There has been various symbols throughout history that have represented peace. Symbols such as an olive branch, the dove and the V hand signal. The most common, and well recognized, symbol of peace today consists of a circle divided into three even sections. It was originally designed as a symbol for nuclear disarmament, but is now commonly recognized and used as the symbol for peace around the world. This symbol was a common motif on jewellery and clothing during the sixties and seventies, when peace and free love were an important part of the ideology of the time.
Who designed the peace symbol?
The peace symbol was designed by the artist and designer Gerald Holtom in 1958. It was originally designed for a nuclear disarmament march from Trafalgar Square, London to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in England. The symbol is made up of the semaphore signals for N and D. Semaphore signals are those used to communicate messages with flags on sea vessels. The letter N is made by making an upside down v and the letter D is signaled by holding one flag straight up and the other flag straight down. When these images are superimposed the image that appears in the center of the peace symbol is achieved. The letters N and D stood for Nuclear Disarmament. The symbol was quickly adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and was later adopted by anti-war campaigners as well.
The peace symbol spread to the United States of America in 1958 when a pacifist protester sailed a small boat with the symbol into a nuclear testing site. By 1960 buttons with the symbol were being sold by the Student Peace Union in colleges around the country. By the end of the decade the symbol became a worldwide symbol for anti-war and anti-nuclear campaigns. It is now recognized as one of the most important symbols of peace.