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Christian-Social Union (Bavaria, Germany)

christlich-soziale union, csu

Last modified: 2012-12-01 by pete loeser
Keywords: christlich-soziale union | csu |
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[Christian-Social Union, horizontal variant (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:5 Image by Marcus Schmöger, 29 Mar 2001

Horizontal flag used since c1998

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     The CSU (Christlich-Soziale Union or Christian Social Union) is the conservative party in Bavaria. It is the sister-party of the CDU that is active in the rest of Germany. Although it is its own party with its own leader (from 1961-1988 this was Franz-Josef Strauß, 1988-1999 Theo Waigel, since 1999 Edmund Stoiber) and its own symbols, it cooperates with the CDU. In the Bundestag (federal parliament) the CDU and CSU constitute a joint parliamentary group.
     The CSU was founded in 1946 by conservative Christian groups. Since 1946 it is the largest party in Bavaria and except for a short period in the 1950s (1954-1957) the Bavarian Ministerpräsident (Prime Minister) has been a member of the CSU. Since 1957 the CSU rules uninterruptedly in Bavaria, most of the time with a comfortable majority in the parliament and no need for a coalition. In the federal government the CSU took part:

  • In the coalitions with the CDU, FDP and (for some time) smaller parties from 1949-1966.
  • In the grand coalition with the CDU and SPD 1966-1969.
  • In the CDU-CSU-FDP coalition under Chancellor Kohl from 1982-1998.
  • From 1969 to 1982 and since 1998 it has been in federal opposition.
     In federal politics it is usually viewed as slightly more conservative than its CDU counterpart. In Bavaria however, the basis for its success is the combination of a conservative, traditional, rural image with a reformist, modernist approach. This combination has been coined in the slogan Laptop und Lederhose, laptop and leather trousers (a traditional form of Bavarian trousers). As it is, in a certain sense, a regionalist party, it is decidedly federalist and against any centralist tendency coming from Berlin. This could be seen for instance in a debate about culture politics last year between the Bavarian Minister Zehetmair and the Federal Minister Naumann. Its regional approach leads to the (implicit) claim, that Bavaria, its landscapes and mountains, its beer and beer gardens, its castles and Oktoberfest, has actually been invented and made by the CSU.
Marcus Schmöger, 29 Mar 2001

The current vertical flag is the one we have discussed a few years ago. However, one should not forget the old flag versions, as they are obviously still in use (although not officially). During the current party congress one delegate waved an old (1974-98) horizontal flag.
Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung 19/20.7.2008 p. 45.
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 19 Jul 2008

Current CSU Vertical Flags 1998/2003

[CSU current (2003) flag] 2003 Version    [CSU new flag] 1998 Version
5:2 Images by Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 25 Nov 2004/7 Mar 2009

Vertical flag used since c1998 - Variant used since 2003
(Placed besides each other to illustrate blue color difference)

Arnold Rabbow (in his publications Rabbow 1965 and Rabbow 1970) does not mention an own flag of the CSU. However, since about the 1970's the CSU uses a new logo (which can be seen at its website). It consists of the 'CSU' letters and a stylized yellow lion and a single blue lozenge. Lion and lozenge have been symbols in Bavarian coats-of-arms for a long time. The symbol is also used in party flags. These are (from top to bottom) pale blue-white-pale green with continuous transitions; the writing 'CSU' is on top, the lion-and-lozenge symbol near the bottom. The most common version of this flag (used for example at the party headquarters in Munich or during party conventions) is a vertical flag (higher than wide), this comes in two sizes (200 500 cm and 80 200 cm). The 'normal' horizontal flag has a size of 200 335 cm, but is rarely used.
Sources: - Rabbow 1965; Rabbow 1970; CSU website; My own observations at the party headquarters in Munich; Photos of party conventions in the Internet; and letter from the public relations shop that delivers flags to the CSU, including drawings, sizes and prices of the party flags.
Marcus Schmöger, 29 Mar 2001

     Yesterday the new logo of German (Bavarian) party CSU was published. The lion, the bow and the letters were modified to make it "more harmonic", like the general secretary Markus Söder said.
     The youth organisation of CSU, the Junge Union JU Bayern, will have a new logo and flag next year. Officially it is not a part of the CSU, but a separate party.
J. Patrick Fischer, 20 Nov 2004

     The logos can be downloaded from the CSU website. The flag is now available at the CSU shop as well (for 156 Euro). I have to say, that I am "very" disappointed about this new "flag". The CSU had one of the better party flag designs in Germany, and if this flag" really becomes the main flag, and replaces the older design, it is certainly the worst one (of the major parties at least).
     Compare the old flag (originally from 1974, modified in 1998) with this new one. The new one is just a plain logo on bed sheet, and as the logo is horizontal, but the flag vertical, the logo had to be turned. The effect is the text can only be read if you turn your head as well! The old flag more prominently showed the heraldic symbols of the logo (lion and lozenge), the new one is focused on the text parts. Inscriptions should not be used on flags! This "flag" plainly shows again that flag design is not just putting a logo on a plain field. Obviously even the green "crescent" escaped the eye of the "designer", as no one seems to have imagined that a lying curve looks like a crescent if turned by 90º.
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 25 Nov 2004

The CSU, the main ruling party in Bavaria, lost its long-time majority last year, forcing it into a coalition with the FDP).

