Flags, Peace, and World War I

To commemorate today’s Veterans Day holiday, which arose out of World War I Armistice Day, here are a few flag-related items.

The Imperial Russian National Flag during World War I.
The Imperial Russian National Flag during World War I, according to Pete Loeser’s Flags of the World War I Era and the FOTW website. (There is some controversy regarding the appearance, use, and status of this flag; e.g., see Wikipedia.) 

The Whipple flag.
Popular historian Wayne Whipple designed this 48-star “American History Flag” in 1912, and the Dettra flag company produced it as a “peace flag” following the war. The 13 stars for the original states in the center are taken from the US Great Seal. The circle of 10 stars represents the 25 states admitted during the country’s first century.  The outside 10 stars represent states added from 1876 to 1912. Dave Martucci has a great writeup on this flag,  as does the Zaricor Flag Collection,  Pete Loeser, MetaFilter, and Blaine Whipple.

A 48-star US flag with a white border
A white-bordered US Peace Flag.  The Universal Peace Congress of 1891 proposed that each nation be represented by its national flag bordered in white “to signify non-violent conflict resolution”. The US version was used by various religious and peace organizations (e.g., by Christian Scientist Mary Baker Eddy, and by the Daughters of the American Revolution), and the white-border practice was endorsed at a 1913 Peace Conference convened by Tsar Nicolas II in the Hague.

From The Primary Plan Book by Marian M. George. Chicago: A. Flanagan Co., 1912.
From The Primary Plan Book by Marian M. George (Chicago: A. Flanagan Co., 1912).  An example of the use of the US Peace Flag in schools around the time of World War I.  Such use is also the basis for a story by Mary Stebbins Savage, The Peace Flag, which appeared in The Christian Register of April 1915. In it, Jesus appears to a dreaming boy scout and miraculously causes national flags to “blossom” into white bordered ones at His touch.

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