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Hungary - Historical Flags (1918-1945)

Last modified: 2014-05-05 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: hungary | horthy | habsburg |
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Kingdom of Hungary - Overview (1867 - 1945)

In 1849-1867 Hungary was under direct Austrian controll. Didn't use Hungarian symbols. In 1867-1882 used the small Coat of Arms (on flag) and a middle Coat of Arms (small Coat of Arms in the heart of the shield around the Dalmatian, Croatian, Sclavonian and Transylvanian Coat of Arms). 1882-1915 used the small Coat of Arms (on flag) and a middle Coat of Arms (small Coat of Arms in the heart of the shield around the Dalmatian, Croatian, Sclavonian and Transylvanian Coat of Arms and Fiume's Coat of Arms too!!!). In 1915-1918 used the small Coat of Arms (on flag), and the Middle Coat of Arms (small Coat of Arms in the heart of the shield around the Dalmatian, Croatian, Sclavonian and Transylvanian Fiume's Coat of Arms and Bosnian Coat of Arms too - on flag. Between November 1918 and March 1919 used only the small Coat of Arms without crown (Kossuth Coat of Arms). Between March1919 - August 1919 didn't used Coat of Arms, but red star. Between August 1919 and 1920 used the small Coat of Arms with or without crown. In 1920-1946 used the small Coat of Arms with angels or olive branches on flag. All flags were the red-white-green tricolour (Ratio of the Hungarian tricolour is 2:1 from 1848 not 3:2).
Countries on the used Coat of Arms:
1848-1849 small   Hungary
1848-1849 middle  Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Transylvania
1849-1860 no Coat of Arms
1867-1882 small   Hungary
1867-1882 middle  Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Transylvania
1882-1915 small   Hungary
1882-1915 middle  Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Transylvania, Fiume
1915-1918 small   Hungary
1915-1918 middle  Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Transylvania, Fiume, Bosnia
1918-1919 small   Hungary (without crown)
1919  red star
1919-1946 small   Hungary
1938-1944 middle  Hungary, Dalmatia, Croatia, Slavonia, Transylvania, Fiume, Bosnia (only on war flags)
Istvan Molnar, 25 June 2001

People's Republic of Hungary (1918-1919)

image by Antonio Martins, 24 April 1999

People's Republic of Hungary 11.1918-20.03.1919 used the flag with "Kossuth Coat of Arms" which is the Coat of Arms without the crown.
Istvan Molnar, 9 November 2000

Hungarian Soviet Republic (1919)

image by Željko Heimer

Hungarian Soviet Republic, 21.3.1919 - 7.1919 or Hungarian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (in Hungarian: Magyar Tanácsköztársaság or Magyar Szocialista Szövetségi Tanácsköztársaság) . The leaders of this communist state wanted the union of Soviet Russia.
Istvan Molnar, 9 November 2000

In March 1919 Karoly give the power to the soviet of Budapest, but in May a contrarevolutionary government was created in Arad. I believe that in this moment the idea was that only a single workers and peasants state should exist but only in the future. In a short war Hungarian troops took Slovakia and created a short lived soviet republic (one more republic instead of union with the soviet Russia). After an war against Romania,the romanians occupied Budapest (4 August 1919) and the soviet republic ended. Peidl (the succesor of bela Kun) diminshed and no succesor could be found. Then the archiduc Joseph enter into Budapest and self proclaimed himself as a king (with the help of romanian troops). Under allied pressure Joseph left Budapest in September. His government collapsed on 14 November 1919 when the romanian troops left the country. Nationalist troops took Budapest on 14 November 1919 (I believe that they came from the contrarevoltionary government of Arad). Regency was proclaimed (1920 adopted official national flag).
Jaume Olle, 10 November 2000

All picture found by me show the tricolour as an official flag of the contrarrevolutionary government. The Revolutionary Governing Soviet had resigned on 31.07.1919. The government of Peidl (01.08.1919-06.08.1919) made an order as No. 1/1919 Order about the name of the country: People's Republic of Hungary. I think that this order readopted the tricolour.archiduc Joseph self proclaimed himself as only a regent and not as a king. I think he used the tricolour with the smaller CoA. He resigned on 23.08.1919. The rumanian troops went out of Budapest and Tiszántúl (territory between the Danube and Tisza Rivers) on 14-16.11.1919. The Commander-in-Chief of the government of Arad (later, 21.07.1919 on Szeged), Miklós Horthy took the oath as the regent and his government on 15.08.1919. The contrarevoltionary government of Szeged resigned on 19.08.1919. On 16.11.1919 Commander-in-Chief Miklós Horthy took Budapest. The kingdom was proclaimed (without king) on 27.02.1920 and readopted its symbols: tricolour with a smaller CoA and the smaller CoA
Istvan Molnar, 11 November 2000

