How did the flag get the hole in 1956?

The Hungarian State Flag

According to the Hungarian Constitution, the flag of Hungary is a red-white-green tricolor. Red stands for strength, White for faithfulness, and Green for hope. However, the tricolor with the coat of arms in it is more or less used as the de facto national state flag. The Coat of Arms, including the Crown of St Stephen, were formally re-adopted as the "lesser arms" by in 1990, while their inclusion on the flag was made official under restricted circumstances in 1995.

The heraldic right side of the Coat of Arms is divided by red and white stripes seven times representing the seven Hungarian tribes that arrived in Transylvania in 896 A.D. and are called the "Árpád-stripes". The four white stripes represent the four main rivers of the historic Hungary: Duna, Tisza, Dráva, Száva. On the heraldic left side, the three green hills represent the three main mountains of the historic Hungary: Tátra, Fátra, Mátra. After 1920, only theMátra range remained in Hungary. On the hilltop, from an open crown, the "apostolic" double cross emerges which was awarded by pope II. Sylvester to Saint Stephen, the first Hungarian king (1000 A.D.), in recognition of his mission to turn the pagan Hungarians to Christianity.

After the illegal communist takeover in 1948, the hated Rákosi regime established a new flag, replacing millenia-old Hungarian symbols with the Soviet-style communist red star and hammer.

One of the first acts of defiance by Hungarian Freedom Fighters in 1956 was to tear out the communist symbols, leaving a "Hole in the Flag." Others used the Kossuth Arms which symbolized Hungarian democratic aspirations as seen in the earlier struggle in 1848. These Kossuth Arms would appear on the sides of tanks fighting on the side of a free Hungary.

After the brutal repression of the Hungarian revolt, a new puppet government was established under Bela Kadar who established a new flag, with a slightly "lighter" Soviet flavor.

In 1989, the communist regime finally collapsed for good. The Hungarian tri-color and the historic coat of arms are back.

"October 23, 1956, is a day that will live forever in the annals of free men and nations. It was a day of courage, conscience and triumph. No other day since history began has shown more clearly man’s eternally unquenchable desire to be free, whatever the odds against success, whatever the sacrifice required." – Senator John F. Kennedy, later USA President, Jan.1961-Nov.1963, on the first anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution.

AHF's work regarding the tragic events nearly 50 years ago, dates back to the early days of the revolution and thereafter assisting tens of thousands of refugees. In 1956 the American Hungarian Federation activated the second Hungarian Relief program for the refugees of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, providing $512,560.00. With the support of the American Hungarian Federation, over 65,000 refugees arrived in the USA. Get involved and help us continue our tradition of helping our community!
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"State" Flag
The official Hungarian Flag
Official Flag
The Rakosi communist flag
Rákosi Flag
1948 - 1956
The revolutionary flag of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution - a "Lyukas Zaszlo"
Revolutionary Flag
with cut-out Hole 1956
Revolutionary Flag of 1956 Hungary
Revolutionary Flag
with Kossuth Arms
The Kadar flag of post-1956 communist Hungary

Kádár Flag
1956 - 1989


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