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East Germany 1949-1990

German Democratic Republic, Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR

Last modified: 2002-05-31 by santiago dotor
Keywords: germany | historical | east germany | german democratic republic | gdr | deutsche demokratische republik | ddr | coat of arms (east germany) | wreath | compass | hammer | rye |
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[State Flag 1959-1990 (East Germany)] 3:5
by Jaume Ollé
Flag adopted 1st October 1959, abolished 3rd October 1990 (civil ensign 1973-1990)

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After the German defeat in World War Two, for a number of years there was no central German government, although state governments were fairly rapidly created (each of these adopted flags). In 1946, the Allied Control Council adopted a merchant flag, a swallow tailed version of the international signal flag C (illustrated in Smith 1975, p. 122). After republics were formed in east and west Germany and the use of their black-red-gold flags was authorized, this flag was used less and less and it was finally abandoned in 1952. The German Communists (officially the Socialist Unity Party), sponsored by the Soviet occupation authorities, formed the German Democratic Republic.

Norman Martin, February 1998

State Flag 1949-1959 and 31st May - 3rd October 1990


[State Flag 1949-1959 (East Germany)] 3:5
by António Martins
Colours adopted 1949, flag adopted 26 September 1955, abolished 1st October 1959, readopted 31st May 1990

Identical with the black-red-gold national flag of the Weimar Republic. Because it was also adopted by the Federal Republic, it was only in use from 1949 to 1959.

Norman Martin, February 1998

The first constitution of the German Democratic Republic (adopted when the GDR was founded) did not mention a flag, just that the national colours were black-red-gold. On 26 September 1955 the first flag law was adopted, which described the flag as black-red-gold in equal stripes. Source: Schurdel 1995.

Mark Sensen, 21 June 2000

According to Rabbow 1970 the black-red-gold flag of the German Democratic Republic was adopted 19 March 1949. On 26 September 1955 the flag, which was identical to the flag of the German Federal Republic, was reaffirmed (Law on State Coat of Arms and State flag). On 1 October 1959 the GDR government put the Arms on the state flag.

Jarig Bakker, 21 June 2000

State Flag 1959-1990

Staatsflagge / Civil Ensign 1973-1990

[State Flag 1959-1990 (East Germany)] 3:5
by Jaume Ollé
Flag adopted 1st October 1959, abolished 3rd October 1990 (civil ensign 1973-1990)

This flag was adopted on 1 October 1959, and continued in use as the flag of East Germany until the reunification of the Germanies on 3 October 1990 [one year after the fall of the Berlin Wall]. Ratio 3:5. The coat of arms shows a hammer and compass in a ring of rye, symbolising the working class, intelligentsia, and farmers.

Carl-Heinz Dirks, 12 December 1997

The black-red-gold with the arms (hammer and compass on a red disk surrounded by a wreath of two ears of wheat) in the center slightly overlapping the red stripe. In use as state flag 1959-1990, as merchant flag 1973-1990.

Norman Martin, February 1998

The coat-of-arms was added on 1 October 1959. At the beginning this flag was called Spalterflagge. Source: Schurdel 1995.

Mark Sensen, 21 June 2000

Civil Ensign 1959-1973


[Civil Ensign 1959-1973 (East Germany)] 3:5
by Jaume Ollé

Like the 1959 State Flag, except the arms are 1/3 the height of the flag and set near the upper hoist, overlapping the black and red stripes equally. In use 1959-1973.

Norman Martin, February 1998

Postal Flag 1955-1973


[Postal Flag 1955-1973 (Germany)] 3:5
N.B. the three stripes should be of equal width
by Jaume Ollé (?)
Flag adopted 27th October 1955, abolished 1st May 1973

Except for minor details of the horn, identical with the 1919-1921 Postal Flag. In use 1955-1973. Illustrated Kannik 1957, p. 37.

Norman Martin, February 1998

Adopted 27 October 1955 and abolished 1 May 1973. Source: a paper by Emil Dreyer in the Reports of the 15th International Congress of Vexillology.

Norman Martin, 10 December 1999

The German Democratic Republic introduced a postal flag with the regulation of 27th September 1955 (in force 27th October 1955). The flag had three equally wide stripes (not a widened red stripe!) and post horn emblem similar, but not identical to the one used in the West German postal flag. The flag was abolished with the regulation of 23rd January 1973 (in force 1st May 1973). Sources: Pfriem 1996, Dreyer 1999 and Hecker and Hoog 1978.

Marcus Schmöger, 29 March 2001

Standard of the Chairman of the State Council 1960-1990

Standarte des Vorsitzenden des Staatsrates der DDR

[Chairman of the State Council 1960-1990 (East Germany)] 1:1
by Jaume Ollé

Same as the 1955-1960 President's Flag, except for having a black-red-gold fringe instead of the border. Illustrated Pedersen 1971, p. 33, Smith 1975, p. 228 and Crampton 1990 p. 46. In use 1960-1990.

Norman Martin, February 1998

Flag of the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party and Chairman of the National Defence Council 1973-1990

Flagge des ersten Sekretärs des ZK der SED und Vorsitzenden des Nationalen Verteidigungsrats der DDR

[First Secretary of the Central Committee (East Germany)] 3:5
by Jaume Ollé

A red flag with the coat of arms surrounded by an outer wreath. Ratio 3:5. In use 1973-1990. Illustrated in Oliver 1993, p. 16.

Norman Martin, February 1998

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