According to the official description, the red stands for unity and the bloodshed of martyrs, the white for a bright future, and the black for the dark past. The flag's design is also similar to that of the flag of the German Empire, albeit inverted. The flag is identical to the flag of Libya from 1969–1972.
The North used the flag on the right (the flag of the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen) from 1927 to 1962, when it became the Yemen Arab Republic. The flag of the Yemen Arab Republic was the Arab Liberation Flag with a green star in the center of the white band.