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Occupied Germany 1945-1949

provisional civil ensign 12th november 1946 - 14th august 1950

Last modified: 2013-03-26 by pete loeser
Keywords: c-ensign | ccg | control commission germany |
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Provisional Civil Ensign 1945-1949
C-Ensign (C-Doppelstander)

[Provisional Civil Ensign 12th November 1946 - 14th August 1950 (Germany)] 2:3 Image by António Martins


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Allied Occupation of Germany

     In Flagmaster (No. 078), it discussed the abolition of the swastika: "The British Military Government, operating over the north and west of Germany issued its Law No.1 on 12 July 1945. Article 1, §a and §e withdrew the legality of the Nazi flag laws: the Law for the Protection of the National Symbols of 19 May 1933, and the Reich Flag Law of 15th September 1935 (the Nuremberg Flag Law). This was supplemented a few weeks later by a decree from the Control Council applying to the whole of Germany.
     Act No.1 of the Control Council, dated 20 September 1945, repealed the Law for the Protection of the National Symbols of 19 May 1933, and the Reich Flag Law of 15th September 1935 (§d and §j of Article 1). The Law for the Protection of the National Symbols had given powers to Goebbels as Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda to control flag usage, and the Reich Flag Law made the use of the national symbols more specific, established the swastika as the national flag and allowed for a new Reichskriegsflagge.
     The Act therefore effectively abolished the swastika and related flags".
Mark Sensen, 14 Jan 1997

     All Nazi flags and regalia were immediately abolished upon Germany's unconditional surrender, 8th May 1945. Thereafter, it was a crime punishable under occupation regulations for Nazi flags to be displayed. German soldiers still serving under arms after the surrender, e.g. the military police, removed the Nazi eagle badge from their uniforms. Denazification was a key element in the Allies' occupation strategy, and the immediate banning of all Nazi regalia was one consequence.
     The only "German" flag permitted to be displayed between VE Day (8 May 1945) and 1949 was a provisional civil ensign (shown at the top of the page). In 1949, both the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic adopted the black-red-gold flag, last used by the Weimar Republic, as their national flag (actually, the flag adopted by the German Democratic Republic was the state flag; legally there was no civil flag). Since both claimed to constitute Germany's legitimate government, this made a certain amount of sense. However, in 1959 the German Democratic Republic added its Arms to the state flag in order to distinguish it from the flag of the capitalist Federal Republic of Germany.
     Though I do not have the exact information at my fingertips, I believe that some German provinces did adopt flags during the occupation period. However, except for the provisional civil ensign, there was no German national flag.
Tom Gregg, 10 Jan 1997

     At the close of World War Two, Allied troops generally found white flags of surrender flying from towns as they advanced. An exception to this was in Bavaria, where the old national bicolor flew from many houses. After the war, it was usually used as the Bavarian flag, even before its official adoption.
Norman Martin, Aug 1998


Provisional Civil Ensign (12 November 1946 - 14 August 1950)
C-Ensign (C-Doppelstander)

     The only "German" flag permitted to be displayed between VE Day (8 May 1945] and 1949, when the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic were proclaimed, was a provisional civil ensign. It was simply the international signal flag for "C" with a triangle cut out of the fly. This flag was necessary for reasons of international law; German ships had to display some kind of a national ensign and this was the rough-and-ready solution.
Tom Gregg, 10 Jan 1997

     After World War Two the allied victors decided upon a symbolic humiliation of the defeated Germany by the introduction of the so-called C-Pennant (C-Doppelstander). After the swastika flag since the capitulation of 8th May 1945 de facto and by law of the Controlling Council of 20th September 1945 (abolition of the Reichsflaggengesetz of 15th September 1935) formally too, Germany was denied the use of its own national and merchant flag, not even the black-red-gold flag of the Weimar Republic. Instead of a real flag all German ships had to use a letter from the international signal alphabet, the letter "C," a blue-white-red-white-blue (which happened to be in the national colors of three of the four victorious powers: United States, United Kingdom and France) as a horizontal standard with a triangle cut out at the fly. In Article I, #3 of the Law of the Controlling Council no. 39 it was explicitly stated: "This flag shall not be honored, and shall not be dipped as a salute to war and merchant ships of whichever nation."
     Not carrying the C-Pennant by German ships was punishable with imprisonment or fees (Art. IV). Only in 1950 were German ships permitted to have their own merchant flag like all seafaring nations, to wit the black-red-gold flag of the Weimar Republic. For Japan too the United States occupational power ordered the use of two surrogate merchant flags: the modified standard "E" and "O," which had to be used by Japanese ships until April 1952.
Source: Rabbow 1970.
Jarig Bakker, 5 Aug 1999


Law No. 39 of the Allied Control Commission
Distinguishing Flag to be worn by German and
ex-German Ships operating under Allied Control Authority

     The law was published in the three official languages of the Allied Forces, English, French and Russian, as well as in German. Source: Journal Officiel du Conseil de Contrôle en Allemagne, no. 12, 30th November 1946.

The Control Council enacts as follows:

Article I
  1. In all cases, except as provided in Article III, every German or ex-German vessel operating under the Allied Control Authority shall at all times wear the Allied Control Authority distinguishing flag which shall consist of International Flag "C" with a triangle cut from the fly, as shown in the Schedule hereto. (Appendix "A")
  2. This flag shall be worn at the masthead, or in cases of vessels that have no masthead, at the place prescribed by usage or custom; it shall be worn continuously day and night and shall he treated as a distinguishing flag.
  3. No ceremonial shall be accorded this flag which shall not be dipped in salute to warships or merchant ships of any nationality.
  4. No other distinguishing flag shall be worn by any vessel covered by paragraph 1 of this Article.
Article II
  1. The provisions of this Law shall not apply to requisitioned craft which are operated by or under the direct control of one of the Occupying Powers.

