North Korean battle standard

Place Asia: North Korea
Accession Number REL43409
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Flag
Physical description Embroidery silk thread, Plastic, Silk
Maker Unknown
Place made North Korea
Date made c 1953
Conflict Korea, 1950-1953

Red silk, tassel-fringed North Korean battle standard embroidered on both sides with yellow Korean characters. One side of the banner is substantially faded. This faded side features a prominent centrally located patriotic emblem consisting of a red banner surmounting a horse shoe shaped golden coloured border. Within this border are two significant symbols of the communist imagery, wheat representing the rural working class and a mechanically shaped border for the urban workers. In the middle of the circle is a charging helmeted North Korean soldier armed with a rifle, immediately behind him is tank, four artillery barrels and a missile head. In the background is a snow capped mountain with clouds and a red five pointed star. Above the charging soldiers helmet are three un-identified dark objects, possibly aircraft. In front of the soldier are three un-identified black discs. The bottom of this emblem consists of another folded banner featuring some centrally placed Korean words. The corners of the flag adjacent to the hoist are reinforced with small rectangular pieces of black plastic and green plastic loops.

History / Summary

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) Army closely followed the communist traditions of their Chinese and Soviet allies by adopting prominent red flags with a diverse range of patriotic slogans for their Army units. These flags came in all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of simplicity or complexity. This particular flag has no known direct provenance to a specific Australian serviceman or unit. One side of the flag shows some damage from continued exposure to light with the other side is still very close to its original vibrant red colour.

A translation of the flag reads 'Let's raise the three revolutions of gaining a red flag and push on more of the 'Juche Ideology' to the entire armed force'. The Juche (sometimes spelt Chuch'e) ideology is a specific North Korean term for their particular type of Communist ideology. It was created by Kim Il Sung in 1955 and it centres around the notion of self-reliance away from the Soviets and Communist Chinese.

All three branches of the Australian Defence Force, the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force (as part of the United Nations forces) fought against the North Korean Army from 1950 until the ceasefire in 1953. To help guarantee the security of South Korea after the ceasefire, Australia maintained a military presence in Korea until 1957.

This flag is representative of the Communist North Korean forces that Australians fought during the Korean war of 1950-1953. It is also representative of the four year period following the ceasefire when Australians served in the Korean Peninsula.