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Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (1943-1945)

Last modified: 2014-09-20 by ivan sache
Keywords: democratic federal yugoslavia |
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Flag of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia

Quoting Order No. 1644 of 26 May 1945, published on 25 September 1945 in the Croatian official gazette Narodne novine, No. 30:

Nations of Yugoslavia went into struggle and fought unyielding battles against the enemy, carried their national flags with the five-pointed star as the symbols of the National Liberation Struggle.
At the Historical 2nd Session of the Antifascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia, held in Jajce on 29 November 1943, at which the foundations of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia were laid, the State flag became the symbol of strength of all Nations of Yugoslavia.
The five-pointed star on flags is the star that has shined to us and gave us strength and belief in hardest times of national uprising and enemy offensives, it instil unshakeable confidence that the Nations of Yugoslavia, under the leadership of the National Hero Marshal Tito will enjoy days of liberty, happiness and fortunate existence.
Regarding all of the above, the duty of each individual is to respect these sanctities, and therefore I order:
1. In all occasions when the National flags and the Yugoslav flag are hoisted or carried, these must be only flags with the five-pointed star on the middle field, laid in a way that the peaks of the points of the five-pointed star grasp other fields. This is the only form of our State flags and other flags, that is, the ones without the five-pointed star, are not to be displayed.
2. At all of the State institutions in the area of Federal Croatia, it is mandatory to fly the Yugoslav State flag and the flag of Federal Croatia.

Anonymous contributer, 1 November 2008

Ensigns of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia

[Naval ensign, 1943]         [Merchant ensign, 1943]

Naval (left) and merchant (right) ensign of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia - Images by Željko Heimer, 12 October 2003

After the Jajce conference during which the new Yugoslav state was born on 29 November 1943 (see the date on the national coat of arms), the general staff of the National Liberation Army of Yugoslavia issued an order signed by Marshal Tito on the naval and merchant ensigns to be used by the ships of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (Naredba o zastavi ratne i trgovačke mornarice, Glavni štab NOVJ, 14 December 1943). The naval ensign was the Yugoslav tricolour with the red five-pointed star in the middle of the white stripe, charged with a white anchor.

The same order prescribed a merchant ensign similar to the naval ensign, but without the anchor, that is, the Yugoslav tricolour flag with the five-pointed red star in the middle of the white stripe.

Source: Pomorska enciklopedija VII: Zastava, Jugoslavenski leksikografski zavod, Zagreb, 1964.

The two flags were de jure used until the adoption of the regulation replacing them with the new flags, which happened in 1949 for the naval ensign and in 1950 for the merchant ensign. However, since the new national flag, with the large red star bordered in yellow, was adopted officially early in 1946, the flags used at sea might have been de facto replaced even before.

Željko Heimer, 12 October 2003

Coat of arms of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia (1943)

[Coat of arms]

Coat of arms of the Democratic Federal Yugoslavia - Image by Željko Heimer, 15 October 2003

The coat of arms for the new state was devised by the artist Đorđe Andrejević-Kun, from Belgrade, around 1943. The coat of arms was officially adopted only in the 1946 Constitution, with a slightly different artistic representation. The five torches represent the five Yugoslav nations (Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Montenegrins and Macedonians; the [Bosnian] Muslims were recognized as the nation only in 1974 while the number of torches was increased to represent the number of Republics in 1963) and they burn by the joint flame of the Federation.

The date written on the ribbon of the emblem is 29 November 1943. As it is usual in the region, the month is written in form of Roman numeral, so the actual writing is 29.XI.1943.
That is the date of the second session of AVNOJ held in the Bosnian town of Jajce. AVNOJ was the Anti-fascist Council of National Liberation of Yugoslavia (Antifasisticko Vjece Narodnog Oslobodenja Jugoslavije), the organization that functioned as the parliament of the partisan movement. On the second session on the mentioned date the Council took several important decisions that are considered as the basis of establishment of the new, post-Second World War Yugoslavia. Among the decisions are the future federal organization of the state (that was, by the way, also the basis for the separation of the republics in the 1990s), the ban of the return of King Peter II from London until the free elections were made after the war to decide on the question of the kind of organization (republic vs. monarchy), giving the title of Marshal to Josip Broz Tito, etc.
Afterwards, the date was celebrated as the Day of the Republic.

Source: Symbol und Wirtschaft [suw50i]

In his memoirs, Andrejević-Kun recounts that he was commissioned in November 1943 to prepare the coat of arms; he prepared a few designs but he was not satisfied.
In the second meeting regarding the issue, in which Tito also participated, it was agreed that the five torches should be the main element representing the five nations. "It was determined even before that the date 29.XI.1943." should be included as well. However, the plates for the new coat of arms were finished later in Drvar (the General Staff moved from Jajce to Drvar on 6 January 1944), made as woodcut for black and white printing. These prints, with machine-typed indication of colours underneath, were eventually sent around the liberated territory (Varaždinske vijesti, 22 November 1979).
Other sources claim that the coat of arms was adopted in Drvar; they probably refer to the approval of this first print. Yet other sources claim that Kun designed the coat of arms during 1943 and that the date of the Jajce Assembly was added in afterwards, but the author's memoirs seems to clearly indicate that the date was one of the first elements of the design that were established.

Article 5 of the proposed "Law on the name of the state and the state arms" reads (Varaždinske vijesti, 22 November 1979):

The drawing of the state arms of the Democratic Federative Yugoslavia is published with this Law and it should be observed by all state and self-governing authorities.

When passed, the Law actually established the new coat of arms of Yugoslavia with five torches that would be in use until 1963.

Željko Heimer, 9 November 2013

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