Article III

  1. Craft operating on inland waterways may, as an alternative to wearing the Allied Control Authority flag as prescribed in paragraph 2 of Article I, have the colors of this flag painted on both sides of the craft as a distinguishing mark.
  2. Zone Commanders may however, provide that inland waterway vessels operating exclusively within their respective Zones shall not be required to wear or display any distinguishing flag or mark.

Article IV

  1. The Master or any other person actually in command of any German or ex-German vessel operating under the Allied Control Authority who violates any of the provisions of Article 1 of this Law shall without prejudice to any criminal liability which he may have incurred under the provisions of any other Law or Laws, be liable to prosecution before a Military Government or German Court and be punishable with a fine of not less than RM 300 [Reichsmark]and not more than RM 10,000.
  2. In grave cases the Court may impose imprisonment (Gefängnis) for a term not exceeding five years, with or without the fine provided by paragraph 1 of this Article.
Article V
  1. This Law shall come into force two months after the date of publication.
Done at Berlin the 12th day of November [1946] V. SOKOLOVSKY, Marshal of the Soviet Union
JOSEPH, T. McNARNEY, General of United States Army
SHOLTO DOUGLAS, Marshal of the Royal Air Force
R. NOIRET, Général de Division pour P. KOENIG Général d'Armée
"Appendix A: Distinguishing Flag to be worn by German and ex-German Vessels operating under Allied Control Authority." The Appendix shows the black and white picture of a flag, with proportions ca. 2:3, with a 90° cut in the fly, divided in five horizontal strips B-W-R-W-B.
Pascal Vagnat, 8 Aug 1999

     Allied High Commission Law No. 42 removed certain restrictions for the area to which the basic law applied so that after 14 December 1950 it applied in only Soviet controlled waters. Source: Public Record Office FO 371/98027.
David Prothero, 7 Jul 2000


British Troops assigned to the Control Commission for Germany
Only in the British Occupation Zone

[British Troops assigned to the Control Council for Germany] image by Santiago Dotor and Jaume Ollé

     A blue flag, on the canton a shield, a light blue cross on red with the golden, interlaced letters "CCG."
Santiago Dotor, 14 Jun 2000

     The insignia is that of British troops assigned to the Control Commission for Germany (CCG).
Norman Martin, 14 Jun 2000

     The book on the Zurich International Congress of Vexillology includes a paper on the subject of flags in postwar Germany, showing a black and white picture of the CCG flag. The flag is 3:5 or maybe even 1:2, with a large shield only slightly offset to the canton (rather than in the canton).
Santiago Dotor, 30 Jun 2000

     I have the book and Santiago Dotor's image is quite correct. The vertical part of the cross is double narrow size that the horizontal one. Shade of the blue in cross and background must be the same. Shield must be a bit wider (or less high) and bordered white. This image is from photo and I assume that is exact. My [original] image was made according to Flagmaster (if I don't remember wrong) and I assume was inexact.
Jaume Ollé, 13 Jul 2000

     This badge is shown in colour in Guido Rosignoli's Army Badges and Insignia, and in black and white in Howard Cole's Heraldry in War. The cross is dark blue and the letters a deeper yellow. The letters are larger than in the GIF, but contained within the vertical arm, which is wider than the horizontal arm. As far as I know the construction of formation badges and the relatively few flags in which they featured was not particularly consistent. The "shield and cross" part of the Control Commission Germany badge can be traced back to the code-name of an operation planed in Egypt in 1941:
     Eighth Army: Yellow cross on white shield. The Eighth Army was formed in Egypt and the details of its badge were being considered when its first offensive in the Western Desert was being planned under the code-name Operation Crusader. This influenced the design of the badge which was a "Crusader Shield;" a red cross on a white shield, the arms of the cross intersecting above the mid-point. The colour of the cross was changed to yellow when it was realised that it might otherwise be confused with the medical Red Cross emblem.
     First Army: Red cross on white shield, vertical sword. A year later the First Army was formed for the invasion of Algeria, and the same Crusader Shield design was chosen. It had a red cross on white, but could be distinguished from the Red Cross emblem, by the unsheathed sword, yellow handle, white blade, point downwards, on the vertical arm of the cross.
     Second Army: Blue cross on white shield, vertical sword. Formed in Britain in 1943 for the invasion of Europe. All yellow sword.
     21st Army Group: Blue cross, on a red shield, two yellow swords crossed diagonally. Headquarters badge of the combined Canadian First Army and British Second Army
     British Army of the Rhine (BAOR): Same badge. Became the badge of Headquarters B.A.O.R. in August 1945.
     Control Commission Germany: Same shield and cross, with swords replaced by CCG. Other B.A.O.R. formations had a similar badge with the swords replaced by an appropriate emblem.
     Much of the above is from Formation Badges of World War Two, which is a revised and enlarged edition of Heraldry in War.
David Prothero, 8 Jul 2000

     I was puzzled why you refer to the CCG as Control Council for Germany when the CCG were for the Control Commission Germany!
Denis A. Darmanin, 5 Oct 2007


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