Weekly Flag Challenge: Discussion & Entries

I won.
The Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Dixieland

Black for the free black people who joined the Black Emancipation Army.

Cross for faith, around which the Emancipation Army was organized.

Wheat for a country of free, small farmers the revolutionaries envisioned, and its 22 grains the 22 states* that formed the Dixieland ITTL. View attachment 621698
In a world in which the American Civil War ended in a bloody draw, and the Confederacy, through sheer luck and a string of wise decisions, preserved its independence, and even managed to conquer and annex California. The Treaty of Washington was signed in 1865, to acknowledge the South's independence, after which occupied Washington DC was returned to a humiliated Union.

Over time, the United States gradually lost its interest in reunifying the country and abolish slavery. People in the US, the CS, the whole of the Americas as well as in the old world started to consider the Dixieland a whole different nation vis-a-vis the "Yankeeland".

The peculiar institution of slavery, on the other hand, was not abolished by some kind southern veteran, as per often suggested in other AH novels. Instead, it persisted throughout the late 19th century, and even found a new life in the mines of California.

Contrary to popular belief, resistance to the CSA did die down by 1870. The legendary Newton Knight, often thought to be immortal, in reality succumbed to his gunshot wound and was then buried by his friends while escaping CS pursuers. A runaway slave bandit named Saul was captured alone in the Appalachians in 1869, and was hanged in Richmond. It was not until the 20th century did people, blacks as well as poor whites, started to rebel against the CS system.

The Dixie-Mexican War was a quick conquest, when the entire nothern Mexico was annexed by the CS, but it was also when famous bandit/freedom fighter Marcus Garvey found a potential ally.

TTL Garvey was a much more nuanced and pragmatic man. He called for the overthrow of the CS system and its platations. And in its place, a country of self-sustaining white and black farmers. Wheat-farming would be the prefered lifestyle, in contrast to cottons-farming and mining, which is associated with slavery.

The incoming World Wars One hit CS society hard. when independent white farmers returned from military service in northern Mexico, spending years fighting Pencho Villa's guerilla tactic, they often found their land annexed by Slave-owners' estates. Many joined the already-present black guerrilla fighters in the Rocky Mountains.

In 1921, a provisional revolutionary government was declared for the new “republic” in the Rocky mountains. Would it survive? Or would it be pacified like other revolutionaries?

*Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Arizona, North California, Central California, Baja California , Sonora, Chihuahua, and Sierra.

Since @Slartibartfast seems to be away, I’d go ahead with a new challenge.
Flag Challenge #241: Wish we were the good guys.

Create a flag for an AH state, appearing around the same time frame and space of an OTL state.

That OTL state must be considered morally flawed or evil by standard of the time, and the TTL state that you created in its place doesn’t need to be perfect, but it must not possess the most flawed/evil traits of that OTL state. They can be similar or dissimilar in other aspects.

This challenge is NOT meant to defend the evil actions of that particular OTL state. You could, for instance, create a non-slavery CSA (and its flag), but you could NOT claim that the OTL CSA wasn’t for slavery.

Submissions: Open
Submissions close: February 17th
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Royal Demesne of the Congo
Demesne royal du Congo

"The Congo was first claimed at the Berlin Conference by Leopold II of Belgium. His front organization, the International Association for the Exploration and Civilization of Central Africa, later renamed simply as the International Association of the Congo or Association internationale du Congo (AIdC), was ostensibly created for humanitarian and altruistic reasons, demonstrating to the world that the king's desire for a colony was purely benevolent. Of course, by many sources, this was a lie.

Instead, Leopold believed a colony was essential for the prosperity of a state, and when the Belgian government failed to succeed in gaining one, he took it upon himself as a private citizen. The AIdC convinced the world to let him have his wish, and he gained control of the Congo in totality. It was not a colony of Belgium, but the private property of Leopold as an individual, giving him total control. Some believed this would help his supposedly benevolent aims, as his pure intentions would go uncorrupted by the materialism of government...

...Without doubt, the AIdC and the entirety of the Belgian Congo were in fact created not for the benefit of Africans and instead for the purposes of exploitation and profit. But while Leopold II surely knew this, no one seems to have told Leopold III..."

