Flag of Hungary
The flag of Hungary (Hungarian: Magyarország zászlója) is a horizontal tricolour of red, white and green. In this exact form, it has been the official flag of Hungary since October 1, 1957.
Today's flag of Hungary stems from the national freedom movement before 1848 which climaxed in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, which was not only a revolution against the monarchy and to constitute a republic, but also a national movement against the Habsburgs. Thus, the tricolour feature of the flag is based on the French flag and the ideas of French revolution, while the colours red, white and green were taken from the historical coat of arms. The coat of arms first appeared in the form, which is but for minor details basically the same as nowadays in the mid-15th century, marshalled from arms that first appeared in the late-12th and early-13th century as arms of the Árpáds, Hungary's founding dynasty. According to other data, the recent form of the Hungarian tricolor had been already used from 1608 at the coronation of Mathias II of Hungary.
So the Hungarian flag has its origins in the national republican movements of the 18th-19th century (concerning its form, the tricolour) and in the Hungary of the Middle Ages (concerning its colours).
Folklore of the romantic period attributed the colours to virtues: red for strength, white for faithfulness and green for hope. Alternatively, red for the blood spilled for the fatherland, white for freedom and green for the land, for the pastures of Hungary.
As described above, the red-white-green tricolour emerged as a sign of national sovereignity during the 1848-1849 revolution against the Habsburgs. After the revolution was defeated, the tricolour flag was prohibited by the Austrian Emperor; after the Compromise of 1867, however, the tricolour became not only legal, but also the official flag of Hungary. The flag had the so called minor arms of Hungary with archeangels as supporters were used as a badge on the flag. This configuration was used until the end of the Habsburg Empire in 1918.
After the fall of the Habsburg Empire the years 1918 to 1920 were highly turbulent, and several hard-to-trace minor changes might have taken place. Basically, the red-green-white tricolour had stayed the same for sure, differences might have occurred in terms of the badge. A short interlude and exception was the 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic, which lasted for four-and-a-half months; it used a solid red banner.
It seems that from 1920-1944 or 1945 the tricolour displayed the minor arms of Hungary, but without help was used.
Between 1946 and 1949 the crown was removed from the top of the arms serving as the badge.
In 1949 the new Stalinist Hungarian arms were placed on the flag as the badge.
During the anti-Soviet uprising in 1956, revolutionaries cut out the Stalinist emblem and used the resulting tricolor with a hole in the middle as the symbol of the revolution. For some months the new government changed the flag to bear the minor arms without the crown as the badge again.
In 1957, during the Stalinist restoration after the revolution was defeated by the Soviet Red Army, the new government created a "new" coat of arms, which however was never officially put onto the flag. Therefore the official flag of Hungary has been a pure red-white-green tricolour since 1957.
After the fall of communism in 1989 there was no need to change the flag, as it did not bear any communist insignia.
There was a recommendation of the Committee of Symbols some years ago, that the coat of arms should be part of the state flag, while the national flag should remain plain (as is the status quo). This has legally not been implemented, though in case of most state use the arms are legally permitted on the flag (see below).
The text on this page has been made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License and Creative Commons Licenses