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In 1920  the Wettin territories not in the former Kingdom of Saxony were united with the principalities of Reuss and Schwarzburg into the German federal state of Thuringia. A coat of arms of this state was adopted on 7 April 1921. It is: Gules, seven six-pointed stars Argent, the stars representing the composing parts of the state, to say: Saxony-Weimar, Saxony-Coburg & Gotha, Saxony-Meiningen, Saxony-Altenburg, Reuss Younger- and Elder Branch, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt and Schwarzburg-Sondershausen. [1]



Arms of 07-04-1921

The Otto Hupp version


The arms met with strong criticism because of its neglect of any heraldic tradition. After the establishment of the NSDAP-state in 1933 there was no hesitation to change the arms completely. By decision of 15 August 1933 a larger and a smaller arms were adopted for the district (Gau) of Thuringia. The larger arms are: Quarterly, the first of Saxony, the second for Schwarzburg, the third for Reuss and the fourth for Henneberg. On an escutcheon are the arms of ancient Thuringia with the crowned lion barry Argent and Gules, keeping in its dexter claw a swastika Or. The escutcheon was also adopted as a smaller arms of the district.




Larger arms of the NSDAP-district of Thuringia

By Otto Hupp

Smaller arms of the district


After the war these coats of arms, the larger arms also known as the Thüringer Tiergarten (Thuringian Zoo), were abandoned. On 28 June 1945 it was suggested to reintroduce the arms of the former Freestate, augmented with one star to represent a part of the province of Saxony which was added to the new state. About a month later, when the American Military administration in Thuringia was replaced by a Sovjet Military Administration, it was proposed to augment the arms with a golden lion. Such a  coat of arms was indeed adopted for the State of Thuringia on 13 August 1945. It is: Gules, a lion Or between eight six-pointed stars Argent. [2]


American and Soviet Occupation




US 89th Infantry Division insignia

This Division occupied Thuringia in April 1945


8th Soviet Guards Army insignia [3]

This army took over American occupation in July 1945.

Headquarters: Weimar


The division personnel of the 89th, during World War I, was drawn primarily from the Middle West, and the “W” indicates its western origin; when inverted, the letter becomes “M” and thus the name, “Middle West” Division. On its side, the letter represents the Greek letter “Σ”, the symbol of summation that is, coordination or single effort. The circle is that geometrical figure which can come to stability in any position, yet move rapidly in answer to a change of forces.


The badge of the 8th Soviet Guards Army show the five-pointed red star of the Red Army surrounded by a garland ensigned CCCP in base and a banner with the legend ГВАРДИЯ (Guardia) in chief


Arms of Thuringia 1945-1952




Because the tincture of the lion was not mentioned in the decision, two versions of the arms were used, the first with the lion Or, the second with the lion Argent.


After Thuringia had become a part of the Deutsche Demokratische Republik the State of Thuringia was abolished by law in 1952 and replaced by three districts (Bezirke): Erfurt, Gera and Suhl. These were represented by the coats of arms of the cities they were named after.


These arms were:


Erfurt: Gules a six-spoked wheel Argent (known from 1300)

Gera: Sable a lion rampant Or, langued and unguled Gules.(known from 1350)

Suhl: Argent, a city wall with two towers Gules, its roofs Azure, its doors Or, in its gate also Or, a cock Sable standing on a three-topped hill Vert. Between the towers a sole per bend Or, pierced by an adze per bend sinister Azure. (Probably 1527). [4]


Freistaat Thüringen


In 1990 the state of Thuringia was restored and two years later it adopted the qualification of  “Freestate”. A coat of arms was adopted by law of 30 January 1991. It is:


Arms: Azure, a lion rampant barry of eight Gules and Argent, crowned and unguled Or, between eight six-pointed stars Argent. [5]


ð See illustration in the head of this essay.


The law about the arms of Thuringia reads:



Gesetz über die Hoheitszeichen des Landes Thüringen

Vom 30. Januar 1991

Fundstelle: GVBl 1991, S. 1


Der Thüringer Landtag hat das folgende Gesetz beschlossen:


§ 1

(1) Das Wappen des Landes Thüringen bildet ein aufrecht stehender, achtfach rot-silbern gestreifter, goldgekrönter und goldbewehrter Löwe auf blauem Grund, umgeben von acht silbernen Sternen. Die Urzeichnung des Wappens wird im Thüringischen Staatsarchiv aufbewahrt.

(2) Die Landesfarben sind weiß-rot.


§ 2

Regelungen über die Gestaltung und Führung des Landeswappens, der Landesflagge, des Landessiegels und des Amtsschildes trifft die Landesregierung durch Rechtsverordnung.


§ 3

Dieses Gesetz tritt mit Wirkung vom 3. Oktober 1990 in Kraft.



The seal of the Freestate of Thuringia (Æ 40 mm) shows the lion and the stars within a legend:










Star and arms of the Thuringian Police


Former Shoulder Patch



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© Hubert de Vries 2011-01-09; Updated 2018-01-09; 2019-09-15




[1]  Rheude L. Die Wappen der Deutschen Freistaaten. In: Der Deutsche Herold, 1924 pp. 31-34.

[2]  Peter Heß: Das Thüringer Landeswappen. Thüringen, Blätter zur Landeskunde.

[3]  Borisov, V.A.: The Badges of the Soviet Armed Forces, 1918-1991. St. Petersburg, 1994.

[4]  Lexicon Städte und Wappen der Deutschen Demokratischeh Republik. Leipzig, 1979

[5]  Laitenberger, Birgit & Maria Bassier: Wappen und Flaggen der Bundesrepublik Deutschland und ihre Länder. Köln, 2000. Pp. 72-73, Taf. XXX.

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