- Fools and Freaks: A History of European Monarchy by Regina Farnsworth​

"As a young boy, Leopold almost died a number of times. Once he fell into a pond and gained pneumonia. Then he caught an infection in his hand from cutting himself climbing a tree, resulting in its amputation. After that, his ship sank while visiting the United States. And upon his arrival in Belgium, he was nearly trampled by horses, losing several teeth in the incident. The then Duke of Brabant never lost his own earnest desire for adventure despite being so accident prone. In fact, he became so interested that he made several visits to French and British colonies in Africa purely to see somewhere new (It is worth noting that he nearly died on 4 separate occasions during these visits due to snake bites, bug bites, and a governor's spear collection)...

...Here the Duke of Brabant fell in love with the Dark Continent. He became an active member of the International Association for the Exploration and Civilization of Central Africa, keeping it going when it seemed his father was abandoning it. When it transitioned to the International Association of the Congo (AIdC) it would the prince who became the leader in his father's stead.

When the Berlin Conference ended, Leopold II happily gave the responsibility of managing the 'property' to his beloved son and heir. Taking to it with gusto, Leopold III began to focus on building and improving the colony. Unbeknownst to him, a number of 'problem solving' done by the colonial army known as the Force Publique were atrocities ordered by his father to help his son. Leopold II believed managing the Congo would be beneficial for helping his heir become a better king for Belgium, a sentiment shared by Queen Marie Henriette, who unlike her husband had a greater deal of compassion for the African people. Not nearly so much as her son, but enough that she supported his endeavors and famously bred the Congolese Warmblood, a breed of horse adapted to maneuvering through the harsh terrain of the Congo Basin..."

- The Life of Leopold III by Jean-Baptiste Goffin​

"Leopold heard of his father's death while in the Congo. On his longest expedition yet, he had left as cleanshaven young man and returned with a beard to rival his father's, and his infamous braided hair. Ascending the throne as Leopold III, he maintained the Congo Free State, and now with full control he began to truly shape it as he wished. He had left for his expedition after a fight with his father over the rights of Africans born in the Congo, and it was still on his mind upon his return...

...Legally this made every 'citizen' of the Congo Free State a ward of Leopold III and the royal family. Supposedly what Leopold dreamed of doing was creating a 'United Kingdom of Belgium and the Congo,' as he had come to see no difference in value or intellect between the African and European races, though he did firmly believe in the separate nature of those races, and strongly opposed racemixing. In 1899, the second year of his reign, he would formally illegalize it in the Congo, and forbade any bastard children of mixed heritage to immigrate to Belgium. But in the same year he also signed the Declaration of the Equality of Subjects, which ensured the same legal rights of Belgians to all Congolese subjects of the Belgian monarchy...

...As this game of political intrigue progressed, desperate Africans from Rhodesia, Angola, and Uganda began to flee to the Congo. Leopold III welcomed them happily, and offered them his protection, while also funneling more and more white settlers in too. Most of these white settlers weren't even Belgian, but were people from abroad who enjoyed the incentives the monarch provided.

Leopold was not so foolish as to allow these foreigners to plot against him or aid his rivals, however. The Force Publique remained run by native Belgians only, though it did accept native Congolese into its ranks in segregated units in 1901. Additionally, non-Belgian settlers were made to live in mixed communities, ensuring that French or Dutch would have to be used as languages of communication or require reliance on local authorities..."

- The Greatest Game: Europe's Struggle for Africa by Dr. Benjamin B. Buchanan​

"It is a minor, but an amusing anecdote for how the Congo names its currency. While the Belgian franc remains in use, the large coins used especially in the interior are far more commonly considered the currency. Originally, these coins were created from cheap metals as a sort of bill of credit, a placeholder currency representing large amounts of francs.

King Leopold III authorized these coins while infrastracture was being constructed, as it could be months before the francs from someone's accounts could be brought in from a larger city like Leopoldville. Of course, government officials needed a design to ensure only coins they issued were counted. Having lost his hand as a young boy, the good King Leopold III used a black hand defaced by a monogram as his personal sigil while serving as administrator of the Congo. Upon taking the throne, many of his documents dealing with the Congo still had a stamp with a hand containg his new royal monogram. This sigil is what began to be stamped on the credit coins.

