Meaning of Peace Symbol

What is Peace Symbol:

The peace symbol to which it usually refers today is the one designed by Gerald Holtom for the first March for Nuclear Disarmament that took place in London in 1958.

peace symbol

In the 1950s, the United Kingdom had joined the group of nuclear-armed countries, which had previously been basically the United States of America and the USSR (Russia). With this in mind, the British government developed a series of military tests, which caused public discomfort and led to the demonstrations of 1958.

This symbol was quickly adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, a British organization founded in 1957 with the purpose of demanding that world authorities dismantle nuclear weapons that threatened humanity, which put it at the forefront of the peace movement from the 1960s.

The unpatented symbol had a powerful communicative force, and was soon used in the United States of America as a general anti-war symbol and later as a symbol of peace.

There are several interpretations of what the symbol represents, two of them mentioned by its own creator.

Gerald Holtom once declared that the symbol was a graphic synthesis of itself, arms outstretched and downward in despair, just like the character standing before the firing squad in the painting The executions of May 3, by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. To top it off, he circled the schematic figure.

Another version suggests that this symbol represents the letters D, for disarmand N, for nuclearaccording to the maritime alphabet of flags, also known as semaphore alphabet.

See also:

  • Peace.
  • Cold War.
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Other peace symbols

Predictably, Holtom’s peace symbol is of very recent date. Before this, there were already other symbols of peace or signs of peace, depending on the context.

the dove of peace

bird of peace

The dove of peace is graphically depicted as a white dove, alluding to the biblical story that Noah, after the flood, sent a dove to find dry land.

The dove returned and brought with it an olive branch, proof that the land was also fertile. This would mean that the time of peace between God and man had come.

When the dove of peace is depicted without the olive branch, it symbolizes the desire to send a message of peace.

White flag

peace symbol

Cornwallis surrenders to the troops of Washington and the Count of Rochambeau, in the US Independence.

In the world of war there are also many symbols. One of them is the white flag, which represents the surrender of one of the sides in the conflict and, with it, the desire to restore peace. It is also associated with the meaning of ceasefire and the willingness to negotiate.

It is believed that the custom has existed since the time of the Punic Wars (second public war, 218 and 201 BC), since Tito Livio mentions that a Carthaginian ship would have raised white cloths and olive branches to demonstrate its surrender and request the cessation of the attack.

the pipe of peace

pipe of peace

It is a ritual object, also called calumetwhich was used in some indigenous cultures of North America as a symbol of brotherhood between individuals and peoples or nations.

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