JONAS VON LENTHE
Rejected Designs For The European Flag
In December 1955, when the Council of Europe selected the design for the European flag consisting of twelve yellow stars arranged in a circle on a blue background, it simultaneously rejected over 150 designs that had been submitted since founding of the Council of Europe in 1949. The design drafts came from all over the world; however, most of them were submitted by men from West Germany and France. All the proposals were based on the assumption that European unity was the model for the future, though opinions differed as to which symbols might best unite Europe. The proposals ranged from the Swiss cross (Switzerland serving as a model for Europe here due to its peaceful multilingualism), to Strasbourgs coat of arms (a symbol of Franco-German reconciliation and European post-war achievements), to the star (a popular flag symbol and US reference), all the way to the abstract map (an attempt to situate Europe territorially). The proposals are not without their share of imperialist fantasies: in many cases as evidenced by the letters accompanying the design drafts - the flag becomes a symbol of the continents cultural superiority over the rest of the world, and thus a testimony to the colonialist society of Europe of that time.