‘Hostile Take-Over’: A Political History of the Red Flag

Socialist History - ISSN 0969-4331
Volume 2021 Number 59

‘Hostile Take-Over’: A Political History of the Red Flag
Hanno Balz pages 8-30


Today, no one would doubt that the colour red and the red flag symbolise socialism, communism and revolution. However, that we all agree on these symbolic qualities is a rather recent historical phenomenon, since for thousands of years the colour red (and even more so: purple) had been reserved for the ruling elites or members of the clergy in different parts of the world. This article examines how the red flag emerged as a revolutionary symbol, with particular attention given to the transcultural transfer of knowledge and argues that this eventually became a fierce struggle for recognition.

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To cite this article
Hanno Balz (2021) ‘Hostile Take-Over’: A Political History of the Red Flag, Socialist History, 2021(59), 8-30

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