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Free Territory of Trieste (1945-1954) (Italy)

Last modified: 2003-01-18 by dov gutterman
Keywords: italy | friuli-venezia giulia | trieste | spearhead | istria | free territory | spear | helberd |
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by Alex Belfi, 3 October 2000

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I was wandering, was this the flag of FTT Zone A, that is under Italian/Allyed control. I have never seen (or can't remember) reference to such flag used in FTT Zone B, that is one that was under the administraton of Yugoslav Army (i.e. Tito's partisans). Actually, I never heard of any flag ascribed to FTT Zone B. However, most probably the well known Yugoslav flag with stars, as well as the national flags with stars (Slovenian, Italian and Croatia) would have been used. And, of course, the red flag of Communist party .
The two zones of FTT were latter (1953, IIRC) incorporated in Italy and Yugoslavia respectivly, with very minor border changes. FTT Zones issued both stamps and banknotes. I do not remember them quite vividly to claim anything, but there was not FTT flag or CoA on them. I seem to remember one FTT Zone B stamp with flag, but that one was pure red.
Zeljko Heimer , 24 September 1998

I believe the flag was the flag for the whole territory since the constitution of the Free Territory of Trieste mentionned the flag of the Territory as well as the coat of arms. But the flag was certainly mainly used in the city of Trieste as this flag is first a city flag.
Pascal Vagnat , 25 September 1998

The flag was in use as Free Terittory of Trieste flag from 1945 to 5 Octuber 1954.
Jaume Olle' , 5 November 1998

In the Belgian vexillological magazine Vexillinfo n58 (March 1985), Aldo Ziggioto from Italy explains that he was in Trieste in 1945. The First of May, the whole of the territory was occupied by the Yugoslavian troops. In June, these had to quit Trieste which was then occupied by the Western Allies. Since that time, the territory was divided in two parts: the A zone (Trieste and surroundings: Allied Military Government, then Free Territory of Trieste) and B zone (part of Istria, governed by the Yugoslavs).

On the paper, the two zones formed together a territory with an autonomous administration. In reality, Yugoslavia immediately considered the B zone as a "free" zone and annexed it to the Popular Republic of Yugoslavia. Ziggioto says that in the B zone, the Italian tricolour was strictly forbidden, except when, but rarely, it bore a red star fimbriated gold in the middle (see here). In the other hand, the Slavs, who were relatively numerous in Trieste and in its surroundings, lived in a "democratic state" and could freely use the Yugoslav flag during demonstrations. In fact nobody knows that there was a specific flag for the Free territory of Trieste, for that there was only one "Trieste" flag made: the unique exemplar of the flag was flying above the castle of Duino.

In Flagmaster 043 and Vexillinfo n48 of May 1984 p.51, another informations: Mr. J.R. Allen says in the first that the flag of the Free Territory of Trieste was also flying only in the A zone occupied by the American-British forces and especially above the castle of Duino, which was the residence of the Military Cdt of the said zone, the General Officer Commandind BETFOR (British Element Trieste Force). The flag was lowered on the 5th of October 1954 when the Italians regained this part of the territory. It is kept now in the collections of the Imperial War Museum in London.
Pascal Vagnat , 13 November 1999

As far as I'm aware, it is true that there was no specific flag for FTT. Zone B was not "imidiately annexed", at least not in theory- it formed separate zone under military administration, and as such issued it's own stamps and currency until 1954 when FTT as a whole was disbanded and included formaly in Italy and Yugoslavia.
Regarding the Italian flag with "Yugoslav star", I belive that it was used in Zone B quite often, together with other flags of peoples living there - Croats and Slovenians, when appropriate, and when it was not only the Yugoslav flag hosited. Though, I do not have any documents by hand to support it.
Zeljko Heimer , 13 November 1999

Part of FTT Zone B is in Slovenia. To put it briefly, the FTT was formed after the end of WWII and divided into Zone A under Alied control and Zone B under the control of Yugoslav Army. The situation remained so until mid-1950's (1956?) when it was agreed that the Zone A is to be added to Italy and Zone B to Yugoslavia. Some minor border corrections in favor of Zone B were made at the time. The Zone B was divided between Yugoslav republics of slovenia and Croatia according to the major population, Slovenia gettin a small litoral around Koper, and Croatia getting the most of Istria. The city of Trieste remianed in Italy (even if Yugoslav politics of the time was strongly against it).
Zeljko Heimer, 7 October 2000

FTT Flag

This is the official flag of the FTT, red with a white halberd in the middle, usually 2/3 or 7/10. You could collect dozens of types of Trieste halberds, but this is, as far as i know, the most commonly used shape. It was used on all public buildings and blockade places on borders with Italy and Yugoslavia. The same flag was also used in Zone B, but a yugoslav flag and, often, an italian flag with red star in the middle, were used at its sides. The italian flag was strictly forbidden in both zones of the FTT, especially in Zone B, but when displayed (in Zone B) with a red star in the middle, it officially represented the italian-speaking population of that territory, and it continued to do so after Zone B was integrated in Yugoslavia; it stopped waving when Yugoslavia collapsed in 1991.
The flag of the former FTT is today of common use in Trieste and its surrounding area (i.e. the former Zone A), but, when officially, together with the italian flag. Someone still considers that if that flag is used as a stand-alone flag, it might have a clear reference to the FTT and the independentist movement. However, it waves on top of the communal tower.
Alex Belfi, 3 October 2000

A page from an italian dictionary (Il Nuovissimo Melzi, 1952) displays the flags of all european countries including the above flag of the FTT.
Alex Belfi
, 3 October 2000

Proposals to FTT Flag

by Alex Belfi, 29 September 2000

by Alex Belfi, 29 September 2000

by Alex Belfi, 29 September 2000

As the idea of creating the FTT came out in july 1946, someone thought to propose a flag for it; three proposals were made before deciding to keep the flag that was already in use in the territory. The coat of arms on the first and second proposal is today the official coat of arms of the municipality of Trieste. This coat of arms was also used before World War II, but most of the times (and officially after 1933), it featured a fascio. The third proposal is inspired by flags used in Trieste during the austro-hungarian period , using red and white, which are the colors of Trieste.
Alex Belfi, 29 September 2000

U.S. Forces in the FTT

by Alex Belfi, 29 September 2000

This weird symbol was used by U.S. forces in the FTT, from 1947 to 1954; it is made up of the blue background that, alone, used to represent the 88th Infantry Reg.; as the FTT was proclaimed on the 16th of September 1947, they added the coat of arms in the middle, and a white border; a friend of mine owns an original american jacket with this symbol on the sleeve. It was also printed on official TRUST (Trieste United States Troops) documents.
Alex Belfi, 29 September 2000