Cross of Lorraine

From Academic Kids

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Cross of Lorraine

The Cross of Lorraine is a heraldic cross. It consists of a vertical line, crossed by two smaller horizontal bars. The lower bar is as close to the bottom of the vertical as the upper bar is to the top. In the ancient version, both bars were of the same length. In 20th century use, the lower bar is longer than the upper, thus resembling a patriarchal cross, the crossbars of which, however, are both near the top.


Symbol in France

The Cross of Lorraine is part of the heraldric arms of Lorraine in eastern France. It was originally the symbol of Joan of Arc, renowned for her perseverance against foreign invaders of France (in her case, the English). Between 1871 and 1918 (and again between 1940-1944), Lorraine was annexed to Germany, along with Alsace. During that period the cross served as a rallying point for French ambitions to recover its lost provinces. This historical significance lent it considerable weight as a symbol of French patriotism.

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The flag of Free France featured a red Cross of Lorraine on a standard Flag of France.

During World War II, the cross was adopted as the official symbol of the Free French Forces (French: Forces Françaises Libres, or FFL) under Charles de Gaulle. The Free French flag was a red Cross of Lorraine added to the white central stripe of the French tricolor. Appropriately, de Gaulle is memorialised by a gigantic 43m-high Cross of Lorraine at his home village of Colombey-les-Deux-Églises.

The cross was also carried on the fuselages of aircraft flying on behalf of the Forces Aériennes Françaises Libres (FAFL) from 1940 to 1943 to distinguish them from the aircraft of the Vichy French air force, which continued to sport the traditional French air force (Armée de l'Air) roundels, dating from World War I.

The Cross of Lorraine was later adopted by Gaullist movements such as the Rally for the Republic.

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The French frigate Aconit, named after the corvette Aconit of the Free French Forces, flies the Cross of Lorraine on her unit flag

Other uses

The flag of Slovakia and the Slovak coat of arms both includes the cross of Lorraine, which is officially said to symbolise the country's three patron saints. Notably, the Hungarian coat of arms also depicts a double cross, which is often attributed to Byzantine influence on Pannonia and Great Moravia, early precursors to present-day Hungary and Slovakia.

A similar cross is used as an emblem by the American Lung Association and as such is familiar from their Christmas Seals program. One explanation of this use of the symbol is that it was adopted during World War I on account of the victims of poison gas warfare in eastern France.


The "Cross of Lorraine" symbol appears in Unicode as U+2628 (☨).

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The Tape de bouche of the Rubis features the Cross of Lorraine in honour of the Free French eponymous submarine.

See also

eo:Lorenokruco fr:Croix de Lorraine he:צלב לוריין sl:lorenski križ sv:Lothringenkors


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