As West Germany was reorganised and gained independence from its occupiers, the German Democratic Republic was established in East Germany in 1949. The creation of the two states solidified the 1945 division of Germany.  On 10 March 1952, (in what would become known as the " Stalin Note ") Stalin put forth a proposal to reunify Germany with a policy of neutrality, with no conditions on economic policies and with guarantees for "the rights of man and basic freedoms, including freedom of speech, press, religious persuasion, political conviction, and assembly" and free activity of democratic parties and organizations.  This was turned down; reunification was not a priority for the leadership of West Germany, and the NATO powers declined the proposal, asserting that Germany should be able to join NATO and that such a negotiation with the Soviet Union would be seen as a capitulation. There have been several debates about whether a real chance for reunification had been missed in 1952.
In northern Italy , during the Guelph and Ghibelline conflict of the 12th–14th century, the armies of the Ghibelline (pro-imperial) communes adopted the war banner of the Holy Roman Emperor (white cross on red) as their own, while the Guelf (anti-imperial) communes reversed the colours (red cross on white). These two schemes are prevalent in the modern civic heraldry of northern Italian towns and remains a revealing indicator of their past factional leanings. Traditionally Ghibelline towns like Pavia , Novara , Como , and Asti continue to sport the Ghibelline cross. The Guelf cross can be found on the civic arms of traditionally Guelf towns like Genoa , Milan , Vercelli , Alessandria , Reggio , and Bologna .