It is for this reason that the currency is called Mains congolaises or Congolese Hands..."

- Prof. Thomas J. Klein, Audio lecture on the Belgian Congo​

"It was in 1898 that this great body was first created. King Leopold III, God bless his soul, created the Congo Advisory Committee to aid in his management of this region. Though legally a private committee of the International Association of the Congo, it recruited natives into its ranks and utilized expert knowledge to guide development. It rapidly became the legislative body we recognize it a today. This was no accident! Leopold III was a visionary, and intended this to be the case. He is the reason that freedom of speech, of the press, and of faith are protected. He is the reason that the equity of race was recognized. He is the reason the Congo remains the most prosperous and stable region of Africa even today. Some claim that no country avoided European colonialism, not even the great Aethiopia. But this is incorrect. For the Congo has never suffered true colonialism! We have always been benefited, aided, and assisted by Belgium and by the royal family which owns our lands. To call this so crass a term as colonialism spits on the great Leopold's legacy!

Were our labor laws always so fair? No. But they were some of the best in Africa under Leopold's reign. Even a harvester on a rubber plantation, if he suffered loss of limb, received compensation, and wrongful treatment could be sent to the King's personal lawyers and judges to be rectified. Not all knew how to utilize these systems of justice, but they were created and brought to the Congo in a way that cannot be called imperialist by any stretch!

Even after 1919, when the Royal Family returned to Belgium after finding safehaven here during the horrid War, has benevolence continued to define the relationship between Belgium and the Congo. When Leopold III renamed the Congo Free State into the Royal Demesne, some called it a step backward. I do not! For in recognizing the Congo as the personal lands of the king, Leopold III claimed even greater responsibility for us. Rights increased, equity improved, and a greater growth of industry and the economy was not seen for another forty years! I am honored to become the next overseer of these lands, the first of African blood. I am honored that Her Majesty, Queen Clémentine, who is herself the first woman to hold the throne of Belgium, has given me the honor and privilege to be a custodian for this country, which is proudly her property! Let this begin yet further prosperity for both Belgians and Congolese! Let us continue to be a beacon of liberty, justice, and civilization in Africa! Vers l'avenir!"

- Excerpt, inaugural speech of Félix Albert Koyagialo, Executor of the Royal Estate, Chair of the Congo Advisory Committee, 1972​

"The flag of the Royal Demesne of the Congo was created by Leopold III officially. Unofficially, it is the brainchild of his son, the future King Érasme-Louis I, who greatly disliked the plain banner of the Congo. The new flag aided in the creation of a Congolese identity, and became a symbol of the Congo that was important in times of uncertainty...

...The yellow star represents the prosperous future, while the blue symbolizes liberty. The white wavy line is for the Zaire River, as well as representing peace. The black on bottom represents fairness and equality.

In addition to this basic and official interpretation, we do know how the flag was designed. The base design came from the arms of the Congo Free State first instated by Leopold II. From here is derived the line wavy and the star in the canton. However, it would also come to represent the region's colonial history and founding by the AIdC, which still uses the yellow star on a blue field as it flag as a modern political party. The use of black on the bottom represents how the Belgian royal family directly owns the territory. A gold lion on black is a key symbol of their arms, and so the black is the 'land' within which the Belgian 'lion' dwells and rules..."

- The Little Book of Flags, 19th Edition
EDIT: If it wasn't clear, I have created 'good guy' variant of the Congo Free State by preventing the death of Leopold, Duke of Brabant, the 9 year old son of Leopold II. Leopold II and his queen continue their marriage far happier, his son becomes an adventurer who falls in love with Africa, and rather than a horrible place of suffering and slavery, the Congo is a place of racial equality, fairness, and native-controlled development and prosperity, as well as peaceful coexistence with white colonists. While not perfect by any stretch and still problematic in a number of ways, by the standards of the times it is a radically liberal attempt at ruling an African colony and the result is a prosperous and stable dominion, albeit one with a vast personality cult surrounding the Belgian Royal Family.
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The Arabian Sultanate or Hashemi Arabia


The Sultanate has its origins in the failed Arab Revolt during WW1 that led to the Sharif of Mecca Hussein bin Ali becoming King of Hejaz following removal of the Ottomans.
His sons involved themselves with the Rashidi-Saudi feud in the Nejd and with British support established control of Riyadh then the entire Nejd.
Although initially supported by and supporting the Ikhwan militants a ferocious revolt by them in 1932 soured the king and his sons against militant Islam (well, their type anyway) and by the end of WW2 having backed the Allies he was able to forge the kingdoms into the current Sultanate with strong democratic principles and high standards of living.

