Flag of the German Empire

The Flag of the German Empire, or Imperial Flag, is a combination between the flag of Prussia and the flag of the Hanseatic League. The flag was first used as the flag of the North German Confederation which was formed in 1867.[1] Later, after the Franco-Prussian War, the German Empire was founded. Germany would continue using it until the German Revolution of 1918–1919, which resulted in the founding of the Weimar Republic.[2] The Weimar Republic did not use it as a national flag though it did see use within the Reichswehr.[3] Immediately after the electoral victory of the Nazi Party in March 1933, German President Paul von Hindenburg reinstated the flag by decree as the co-official flag of Germany.[4] In 1935, a year after Hindenburg's death, the Imperial Flag was banned from use as the national flag in favour of the black-red-white swastika flag.[5]

Imperial Flag
UseState flag, civil and state ensign
Proportion2:3 (3:5 in 1933–1935)
  • 1867; 155 years ago (1867) (first 2:3 ratio)
  • 1933; 89 years ago (1933) (second 3:5 ratio)
  • 1919; 103 years ago (1919) (first 2:3 ratio)
  • 1935; 87 years ago (1935) (second 3:5 ratio)
DesignA horizontal tricolour of black, white, and red

During World War II, German exiles in the Soviet Union adopted it as their new flag for a free German state. Due to this, after World War II, East Germany almost adopted the Imperial Flag as their national flag.[6]

Participants in a Neo-Nazi march in Munich (2005) resorted to flying the Reichsflagge [de] and Reichsdienstflagge of 1933–1935 (de) (outlawed by the Nazi regime in 1935) due to § 86a

Due to the ban on Nazi swastika flag in modern Germany, many German Neo-Nazis instead adopted the Imperial Flag. However, the flag never originally had any racist or anti-Semitic meaning, despite its brief use in Nazi Germany.[7]

The flag is almost graphically identical to the modern flag of the Republic of Yemen, albeit with the colours reversed and a different shade of red. The flag of Upper Volta, used in 1958–1984, had the same colour arrangement but with a slightly different shade of red.

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