The flag of Switzerland has a white plus sign on a red background, while the flag of the International Red Cross is an inversion of it. The flag of Tonga has a red plus sign on a white canton. The flags of England and the Republic of Georgia have white backgrounds with red crosses of the type that resemble plus signs.
Let’s find out a bit more about each of these flags.
The flag of Switzerland is the one that most people come to when they think of red and white flags with plus signs. It is square-shaped, which is unusual for national flags, and consists of a red background with a white Swiss cross in the middle. The Swiss cross is defined as a free-standing cross with arms of equal size, which makes it indistinguishable from a plus sign.
Variants of this flag have definitely been used to represent Switzerland from as early as 1339, and possibly from even before that. The cross on the Swiss flag is officially said to represent Christianity.
International Red Cross
Although not a national flag, the flag of the International Red Cross is probably the second most likely flag that comes to people’s minds when they think of red and white flags with plus signs. The flag of the International Red Cross consists of a red plus sign on a white background. It is a color inversion of the Swiss flag.
The similarity between the flags of Switzerland and the International Red Cross is not coincidental. This design was chosen partly with reference to the First Geneva Convention, which was held in Switzerland, and partly because Switzerland was famed for its neutrality, which would represent the neutrality of Red Cross operatives on battlefields.
The flag of Tonga is the last one on this list that is red and white and includes a symbol that absolutely everyone would identify as a plus sign. This flag consists of a red background with a white canton and a red, free-standing cross with arms of equal sizes within it.
This flag was adopted in 1875. It is a variant of the flag that came before it, which was effectively indistinguishable from the flag of the International Red Cross. This predecessor flag is identical to the canton of the current flag.
The flag of England consists of a white background with a red St. George’s cross in the middle. Even though the St. George’s cross is wider than it is tall, the relatively low ratio combined with its central location makes it resemble a plus sign. Square variants of the English flag are sometimes seen, which makes the cross have equally-sized arms.
The flag of the Republic of Georgia consists of a white background, a red cross with a ratio of 3:2 in the middle, and four red Georgian crosses in each quadrant. The central cross is a slightly narrower variant of the St. George’s cross, and the Georgian crosses look like plus signs with subtly flared ends.