Czech flag turns 90
On Tuesday, March 30th the Czech flag was more in evidence than usual – the state symbol turned 90. The red, white and blue flag with its simple geometric pattern was created in 1920 shortly after the founding of an independent Czechoslovak state. Although Czechoslovakia no longer exists, the flag remains the Czech Republic’s state symbol.
“When the flag and state symbols of Czechoslovakia were approved it was forbidden to use the old flags of Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia which caused plenty of hostility. It was only with the Nazi occupation when the country was under threat that people rallied around the Czechoslovak flag, took it for their own and the old symbols were forgotten.”
In 1993, just two years after the fall of communism the Czechoslovak federation split up in what was dubbed the Velvet Divorce. The Czech Republic refused to give up the flag, and created one of the few moments of open hostility in the separation when it went back on its promise to give it up. Jaroslav Martykan again:
In an attempt to justify the move Czech politicians argued that it was Slovakia which wanted out of the common state and the Czechs saw no reason to loose out on their state symbol which had become well-established. Twenty years after the fall of communism the issue is no longer a matter of contention between the two neighbours. And although the 90-year old Czech flag is the better-known of the two Czechs are occasionally given a lesson in humility –as when during a Czech state visit to Pakistan the authorities mistakenly hoisted a checkered flag instead of a Czech one.