[Note: no specific POD in mind except perhaps someone more diplomatic and foresighted among the Britons gains him their continued support]
The Free Volk's Reich of Germany
Freie Volksreich Deutschland


"It was the greatest and grimmest irony that created the modern Volksreich. The first inklings of its creation began in 1934. Ernst Röhm was at the time the leader of the "Storm Detachment" (Sturmabteilung or SA), the premier paramilitary group for the Nazi Party, which had increasingly transformed into the military arm of the party's radicals. Tensions had been building between him and Heinrich Himmler, leader of the Security Squadron (Schutzstaffel or SS), a rival paramilitary group that acted as the Party's internal security and surveillance agency. Röhm learned by mere chance that Himmler was plotting to frame him. Röhm was able to convince the Führer to allow him to investigate the Security Squadron and prove this conspiracy. There they found forged documents that were still unfinished, trying to falsely incriminate Röhm as being a French-backed traitor.

Himmler was humiliated by this, and while the Führer merely put an end to the plot and left Himmler with a slap on the wrist, trust in the Security Squadron was gone. Hitler began to rely on Himmler less and less, but Röhm's relationship with Hitler continued to sour. The SA was starting to anger the German military, becoming more powerful each passing month. Führer Hitler was uneasy about losing the Reichswehr's trust, continuing to try and jungle the Reichswehr, SA, and SS, alongside the Nazi Party's non-military members as well. Turning against the SA over time, Führer Hitler still stayed Röhm's friend, but there more and more strain on that friendship. To appease Himmler and the ever more agitated party, Hitler directed all anger on one enemy: Jews. The Jewish people of Germany, their rights already restricted, suffered even greater persecution, culminating in the Rotglasnacht or the Night of Red Glass. The SS was hungry for blood, and were sent out in the first of several state-sponsored pogroms in February of 1936. The horrid event resulted in the death of nearly 200 Jews, the destruction of businesses, synagogues, and homes. The events name came from when a group of Jews attempted to stop the destruction of their synagogue, only for the SS troopers to open fire. A survivor wrote that, from within the synagogue, it was almost like a scarlet snow had blown inside as the bullets sent in finely shattered glass and blood.

This event became the straw that broke the camel's back. Numerous officers, politicians, and private citizens from being critical of Nazism to directly hostile, with some loyalist even becoming filled with doubt. Beyond the atrocities, the economy was being made for war, and the rights of workers were being destroyed. Small Jewish businesses and craftsmen were sucked up by corporations, triggering economic consolidation in predominantly Jewish areas. This greater angered the likes of the Strasser Brothers and Röhm himself. 1937, the SS made another attempt to destroy the SA, which had become a haven of dissent. A widescale conspiracy to murder much of the SA leadership went into action, but failed. And Germany was plunged into war..."
~ German History vol. 4: 1918 to 1984 by Odette Peterson

"We were living in strange times. Strange alliances were made. The Reichswehr had become disgusted by the Nazis, but so had the SA. While we hated each other, we also needed each other. People forget that the Himmlerite Coup was also looking to kill many members of the military. They did kill some! They killed von Bredow and Beck, and were on their way to kill others.

So we came together. Didn't like it. Didn't like Röhm. We all knew he was a schw*le but that was irrelevant. It was us against Himmler. Well, Hitler at first. The fighting was brutal. Of course we were the enemy at first. Hitler said so, and everyone believed it unless they already hated the Nazis. But after six months of fighting in the streets, of making cities surrender or get shelled, we were starting to build peace. Hitler was reaching out to us, Röhm was leveraging their friendship...

