The Notorious Flags of World War II Germany

A marching regiment of Britains Deetail German infantry soldier figures holding a selection of 1:32 scale toy flags from the current Britains Flags range. More are available.

Find all German flags from World War 2 in the Collections pages here.

There were many flags used by Germany and the German Armed Forces during the Second World War and many of these are included in the Britains Flags range. These included, most notably, the National flag (associated with the ruling Nazi Party) a red field, with a white disc with a black swastika. A similar flag called the ‘Reichskriegsflagge’ was used as the war flag for the Navy (Kriegsmarine), Army (Heer) and Air Force (Luftwaffe).

Other notable flags and banners included that of the SS (Schutzstaffel) elite forces (which always had a black background and either the ‘SS’ runes or the ‘Totenkopf’ (skull) as its main motif). The Schutzstaffel (SS) was a major paramilitary organisation under the Nazi Party in Nazi Germany, and later throughout German-occupied Europe during World War II. In 1925, Heinrich Himmler joined the unit, which had by then been reformed and given its final name.

Another distinctive banner was that of the Afrika Korps (which had a chequered design and included the Nazi ‘palm tree’ symbol). The Afrika Korps or German Africa was the German expeditionary force in Africa during the North African campaign of World War II. The unit's best-known commander was Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

Other wartime German flags were particularly decadent, including standards and swallow-tail banners in bright colours and luxurious fabrics. These fabulous standards, or “Standarten”, were employed for units other than those that carried flags, and these in particular were used for all mechanized units. They were exquisitely hand embroidered using fine quality silver bullion and heavy thread.


A little history:

When Germany was unified in the late 19th century, the national flag had black, white and red stripes. After the defeat of the Second Reich in World War I, the flag was replaced by a black, red and yellow flag under the Weimar Republic. But many Germans rallied around other flags that they felt represented the true German spirit. The red Communist flag, the black and white and red of the Second Reich, and the new Nazi swastika flag all competed for allegiance. From 1933 to 1945, Nazi symbols were foremost.

The flag of Germany during World War II was the flag of the German Reich with a red background with a black swastika on a white disk. Designed by Adolf Hitler himself, this flag became the flag of the Nazi Party and the battle flag of the Army and Air Force The Navy used the same flag as their battle flag, while the national flag with its black, white and three colors red acted as Jack.

The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) restored the old black, red and yellow flag on May 9, 1949, and the government used a similar flag with an eagle shield in the middle. The tricolour was retained, although a tricolour flag was added in 1959. In 1990, when the two German states were reunited as one nation, the GDR flag disappeared . The symbols of the Confederate Republic were not changed during the reunification.
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