Yesterday I was in the Nemzeti Múzeum (HNM). Here is a photo of Communist symbols in the Parliament in 1919.
Istvan Molnar, 5 February 2006

Military Flag

image by Željko Heimer

Text over symbol: VILÁG PROLETÁRJAI EGYESÜLJETEK (Workers of the World, unite), used by Bela Kun's Army in 1919, now in "Orszagos Hadtörténeti Muzeum, Budapest" (State Military History Miseum). Information provided by Jaume Ollé.
Željko Heimer

Text above the symbol: CSEPELI VÖRÖS EZRED 2. zászlóalj (The Red Regiment of Csepel 2th battalion; Csepel was a village in 1919).
Istvan Molnar, 11 November 2000

Horthy's Era (1919-1944)

National Flag 1919-1944
image by Željko Heimer

Hungary 1941: The ensign is a red white green horizontal tricolor with the state arms on the white stripe. The arms are hard to see in my copy and very complex. I think they are per-quarter with another shield in the center that is the one described earlier. Surrounding the shield are on the right side an oak branch for glory, and on the left side an olive branch for peace. It is topped by the crown of St Stephen, first Hungarian king, the crown with the bent cross on top.
Nathan Augustine, 5 December 1995

What about inter-war and WWII Hungary, which was technically a monarchless monarchy?
They retained the red-white-green flag with the traditional arms topped with the Crown of St. Stephen - i.e. the same as under the Habsburgs.
Roy Stilling, 9 April 1996

Technically, Hungary was a Regency under Admiral Horthy. So not only was it a monarchless monarchy, its head of state was an Admiral without a coastline. Hungary was forbidden by the victors of WW1 from putting a Habsburg on the throne, but the royalist constitution was restored after Horthy defeated the Communist junta of Bela Kun in 1919. When in 1921 (?) there were two attempts (March, October) by the Habsburg heir to return to Budapest there was armed resistance from Horthy’s forces, who sent the Habsburgs packing. Horthy’s official title as Regent was “His Serene Highness”, I believe, which seems an inappropriate title for so volatile an individual (although to be fair, steering a middle course between Germany and Russia in the 1930s would probably have been beyond any politician in Central Europe.)

When the Germans took over Hungary in 1944 and imposed a pro-Nazi regime, Horthy was arrested. He survived the war and lived in exile (in Portugal, I think) living long enough to see the 1956 uprising.

Anyway, in flag terms, Hungary used its red-white-green tricolour, with the state flag having the royal coat of arms on the white, the same arms restored after the Communist regime fell in 1989 — even though Hungary is now a republic!
Stuart Notholt
, 9 April 1996

Flaggenbuch [neu92] regarding to Hungary (pages 177 and 178):

Regent's Standard (Standarte des Reichsverwesers)

image by Željko Heimer, 5 November 2001

White flag with red and green wolf-teeth  and with the "middle" coat of arms in the middle. Ratio 2:3. Similar flag, with flamullets is titled "Infantry Standard 1938" - obviously the same system as used today.
Željko Heimer, 5 November 2001

National Flag, serving as State and War Flag - Flag with CoA in the middle, basically the same as currently used.

National flag without the Coat of Arms - the tricolour.

Merchant Flag (Handelsflagge. Dient als Heck- (National-) Flagge und G?sch der Stormwache, sowie im Topp als Rangabzeichen des Reichsverwesers, des Inspektors und der Kommandanten der Stormwache, sofern im Range eines Generalmajors, des Honv?dministers, des Oberbefelshabers des Armee, der Brigadekommandeure, der Inspekteure der einzelen Waffengattungen.) - National flag with CoA offset to hoist on axis dividing length in 1:2.
by Željko Heimer, 5 November 2001

Yesterday I was in the Nemzeti Múzeum (HNM) and take photo of the country flag of the 1930s.
Istvan Molnar, 5 February 2006

Horthy Flag (?)