Then boom! Hitler is dead. And Himmler says Röhm did it, tells everyone Röhm f*cks men, that all of us siding with him were homosexual Jew-blooded communists. But Himmler was an idiot. We had men on the inside too, from the Abwehr. They got enough evidence for our counter propaganda. Still took another four months before could kill Himmler though. Then we had Heydrich and Goebbels, but those eunuchs made it easy by trying to kill each other. Huh... We were a laughing stock around the world back then. The Italians said we had failed as fascists, the Soviets said we had failed as socialists, and the French just couldn't stop their f*cking laughing as German Reich neutered itself.

But we came out better afterwards. In 1938, a year after the Himmlerite Coup, a new Reich was able to stand tall. I got to stand over Goebbels and spit on him that day, right before they killed him. Me, a mischling, with my new medal on my chest. An iron cross with a Judenstern right on it. He was so angry when he saw it on me, still angry when they shot him. But I just couldn't stop smiling!"
~ Interview of Werner Goldberg, 1978

"Röhm's ascension as Führer was very very tenuous, you see? So he starts doing even more of these reforms to appease his base. Now that he's in charge, he gets rid of the SS, and even ends the Gestapo and promises greater freedom for loyal Germans. Not for non-Germans, of course, but he did end pogroms and even started weakening the Nuremburg Laws, mostly because his most powerful allies, Hans Oster and Henning von Tresckow, demanded it. He also ended persecution of homosexuals, and started working Jutta Rüdiger. Rüdiger was leader of the League of German Girls, a position awarded for siding against Himmler. We know now that she was possibly a lesbian too, and working with Röhm she promoted the new 'Volkssozialist Woman'.

Alright lets review. So Jews? Because of Oster and because of the Juden Brigades that helped in the war, many rights are restored. Women? No more housewives, now it's time to be an equal partner to men and help use femininity to build a better Volkist-Socialist future, but still living in separate spheres. Homosexuals? Definitely not acceptable to be one, but if you didn't ask, no one would tell. Out of sight, out of mind, y'know? And with all this, Aryanism is on the way out too, mostly because Himmler was so big on it. Being Aryan started being more... spiritual, I guess you could say. Blood mattered, but non-Aryans could 'exemplify Aryan-Germanic ideals' and honorary Aryan awards were handed out like candy.

Röhm does stand his ground though. He had become real closer with the Strasser Brothers, and he gave them control of the economy. Strasserism was the key tenet of the German economy. A guild system, the new genossenschaftkammer. Haha, don't worry just write down Co-op Chamber of the Reichstag. Gregor Strasser was out to break down the capitalist system, though he was made to change his tune about labelling any groups of people, and by that we mean Jews, as being inherently capitalist. And so the 'producerist' economy was able to take shape pretty quickly, helped a lot by the German economy being demolished by civil war.

But while Röhm and the Strassers were the face of the hip new Nationalvolkssozialismus, or as we call it Volkist-Socialism, Volkism, or Folk-Socialism, and presented a strong face, their coalition was a house of cards. You had Waldeck-Pyrmont and von Stauffenberg's December Plot that wanted to restore power to the nobility, you had communist, democrats, Old Nazis, the Young Germany Movement. Really it wasn't a shock when Röhm resigned for 'health reasons' in 1942. And that gives us the next Führer: Hans Oster."
~ Jared Davenport, History teacher at Gainsbrook Secondary

"As I mentioned at the start of this area, the Oster führership is when the Reich finally changed its name, finalized its flag, and embraced the political changes we know today. The Free Volksreich was one of several terms tossed around during the civil war to describe the regions of Germany held by the SA-Reichswehr alliance. Oster chose to formalize it. Unofficially, he himself wasn't a fan of Volkist-Socialism, but he also knew he had a war coming and a people in need of unity. So the ideology continued to grow, the Strassers' influenced calmed by an embracing of their economic ideas. Some people have labeled Volkism as a sort of liberal fascism, and that's not inaccurate! Oster did away with the Nuremburg laws, and began to enforce a belief in the essential liberties of all citizens, in exchange for their loyalty, of course.

