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Royal Yugoslavia (1918-1941)

Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (1918-1929) - Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1929-1941)

Last modified: 2015-05-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: yugoslavia | kingdom of serbs croats and slovenes |
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[National flag]

Flag of Yougoslavia - Image by Željko Heimer, 16 November 2003

See also:

Historical background - The 1922 and 1937 laws

In late 1918 a new state was formed by the just united Kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs that encompassed the southern Slavic lands of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. The local legislation was kept in use regionally, and it was not until 1922 that the question of the ensigns was resolved by the adoption of a legislation.

To the best of my knowledge, there are two laws passed on the ensigns and flags for use at sea during the existence of Yugoslavia before the Second World War. The first law was adopted in 1922 and the second law, less kown until now, was adopted in 1937. When the Kingdom of Yugoslavia was proclaimed in 1929 to replace the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, there was apparently no change in the 1922 flag law.

I suspect, however, that there must have been some other regulations that were adopted between 1922 and 1937, although I have not found reference to them anywhere. All the sources refer to the 1922 law only, and even the source that I have for the 1937 law does not mention anything else but the 1922 law. I suspect that there must have been some other regulation for the following reasons:
- the 1922 law determines a rank flag only for a rear admiral; at least two independant sources from the mid-1930s (reprints in Isaić [isa01] and Flaggenbuch [neu39]) show rank flags for three admirals ranks and a number of additional flags not included in 1922 law (e.g. the generals' flags)
- the 1937 law include those flags, but has too many differences in other flags to make it possible that the two sources above would have been based on it.

Željko Heimer, 16 November 2003

Merchant ensign

[Merchant ensign]

Merchant ensign of Yugoslavia - Image by Željko Heimer, 11 November 2003

The merchant ensign (literally "merchant flag", trgovačka zastava) is prescribed in Article 2 of the 1922 law. The flag is horizontally divided blue-white-red, with proportions 2:3.
The flag was used even before the law, but was formally introduced only with the 1921 so-called Vidovdan Constitution, as the national flag. The 1922 law prescribes it as the civil and state ensign.
The 1937 law did not change this flag, which was later used as the merchant ensign of Serbia and Montenegro.

Željko Heimer, 11 November 2003

Use of the Croatian flag

A photo shows a tricolour flag being hoisted in Zagreb in 1930 on Novinarski dom (Journalist's House), the building of the Croatian Journalists Association located on the Roosevelt Square (as it is named today). On the photo, taken in 1930 during the celebration of "reaching the roof", the two hoisted flags are tricolours, but it is hard to say weather they are Yugoslav or Croatian - it seems that the blue stripe on the period photos usually appears as lighter then red, it might indeed be the Croatian tricolour. On the other hand, in 1929 King Alexander's dictature forbid the individual national tricolours for the use of the Yugoslav national tricolour. Weather this was followed, is hard to say from this photo alone.

Željko Heimer, 3 January 2009

Half-staffing for Eastern

Article 6 of the "Directions for execution and implementation of the determinations of the Regulations on hoisting the flags on state, merchant and private ships of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia" (1934) prescribes the procedure of the use of the ensign at half staff when a death occurs on a ship and when a ship is carrying a dead. The second paragraph states:

During the Holy Week, from Thursday at noon until Saturday at noon, according the the local custom, the Harbour Master may order the half-staffing of the ensigns on all the ships in the harbour. Such an order is valid for all the ships and other vessels indiscriminately, and even for the ships under foreign flags.

Željko Heimer, 18 December 2004