The Confederate Flag was the symbol used by the southern states during the United States Civil War to represent the freedom of the South from the North. The flag was originally made of two red stripes with a white stripe in the middle, and a blue square with a ring of stars, but the flag's resemblance to the American Flag caused so much confusion on the battle field that it was changed to a blue X outlined in white and decorated with stars across a red background.
The flag was designed by Nicola Marschall, a German American artist who supported the South during the war. However, the flag had to be redesigned several times in order to finally get to the stars and bars it is today. One of the designs had a predominately white background, which was mistaken for a flag of surrender on the battlefield.
As of 2015, the flag stands as a cultural symbol that represents the bravery and pride of the South and has no historical nor official association with any hate group. In certain states, the Confederate Flag is given the same respect as the American Flag in the respect that it may not touch the ground or be desecrated, and that when it becomes too worn it must be burned rather than thrown away.