Now the symbol of the Volksreich, and indeed Volkist-Socialism was always on the flag. Or, rather it was after it got created. At first the Strassers had their hammer and sword banner for their militias, and Röhm had the SA banners remade in the Strasserite inversion of Nazi colors. The symbol we have today reflects how Volkism was created; the lightning bolt of the SA crossed with the Sword of the Strasserists, topped by a Swastika. Röhm's reforms built a basis for Oster's greater liberalization, the Strassers' economics laid the foundation for the war economy, and the fervent nationalism and loyalty of Hitlerian Nazism over Himmlerite Nazism was modified to unite the country. Oster chose to add the red and golden stripes, to connect the Volksreich to both the Interwar Republic and the liberal Revolution of 1848. This made the flag into one that truly encompassed the new Germany.

Oster's leadership, even in making this flag, was critical for winning the War against the Franco-Soviet Alliance. His bold choice to allow for a national plebiscite to reaffirm his führership set a standard that made Germans loyal and once again eager to fight for the Fatherland. While the führership is for life, even today, the appointed deputy führer must face the Großvolksabstimmung to confirmed as führer. Per Oster's own recommendations, if the deputy führer or any challenger not gain a full majority of the vote, two highest winners must face a second round of voting. Of course, this has so far only happened once, when Hans Scholl almost bested deputy führer Schindler after Führer Plagge's death. Of course, Scholl would then succeed Schindler. We are actually building a Scholl wing with the patronage of führer Kohl. It should open next winter!"
~ Angela Brandt, Tour Guide at the National Museum of the Führers of the Volksreich

((Helloooo! I figured I'd take the most... difficult route and try to make a semi-plausible good guy Nazi Germany. Mostly engineering a Nazi civil war, then having someone more radical but sympathetic to certain minorities (Röhm) take over. But since Röhm and the Strassers were still antisemetic monsters, I have Oster come in and make use of their new patch-work ideology to unify Germany. Which means a 'liberal' but still authoritarian, ultranationalist, and militarist Germany that endures beyond the war, though it grows increasingly liberal. Its definitely still a pretty horrible place, but I hope I did enough to make it 'good' compared to OTL!

This uhm, ended up far longer than I planned! It was just... so hard to make the Nazis into "good guys". I think I might have even ended up more verbose than @Xanthoc! But if I need to add more to it to make it more clear they are "good guys", just say the word @Green Painting!))
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As long as the Holocaust (as well as crimes against Gypsies) were avoided, they would be reasonably considered “good guys” by their followers.
Yes! No Holocaust here or mass genocide of any kind! Now righgs for non-conforming ethnic groups? Iffy and dubious. Some Nuremberg-like laws still apply to certain groups like Roma, but no one is getting thrown in camps or murdered just for being.
Thank you @Green Painting!

As for my challenge...

Sundown in Tokyo

Fairly straightforward: Create a flag for the nation of Japan that does not make use of the Hinomaru, nor the Rising Sun, nor the Chrysanthemum/Imperial Seal.

Your version of Japan can have any ideology, can have diverged at any point in history but it must be an independent state and not an (official) territory of a foreign power, though a dominion of a foreign empire would be acceptable. This should be a flag for Japan not another nation that happens to own Japan.

Submissions Open: Now
Submissions Close: March 5th, 2021 @ 21:30 (GMT-5)
If any clarification is required, just ask!
Here's my entry to the most recent Flag Challenge (as posted by @Jing_Jing ):

State of Japan.png

Sovereign State of Japan

This ATL version of Japan is more or less the same as OTL, but with some subtle differences: More enlightened politicians responding well to the suggestions of the economists (and a more sustainable economic growth in general), more decentralized system of government (the regions having given powers from the Diet), a more productive population control policy (e.g. more effective family planning, paid leaves for young parents), more balanced boss-employee relationship, a more comprehensive rural regeneration program, more proactive role in the United Nations, among many others. The Emperor remained the head of state and "symbol of national sovereignty", but the prime minister is the head of government.

I maintained the national colors of the country (red and white) just like in the OTL counterpart, but the design is Spanish fess, and at the center is the OTL Seal of the Japanese Government, also known as Go-Shichi no Kiri (五七の桐).
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