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State Flag (Poland)

Flaga Państwowa z Godłem

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[State Flag of Poland] image by Adam Kromer, from his website.
adopted 1 Aug 1919; revised 1927 and 1989 See also:

State Flag

Used as:
  • State Flag of diplomatic representation - used abroad only
  • Ensign of merchant ships
  • Flag of civil Airfields and landing zones since 1990
  • Flag of Harbours (KAPITANAT AND BOSMANAT OF HARBOURS) since 1990
Eagle in coat of arms was changed - in 1927, after WWII (crown was removed) and 1990 (1927 pattern with minor changes).
Adam Kromer, info from his website.

The state flag of Poland is with the arms. Earlier we discussed the communist nations with the least and most communist symbols on them, Poland's flag's only change during the communist period was the removal of the crown from the head of the eagle on its arms. The current version returns the crown. I think this vesion is still the state flag, but it may now be an alternate useable by anyone. The presence of the crown on the eagle is interesting since the Polish monarchy ended compleatly in 1795, and was constitutionally limited for many centuries before that, yet each Polish flag since has included the crown, with the above mentioned exception.
Nathan Augustine, 24 February 1996

The removal of the crown from the head of the eagle on its arms was *not* the only change. They also shortened the claws of the eagle since long claws represent imperialistic thinking. They have to my knowledge not been extended since after the fall of the comunist era. Interesting to note that the crown chosen to crown the eagle is that of King Mieszko I, and not the one used before the comunistic era.
Dawid Rojek-Szumanski, 14 Nov 1999

Can someone confirm this? It sounds suspiciously like an "urban legend", IMHO, but I'm hardly an expert there.
Could someone show images of the two different crowns (if they really are - I though the same crown was restored)
Željko Heimer, 17 Nov 1999

I just perused an article in a back issue of the Flag Bulletin entitled "The White Eagle of Poland" by Alfred Znamierowski (Vol. XIII, No. 4, July-August 1974) and it shows the eagle as bearing a crown since it was first introduced in the 10th Century continuously except when the communist government established in 1955 the uncrowned arms that were used until 1990.
Dave Martucci, 6 August 1997

The most important: in the Polish State flag (pl-st.gif) the claws of the eagle are gold (from 1991) - as is the crown (on Mr. Martines flag it looks like a gold star...) But the most important: Polish eagle *never* had red stars on its both wings! In 1926 (or even earlier) the Masonry installed white (and therefore almost invisible) 5-arm Star on its wings. So it was of course inherited by the socialist regime in 1946. In 1991 there was a fierce debate in the Polish Parliament: the Left was maintaining (1) that the symbols are not important, therefore there is no reason to crown the Eagle and change its wing and claws; (2) that it is very important, that the 5-arm Star was present on its wing. In the end the compromise was reached. Two arms of the Star had been shortened!! And it is still white!
Janusz Korwin-Mikke, 3 Feb 1999

A month ago or so I'd sent some remarks on the Polish flag You use in FOTW. I'd even explained the changes after 1989 - yet I see that after last corrections You are still using a strange (in fact never existing) image with a Red Star on the wings of the Eagle. Please: explain me: WHY???
Janusz Korwin-Mikke, 19 Apr 1999

It is definitely an artefact gotten from resizing of the Coat of Arms. The Coat of Arms indeed have five-pointed star like feature on the wings, but it is not red, not star in it own. As far as I know there were no changes in this part of Coat of Arms in 1989, nor there was ever a red star there. I made the "improvement" needed.
Željko Heimer, 26 Apr 1999

Janusz Korwin-Mikke is a well known Polish politician. His comments relate to the Polish Coat of Arms. The centre of each wing of the eagle had a decorative element in the form of a star - it was the way of linking the feathers together. Of course the paranoid will notice that the star is a symbol of communism, and so "the eagle must be changed".

BUT, now that I've looked at the state flag, I see he's right. There are two stars on the eagle, and they are brown. They were never meant to be brown, nor were they really ever meant to be stars at all. So, if someone has the skill, could you recolour the brown "stars" on the eagle's wings to the same colour as the eagle ? This applies to the State Flag and to the Air Force ensign.
Robert M J Czernkowski, 20 Apr 1999

In Barraclough's FOTW (1971) and FTAAATW (1975) and in Pedersen (1980) I see in the armpits of the eagle a starfish in the same (white) color as the eagle has. Whether that is a Western interpretation or some Eastern rendering - I don't know. In http://www.wp.mil.pl/znaki.html [since defunct --ed.] I found this Coat of Arms, which I send along. In the armpits of the eagle are leavelike things.
Jarig Bakker, 20 Apr 1999

No, those elements on the Eagle's wings were meant to be Stars! But in 1989, after we had shaken off the Soviet domination (and exchanged it for the euro-socialism...) Polish Parliament decided for a compromise: two arms of the Stars were shortened. So NOW they are not Stars. And they NEVER were neither brown nor red! They were made of feathers, as the rest of the Eagle's wings.
Janusz Korwin-Mikke, 16 May 1999

Interested in your comments. The white and red flag bearing the crowned eagle on a red shield in the centre of the upper white band is still indeed the state flag - flown normally by the President and by government buildings. I fly it myself on my consulate.
The crown was maintained on the form of eagle adopted by the Second Republic, with the rebirth of Polish independence, to symbolise that Poland was its own master and subject to no-one else. The Communist decision to dispense with the crown after World War II was universally unpopular in Poland.
With the birth of the Third Republic, after the fall of Communism, the crown was restored again as a symbol of full Polish sovereignty.
Mike Oborski, 16 Jul 1999

Primary Polish flag is white over red and was this since 1918. This one is without coat of arms. This flag was unchanged even during communist regime. Version with coat of arms is used by President of Poland. Is almost the same as used on Polish merchant ships. During communist regime Poland had no President but only State Board. They used flag with coat of arms but eagle had no crown. After 1989 Polish parliament reestablished crown. There was some minor changes with eagle's pattern, because right-wing politicians wanted to remove anything what could be connected with communist regime. They maximized because Polish eagle was unchanged since 1918.
Peter 'Mikolaj' Mikolajski, 18 Sept 2000


Polish state flag in Naples

[Polish state flag in Naples] image by Jarig Bakker, 22 Nov 2008

During my recent trip to Italy (October 2008) I discovered quite unusual gonfalon-like shape of the Polish state flag flying on the building of the Polish Consulate in Naples. Here I am enclosing a picture I took (beneath the flag to the left there is a plaque of the Polish Consulate reading in Polish and in Italian: "Consolato della Repubblica di Polonia".
I have never seen such shape of the Polish state flag and since it is used by a Polish diplomatic mission it musty be kind of officially recognized.
Mariusz Pazdziora, 21 Nov 2008