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The black, red, and gold flag was first raised during the Hambach Festival in 1832 as a symbol of German patriotism and a call for democratic freedoms and national unity. This flag's colors date back to Major Ludwig Adolf Wilhelm von Lützow, whose Lützow Free Corps was a Prussian volunteer force during the Liberation Wars from 1813 to 1815. Initially, the colors had a practical purpose only, with black being the color of the volunteers' uniforms to equalize their appearance, and red chosen for the sleeves' badge. However, after the war, student unions across German-speaking countries began using black, red, and gold as a symbol of democracy and civil rights.
The German Tricolore held official national flag status for the first time due to the National Assembly's resolution on March 9, 1848. Despite the failure of the German Revolution of 1848 and the subsequent replacement of the flag with the Reich's Flag, the Weimar Republic reestablished the black, red, and gold banner as a symbol of democracy. This move was supported by loyalists, veterans, and members of moderate parties who formed the Reichsbanner association to promote democracy's values. In contrast, monarchists and right-wing parties supported the Reich's Flag, which was associated with opposition to Germany's first democracy.
Following the dark period of National Socialism, policymakers in 1948 proposed a new version of the German flag, incorporating the black, red, and gold banner to connect with the values and ideals of the Weimar Republic. Today, waving the black, red, and gold flag with pride is a testament to Germany's enduring commitment to democracy and civil rights, and a symbol of hope for a better future. Should you raise the flag? The answer is clear: absolutely!
Like in the United States, there is a special code of treatment for the flag in Germany. However, the difference is that this code is anchored in law. Germans can rightfully be proud of the long-standing history of their black, red, and gold flag and what it stands for. The official German Tricolor is widely supported by moderate forces as a democratic symbol of identity and unification in daily life. For instance, disparaging a German flag can result in a financial penalty or jail time, even for private citizens. Furthermore, spreading misinformation or right-wing propaganda in combination with codes of Nationalism is fully indictable on German soil (Source: § 90a StGB).