History Of The Universal Peace Symbol

nuclear disarmamentThe 60’s was really an exciting period.  It was a time that helped define the world as we know it today. Different things have happened during this decade that has influenced the way people lived today. For some younger people today, it may be a forgotten decade that they no longer know about. But there are certain images and icons that persist even today that were part of this decade. One of them in the universal peace symbol.

While many people can still identify the universal peace symbol quite well today, not a lot may know about its history. What they know is that it became a symbol of the peace movement that came out during the 60’s. But only a few know about its origins.

Its Origins
The peace symbol that became popular during the 60’s was the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament or CND, a UK movement that was founded sometime in 1957. Its objective was for a unilateral nuclear disarmament in order to avoid countries going into a possible nuclear war. It was at a time when different nations were starting to harness the power of nuclear energy and the stockpiling nuclear weapons for defense, notably by Russia and USA. This activity has placed the world always in a constant concern of an impending nuclear war that can happen at any time. The movement aimed to avoid this by initially urging the English government to ban nuclear weapons.

The Symbol
The CND adopted the popular symbol for their movement in 1958. It was designed by Gerald Herbert Holtom, who was then a member of  the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War which supported the CND. The symbol was based on the naval code of semaphore positions, which stand for the letters “N” and “D” for “Nuclear Disarmament”. The symbol was first used during the initial marches done in opposition to the production of nuclear armaments in the UK in 1958.

Eventually, the CND’s logo was embraced by other peace movements who were against the war in Vietnam during the 60’s. Since the logo was not copyrighted, it became popular as an international peace symbol that is used even today.