The flag of Hungary, adopted on October 12, 1957, is made up of red, green, and white horizontal stripes, not to be confused with Italy’s vertically striped flag. Its colors are a result of the medieval Hungarian coat of arms, which, at the time, depicted a double cross and the crown of St. Stephen, Hungary’s first Christian king, similar to what it is today. Each color of the flag is symbolic. Namely, the red stripe represents Hungary’s bloodshed in battle, the green is for its mountains, land, and pastures, and the white symbolizes freedom. Additionally, the Hungarian flag’s design is based upon the French flag and reflects ideas of the French revolution, such as political and social upheaval and freedom.
That is to say that Hungary is no stranger to conflict and has spent much of its history under Austrian rule. In fact, the two countries made up Austria-Hungary until their dissolution in 1918, after their defeat in World War I. The current tri-colored flag became a symbol of the newly independent Hungary. However, the flag has evolved and under-went several minor changes until its official in-statement in 1956.
For example, the flag of Hungary was briefly solid red in 1919. Then, from 1920 through 1946, it depicted the coat of arms as described above. But, in 1949, the coat of arms was replaced with a Soviet-symbol: the Communist coat of arms that contained a red star. However, the tri-color, striped design was brought back after the 1956 Hungarian revolution.
The 1956 Hungarian Revolution, or the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, was a spontaneous, nationwide revolt that began as a student demonstration. The people were protesting Soviet-imposed policies and, though the revolution was largely a failure, the government collapsed and the uprising played an important factor in the future downfall of the Soviet Union.
Consequently, to celebrate the official end of Communist rule in 1990, Hungary’s coat of arms was updated to be adorned with a crown, as it was historically shown. Though the current coat of arms is no longer a part of the Hungary flag, it is used for solemn occasions to this day.
Undoubtedly, though Hungary has endured a long and arduous journey toward independence, its flag symbolizes hope and perseverance. It has withstood Communism and remains a reminder of the blood that was spilled to ensure freedom.