lozenge) and German flags on display. In the early seventies a new advertisement agency (Team '70) took over the task of advertising for the CSU. It created a corporate design based mainly on the CSU logo (lion and lozenge) that has been used up to now, with minor modifications. In 1974 this was used for the first time also in flags.

The flags from 1974 to about 1998 were horizontally striped blue-green-white-green (1:1:9:1 in the case of the horizontal flag) showing the lion-lozenge logo and the black writing 'CSU' in the white stripe. The colours had been defined to Pantone 375 (green), Pantone 2995 (blue) and HKS 3 (yellow). My GIFs show very close colours to these. The two versions of the flag were a hanging flag and a normal horizontal flag. These flags were used frequently in front of the CSU headquarters, in front of the buildings where party conventions were held and during demonstrations. There was even an election poster in the late seventies and early eighties showing the CSU flag together with the German flag.

New versions of these flags appeared around 1998 (the first evidence being the 1998 party convention). These show a similar pattern to the older versions. However, the colours of the flags were now (from top to bottom) pale blue-white-pale green with continuous transitions and the 'CSU' was now blue instead of black. The older flags are kept in stock, though, and probably will be used for some time.

Additional sources:

  • Flags (old and new variants) kept in stock at the 'CSU shop' (website here)
  • Material kept in the archive of the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (website here), especially photos of party conventions, catalogues with advertisement material, slides of election posters

Marcus Schmöger, 18 May 2001

Horizontal Flag Variant c.1974-c.1998

[Christian-Social Union, horizontal variant c.1974-c.1998 (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:5 | stripes 1+1+9+1
by Marcus Schmöger
Flag used c.1974-c.1998

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