The flag and its coat of arms
The Austrian civil flag consists of two red stripes edging a white one and dates back to 1230. It is the oldest flag in the world after the Danish one. The Austrian State flag carries a coat of arms in its middle, which was introduced in 1919. Of course, both flags were not used between the “Anschluss” incorporating Austria into the third Reich in 1938 and the liberation in 1945.
The Austrian flag and its coat of arms are based on a strong symbolic coherence:
The white and red stripes on the background and the shield depict the relationship between Heaven and Earth, sacerdotal Knowledge of the guiding principles and their royal implementation. This relation is corroborated by the attributes held into the eagle's talons. The hammer producing the thunder, the celestial Fire, is referring to the Sun and giving access to the direct Knowledge of the principles; the sickle, looking like a Moon crescent, represents the Sun light reflection, the indirect knowledge based on the mind and used to implement the Heaven's principles on Earth.
The chain symbolizes, at the spiritual level, the binding between Heaven and Earth; they should not be broken as long as it is freely accepted. More commonly, the chain represents the bonds among all community members and only the imposed shackles have to be broken.