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United Nations flags used before 1945

Last modified: 2011-04-01 by zoltán horváth
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[United Nations flag - before end of WW2] 
image by Peter Loeser, 3 July 2010
based on a photo by Andries van der Graaf, 29 January 2010

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About the flag

This flag provided by Andries van der Graaf measures 125x168 cm. It has a UN-like blue field; in center a lying part of a chain of 9 links (the outer links broken) superimposed by a standing twig of 13 leaves, all gold. The twig is c1/3 flag height; the chain is c1/2 flag length.
Jarig Bakker, 29 January 2010

This flag is exactly the same as one of the small pin flags that appears on the bottom of an old World War II Pin Map. The flag that appears as one of the flags of the United Nations on the bottom of the map looks exactly like the one you picture, except that the field of the flag is pale green instead of blue, but that may be due to the aging of the paper. The whole map itself is also showing signs of discoloration. Five of these flags have the olive branch on them and five do not, but all are listed as "Provisional Flags of the United Nations." I hope this helps, you may be able to check with the UN to see if this is correct.
John Wild, 5 June 2010

Wouldn't this flag map have to be post-World War II, since the United Nations wasn't formed until after the war was over? However the concept of it being a early variant of a proposed UN map is interesting.
Pete Loeser, 5 June 2010

The term "United Nations" was used as a synonym for "Allies" as early as January 1, 1942, and it was commonly assumed that there would be a formal post-war organization, so I think it very plausible that the map was indeed a war-time production. See Declaration by the United Nations.
Ned Smith, 5 June 2010

As I was doing a little researching on this I ran across the "United Nations Honor Flag 1943-1948", so obviously Ned is correct.
Pete Loeser, 5 June 2010

The United Nations in the form we know it today was not founded until after the war, but "United Nations" was also the formal term used for the Allies during the war, coined by Franklin D. Roosevelt and formalized in the "Declaration of United Nations" signed at the Arcadia Conference in early 1942. It was the members of this body who met at San Francisco in 1945 to write the UN Charter, creating the UN we know today.
Joseph McMillan, 6 June 2010

I don't know if it is relevant to this flag, but during the last half of World War II, the term "United Nations" was often used to refer to the coalition of nations at war with the "Axis." Of course, this usage vanished at the end of the war, although for a few years it was not uncommon to use the term "United Nations Organization (UNO) " - in French "Organisation des Nations Unis" - for the formal organization.
Norm Martin, 6 June 2010