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Why Do People Cut Holes In The Middle of Flags?

March 12, 2024
3
min read

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Why are there so many photos of Hungarian or Romanian flags with the centers cut out?

The reason involves quite a lot of historical backdrop. After World War II, Eastern and Central European countries had communist governments installed and aligned with the Soviet Union. However, not everyone was so happy with this arrangement. The Stalinist regimes that were installed used secret police torture and severely curtailed other liberties.

So in 1956, the people of Hungary had had enough. On October 23rd, University students in Budapest rallied the public to protest against the Soviet domination of Hungary when they encountered a flag with the communist emblem on it. The crowd shouted, "not our flag!" So the flag was taken down and the emblem was cut out of the middle. This version of the Hungarian tricolor with the center cutout became a symbol of the revolution.

Unfortunately, less than two weeks later, the Soviets rolled into Budapest with tanks and violently repressed the rebellion and the Hungarian Revolution failed.But fast forward three years and things were quite different. In 1989, the Soviet Union was weak and revolution ran through the entire Eastern Bloc. Things were seen in East Germany and Romania with the central communist emblem cut out, no doubt, hearkening back to the Hungarian Revolution. Romania in particular underwent a violent revolution. And so the flag with a hole in the center became a prominent symbol there, like it had in Hungary in 1956.

Today, Romania, Germany and Hungary all have their national tri colors intact and are free from communism. But these flags with holes serve as a reminder of the fight that was necessary to get there.

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