Sunday, February 17

February 21, 1958 - 50 years for the peace symbol

Pacifists and war protesters all over the world wear peace signs on shoulder bags and jeans jackets. But only few know what the symbol really means, and where it came from.

Exactly fifty years ago British designer Gerald Holtom created what would become the international peace symbol. On February 21, 1958 the Royal College of Art trained artist designed a logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the start of the British peace movement.

At its basic level, the design combined two letters from the semaphore alphabet of flag-signalling, N (flags at eight and four o’clock) and D (flags at six and 12 o’clock), to indicate nuclear disarmament. A circle signified the earth.

But to Holtom, who had been a conscientious objector in the Second World War, there was more to it. “I was in despair,” he later wrote, “deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad.”

LINKS: HappyBirthdayPeace
LINK: Common Dreams

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