  1. In front of the convention building (Dreiländerhalle, Passau): Several flagstaffs with the current (2003) version of the party flag. However, it was interesting to see, that the flags displayed differed somewhat from each other: one flag showed a light blue (as shown on FOTW), the others a slightly, but discernibly darker shade of blue.
  2. Flags beside the podium: on both sides there were three flagstaffs with outrigger flags (Germany, CSU, Bavaria). There was a mechanism that made them appear flying a little bit, although the outrigger mechanism, of course, prevented them from freely flying.
  3. Flags used by supporters: There were not many flags being waved, as far as I could see. The only one was the vertical blue variant of 2002.
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 7 Mar 2009

CSU Election Campaign Flag and Pennant 2002/2003

[2002/2003 election campaign-flag] CSU Election Flag    [2002/2003 election campaign-flag] CSU Election pennant
Images by Marcus Schmöger, 15 Nov 2003

Flags used during 2002-2003 Campaigns

During the 2002/2003 election campaigns the CSU logo was used in a slightly modified form, i.e. with a green round figure beneath it. This also found its way to the flags, at least to the (usually short-lived) paper flags and pennants. So the "current" paper flag and pennant show a background with several "smooth" transitions between blue shades, the logo variant, and the inscription: näher am Menschen (closer to the human). The paper flag additionally shows the WWW address: "".
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 15 Nov 2003

CSU Vertical Flag (blue variant) 2002

[2002 vertical blue variant] Image by Marcus Schmöger, 15 Nov 2003

Flag introduced in 2002

An actual cloth flag variant has also been introduced in 2002 (only in vertical form). This shows a plain blue background with the logo variant, and at the bottom the lion&lozenge. There are also some "smooth" colour transitions around the logo and around the bottom lozenge. As far as I see this flag is only supplementing the 1998 flag variant that we have at FOTW-ws already.
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 15 Nov 2003

CSU Vertical Flag c1974-c1998

[Christian-Social Union c.1974-c.1998 (Bavaria, Germany)] 5:2 Image by Marcus Schmöger, 29 Mar 2001

Flag used c.1974-c.1998

     Up to 1974 the CSU obviously did not use its own flags. During party conventions there were only Bavarian (lozenge) and German flags on display. In the early seventies a new advertisement agency (Team '70) took over the task of advertising for the CSU. It created a corporate design based mainly on the CSU logo (lion and lozenge) that has been used up to now, with minor modifications. In 1974 this was used for the first time also in flags.
     The flags from 1974 to about 1998 were horizontally striped blue-green-white-green (1:1:9:1 in the case of the horizontal flag) showing the lion-lozenge logo and the black writing 'CSU' in the white stripe. The colours had been defined to Pantone 375 (green), Pantone 2995 (blue) and HKS 3 (yellow). My GIFs show very close colours to these. The two versions of the flag were a hanging flag and a normal horizontal flag. These flags were used frequently in front of the CSU headquarters, in front of the buildings where party conventions were held and during demonstrations. There was even an election poster in the late seventies and early eighties showing the CSU flag together with the German flag.
     New versions of these flags appeared around 1998 (the first evidence being the 1998 party convention). These show a similar pattern to the older versions. However, the colours of the flags were now (from top to bottom) pale blue-white-pale green with continuous transitions and the 'CSU' was now blue instead of black. The older flags are kept in stock, though, and probably will be used for some time.
     Additional sources: Flags (old and new variants) kept in stock at the "CSU shop"; Material kept in the archive of the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung, especially photos of party conventions, catalogues with advertisement material, slides of election posters.
Marcus Schmöger, 18 May 2001

CSU Flag - Horizontal Variant c1974-c1998

[Christian-Social Union, horizontal variant c.1974-c.1998 (Bavaria, Germany)] 3:5 image by Marcus Schmöger, 18 May 2001

Flag used c1974-c1998

One flag of the CSU showed the CSU logo (lion & lozenge) on a plain white background and the letters "CSU" on a white background, framed with a horizontal blue and green stripe on the top, and a green stripe on bottom as shown here.

CSU Paper Flag 1980s

[1980's paper flag] 3:5 Image by Marcus Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

Flag used in the 1980s

Beside cloth flags, German parties very frequently use little paper flags for advertisement. One paper flag of the CSU, used in the 1980s, simply showed the CSU logo (lion & lozenge) on a plain white background.
Source: my recent article in the Flaggenkurier [scm03]
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

CSU "Line Pair" Flags
Wimpelkette (flags used in a line)

[Flag used in a line]
Image by Marcus Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

Flags used in the 1980s

Another frequent flag variant for advertisement are little hanging pennants, usually used in a line (Wimpelkette). The variant used in the 1980s showed the lion & lozenge in blue on a white background (on the first pennant) and the blue inscription "CSU" on a white background (on the second pennant). These pennants always came in pairs.
Source: my recent article in the Flaggenkurier [scm03]
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

CSU Table Pennant

[Table pennants] Image by Marcus Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

Flag used in the 1980s

Last variant I want to mention are little table pennants and table banners, that are very popular with all clubs and associations here in Germany. The CSU table pennant/banner of the 1980s showed the black inscription "CSU" over the lion & lozenge logo (in yellow and blue), on a white background, with a pale green border all around the flag.
Source: my recent article in the Flaggenkurier [scm03]
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

European People's Party Flag
Europäische Volkspartei

[EVP-flag] Image by Marcus Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

Flag used in 1979, possibly in 1984

     As the CSU (and its sister party, the CDU) are members of the European umbrella organization of the Christian-Democratic parties, the European People's Party (Europäische Volkspartei - EVP), there was also a variant of the CSU flag with the EVP logo of the time instead of the CSU logo. This EVP logo showed 12 green stars and the inscription Europäische Volkspartei (in black) surrounding a big green letter "E".
     This flag was only used as a hanging flag, as far as I know, during the election campaign for the European Parliament in 1979 and perhaps also in 1984. Since then the flags have been kept in storage, and most probably I was the first to touch and unfurl them for nearly 20 years.
Source: My recent article in the Flaggenkurier [scm03]
Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 11 Nov 2003

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