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Friday, October 1, 2010

The Peace Sign


We all know the peace sign, we've all seen it, especially when there are wars going on. When you see a peace sign your first thought (well mine anyway) is 1960's, Vietnam War, Protests, people speaking out and actually caring for what's going on around them. I've always kind of considered myself a hippie born too late and taken over by today's current technological advances with an urge to try to make a difference but not having what it takes to start that kind of movement. If that makes any sense at all (haha.)

Now what you might not know, which I didn't until I came across this article today, is where the peace sign came from. Who made it, and why? I've always wondered if it was just created as a sign of peace or if there was a deeper meaning behind it. Of course I never really looked into it before or else I wouldn't just now be discovering this today.

The peace sign was designed in 1958 by a London textile designer, Gerald Holtom. He was trying to create a symbol he could put on banners that marchers were going to carry in a "ban the bomb" march which would be Britain's first major demonstration against nuclear weapons. The symbol is actually the letters "N" and "D" taken from flag semaphore signals, which is an alphabet signaling system that was once used for distant communication in the maritime world in the early 19th century. The letters "N" and "D" were used for the words Nuclear and Disarmament, and then put in a circle to create the peace sign we all know and use frequently still today. In 1960 the peace sign was imported into the U.S. via a peace sign button brought from the UK by Philip Altbach, reshman at the University of Chicago.. The symbol was around before but once the Student Peace Union was convinced by Philip Altbach to adopt the symbol it grew rapidly. By the late 1960's the symbol was adopted by anti-war protesters.

8 comments:

Anji said...

I never really thought about the peace sign - it's always been there for me. I wonder if Mr Holtom realised how important his design would be.

There was a poster around during the vietnam war "War is not healthy for children and other living things"

http://www.artlex.com/ArtLex/p/images/poster_schneider_war_lg.jpg

That really represents the feeling of the time and 'peace and love'.

connieemeraldeyes said...

In 1971 I decorated my parents yard in christmas lights in the shape of a peace sign. My brother was a hippy. He still kind of is even though he will be 60 in December. I never became a hippy, I think I was too young when it was popular, but I loved the peace sign.

Rhetoric Camel said...

Anji, I was wondering if he knew if it would take off like it did myself. I looked up his wiki and apparently he never got to see it's progress beyond 1985, the year he passed away. I've never seen the poster you posted but I've seen something close to it. Can't be more true really!

Connie, Nothing wrong with still being a hippy! haha. The peace sign with christmas lights, never thought of it, maybe that could make a come back this year?

Doug Stephens said...

Interesting. I've never thought about it. Just one of those things that is, you know?

Had to be a Brit, though, did it? Sheesh. Like those guys don't have big enough heads the way it is :)

wilfried said...

gerald holtoms present to the people of this world ... give peace a chance

Anonymous said...

This sign really means war and corruption. It is a symbol of the Anti-Christ used to mock Jesus Christ.

fish guy said...

When I see this symbol think os the movie " hair " a awesome classic musical I wish I lived in those days But I DON'T wish im that old yet hahaha To mr mock Jesus dude...Well So Jesus can be mocked hey? HAHAHA A RETARDED statement like that shows you don't know what Jesus is all about But then again your probably believing everything that someone DICTATES to you You would NOT have been a hippie in vet war days

We Are Watchers said...

Hi well done quite interesting. i have always wonder who made the sign? its so famous. i came to know through your Post. Some even say this sign has a broken Christian Cross and it belongs to modern witch craft practices. what you say?