The flag of Germany was adopted on May 9, 1949. The flag is officially called the Bundesflagge, or federal flag; however this term is mostly used by governmental authorities or in official notices. The flag is sometimes referred to poetically as the Schwarz-Rot-Gold, or black-red-gold or by sailors as the Adenauer. The most common name for the German flag is the Deutschlandfahne, or simply Germany flag.
The German flag is a simple rectangle with three horizontal stripes that are black red and gold. This tricolor flag, although officially adopted just sixty years ago, was used several times throughout German history. In 1848, it was adopted as a German flag during the revolution and the Frankfurt Parliament government, but it was banned four years later. On August 11, 1919, the tricolor flag became the official flag of the Weimar Republic, but it was again banned on March 12, 1933 to be replaced with the Third Reich flag. Finally, the flag was officially adopted as the flag of the Federal Republic of German on May 9, 1949. From 1959 until 1989, during the Cold War, the flag represented the German Democratic Republic. During these thirty years, the flag included the German coat of arms, a yellow shield with a black eagle.
Similar versions to the current German have also existed. In 1866, after the Prussians dominated North Germany, the government adopted a black, white, and red striped flag. This was used during the German Empire until the end of World War I. The black, white, and red colors were also used during the Third Reich, although not always in the strict horizontal stripe pattern. These color variations have developed powerful associations with the German people. Since World War II, the black-red-white color scheme is largely associated with the Nazi regime and the horrors of that time, while the black-red-gold pattern represents German unity and the freedoms enjoyed by the people of modern Germany.