I found picture of "H" on tricolor in the 'RUBICON' Historical Review 2001/1-2 page 19. I don't know when and where this photo was made , maybe in 1919-1920. I don't have any information about the flag.
Istvan Molnar, 26 Febuary 2001

What would you say - is that the initial H inscribed or some other letter? Maybe AL? It surely looks like a standard that could have been set up for Horthy, or maybe for some unit (personal guard? maybe L there for "something Legion"?) Just guesses.
As for where it is taken, my only guess is the Parliament building in Budapest - but could be anything else. Regarding the time - I wouldn't know - if you ask me it could be anytime in 20th cetury before the end of WWII.
Željko Heimer, 27 Febuary 2001

Well, this flag has a border of wolf-teeth, the ones pointing downwards alternating red and green (I think the lighter ones are the red ones), and the ones pointing upwards white. Within this border is the Hungarian flag itself, red over white over green.  In the centre of the flag is a very nice, cursive 'H'. Considering the flag's position in the photograph, I'm inclined to say that it is Regent Admiral Horthy's personal flag, before it was altered to the one that is in Znamierowski, and more renowned: white, with red and green wolfteeth, with the state Coat of Arms in the centre.
Georges G. Kovari, 26 April 2001

I think that this is not a personal flag of Horthy. It seems to be the flag adopted by Szalasi after his coup d'etat on October 16, 1944. The letter "H" does not mean "Horthy", it means "Hungarism", the ideology of Szalasi's Hungarist Movement.
Ivan Marinov, 26 April 2001

would'n't it be strange for a magyar állampolgár (hungarian citizen) to use a H like Hungarism rather than an M like "Magyariszmus" (or whatever it may be in hungarian), knowing the importance of using magyar szavakat (hungarian words) in the magyar nyelv (hungarian language) ?
Olivier Touzeau, 26 April 2001

This word "Magyarizmus" is NOT possible!!!
"Hungarizmus" IS. - this was an political trend of the extreme right before the WWII.
Istvan Molnar, 26 April 2001

Not only that. The official language of Hungary until 1844 was Latin, not Hungarian. And in Latin Hungary is "Hungaria".
Szalasi, a former military officer, unified all Hungarian extreme right political parties under the name "Arrow Cross Party - Hungarist Movement". The main hobby of Szalasi was creating useless new words. One of such words was "hungarizmus" (hungarism) for designating his own ideology. Szalasi claimed to be more radical than Hitler, for this reason he used the word "asemitism" (this is again a word created by himself) in place of "antisemitism". Szalasi explained that Hitler's antisemitism was merely "hate against Jews", while his own "asemitism" meant not only hate, but "total negation of Jews".
And an interesting fact about the personality of Szalasi. Being the leader of the most radical Hungarian extreme right political entity, he himself was not of Hungarian origin. His original name was Salasyan, and he was of Armenian nationality.
Ivan Marinov, 27 April 2001

No! The photo sent by me is in the RUBICON Historical Review 2001/1-2 (page 19). On the picture you can see Miklós Horthy, the Commander-in Chief of the Hungarian National Army in 1919. I found another picture about the "flag" in the book "Fortélyos félelem igazgat", 4th edition, Budapest 1980. (on the page 9)
This is a famous photo. You can see MiklĂłs Horthy on white horse to marche in Budapest on 16th November 1919.
Istvan Molnar, 27 April 2001

I found some photos with this flag as the flag of Commander-in Chief of the Hungarian National Army - Horthy Miklós.
Source: "História" Historical Rewiev 1993/11.
Istvan Molnar, 11 January 2003

Szálasi  (a puppet of nazi ideology) invented the word: Hungarizmus and founded the party: Arrow Cross Party, which was a typical Gestapo raised organization. Most of the very young people saw great thing in this party, but only them.....
The Arrow Cross Party took over Hungary with the active support of Wehrmacht troops, which ended the Horthy regim, with German power. Szálasi was in prison, until the Wehrmacht took power from the Horthy government. Horthy himself was known for English connections, and the dislike of the German power, but he remained silent, because Hungary was a very little 'thing' for Germany. Our troops was very few in numbers, and half of the Hungarian factories were in German hands,s o it was the only thing he can do, to support....
When he finally sayed, that we LEAVE the German side, the Wehrmach offensive broked in quickly, the Gestapo took Horthys son, and threatened him to  release Szálasi, and the Arrow Cross Party took over. The Hungarista party never used flags with calligraphic H. They Used the Arrow Cross, in middle of a circle, and sometimes they put a little, white H in the middle of the cross. The cross was green and sometimes black. The H may mean Hungary, but I am almost sure, that this flag is some military divisions flag, who adopted Horthy's name. After the nazi Hungarista party took over, they used nyilas soldiers  (Arrow Cross party = Nyilaskeresztes párt) over Hungarian regular army, like waffen SS over Wehrmacht. But these 'soldiers' were merely criminals, in black uniform, with German weapons, even the most right winged Hungarian soldiers hated them. They escaped from all battle.
Palkó Dániel, 20 March 2006