Peace Symbol Símbolo del signo de la paz

Peace Sign Symbol

Peace has many faces, at least as far as its symbolism is concerned. But these have always been associated with the war: When Briton Gerard Holtom designed the world-famous peace sign with the three downward-pointing lines in 1958, he did so as part of the “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament”. The rainbow flag, which was designed in Italy at the beginning of the 1960s and to which the lettering “PACE” was later added, was created as a direct reaction of the peace movement to global nuclear armament.

In the 1950s, the United Kingdom had joined the group of countries with nuclear weapons, which before were 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 unrest in public opinion and led to the 1958 demonstrations.

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

peace world border sign

The symbol, not patented, had a powerful communicative force, and very soon it was used in the United States of America as a general anti-war symbol and later, as a symbol of peace sign.

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 himself, with his arms stretched out and down, in an attitude of despair, just like the character standing before the firing squad in the May 3 shootings, by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes. To top it off, he circled the schematic figure.

What is Peace

Peace, Latin pax, is the absence of war or hostilities when referring to a country but also refers to agreements cessation of war. Today the term political peace is also used to refer to the cessation of political wars in favor of citizens.

On a personal level, peace is a state of serene spirit where one can be in harmony with oneself and with others. In many Eastern religions and philosophies this state is called inner peace and is achieved thanks to efforts of meditation and self-knowledge, that is, reaching a spiritual and mental balance generally represented by the lotus flower.

Peace for the Catholic Church is the state that is reached when the word of God is followed.

On a physical plane, when it is said that there is peace somewhere, it is meant that there is tranquility and silence at that time and place.

Living in peace is said to refer to the desire for the absence of conflict in life. When used “in peace” after an action such as dying in peace, eating in peace, being in peace, it means being in peace and quiet like the poem In Peace by Amado Nervo who is “at peace” thanking his existence.

Why did the peace sign come about?

peace sign

A British anti-nuclear war initiative is looking for an emblem for their protest march planned for Easter 1958. Graphic designer and artist Gerald Holtom are supposed to design it. On February 21, he presents his sketches. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which resulted from the initiative and other movements, later adopted the logo. Therefore, it is also called the CND symbol in Great Britain after its abbreviation.

When did the peace sign appear in public?

It is shown for the first time on Good Friday 1958 during a march from London’s Trafalgar Square to the nuclear weapons research center in Aldermaston, which is about 80 kilometers away. Around 500 of these signs could be seen over the entire Easter weekend. Later, designer Eric Austen designed badges made of white clay with black printing – also symbolically: the material should survive the inferno in the event of a nuclear war.

How did the logo go around the world?

dove peace symbol

Soon it spills over the Atlantic into the “Make Love Not War” generation and is quickly associated with the protests against the Vietnam War. The importance shifts over time from the original call for nuclear disarmament to universal anti-war attitudes.

And how does the sign appear on the shoulder bag?

In order to disseminate it as widely as possible, Holtom deliberately refrains from having its design protected by copyright. The design is used millions of times – and not just in the peace movement. T-shirts, mugs, jewelry, pillowcases or ecstasy pills – there is hardly anything that has not yet been decorated with the label.

But even outside of commercialization, the symbol is constantly experiencing a kind of political revival. For example, it will be modified in November 2015 after the terrorist attacks in Paris: the lines in a circle represent the Eiffel Tower, the symbol of the French capital.

What about the peace fingers?

The British victory gesture can often be seen, not infrequently accompanied by a long-spoken “pee” (for “peace”). The index and middle fingers are spread to the “V”, while – very important! – the palms facing outwards (otherwise the gesture is considered ordinary).

It made Prime Minister Winston Churchill famous during World War II as a signal of perseverance against Hitler Germany. But originally it goes back to Victor de Laveleye. The Belgian Minister of Justice campaigned in 1941 for the distribution of the “V” as a symbol for the French “victoire” (victory) and the Flemish “vrijheid” (freedom).

Are there other pictures for peace?

On the one hand there is the white dove. The animal has a symbolic meaning already in antiquity and Christianity. But above all after the Spanish painter Pablo Picasso immortalized the bird on a poster for the Paris World Peace Conference in 1949, it stands as an attribute of harmony.

However, white pigeons also climbed into the air earlier than as ambassadors for peace at the opening celebrations of the Olympic Games – for the first time in 1920. Furthermore, the rainbow flag flutters on anti-war demos. In the 1960s she appeared in Italy on peace marches, at least since the Iraq war of 2003, internationally with the words “Peace” or in the original with the Italian “pace”. (DPA)


There is nothing tribal about it. The “Peace sign and love” logo, one of the universal symbols of peace (with the dove and the rainbow flag) was invented in 1958 to demonstrate against a nuclear weapons factory.

It is indeed the work of a British graphic designer Gerald Holtom and his drawing is not due to chance. It refers to the letters “N” and “D” for “nuclear disarmament”, surrounded by a circle. These letters are represented thanks to the semaphore alphabet, a mode of communication by the body by waving flags, used in the navy and aviation.

The “N” is thus expressed by inverted “v” (the two arms lowered), while the “D” is symbolized by the vertical bar (one arm raised, the other lowered). The logo of Gerald Holtom was then taken up by the hippie movement against the Vietnam War and then became generalized in the demand for peace in the world.

11 Symbols of peace and their meaning

1 – Dove

dove peace sign

In the Bible, it is written that when the great flood ended, a dove came back with an olive leaf which indicated that life was coming back to earth. It is a symbol of peace and holiness. Picasso later created one that became a symbol of peace activism during the Cold War.

2 – Symbol V with hand

This symbol was used by resistance fighters in the German occupied territories as a symbol of camaraderie and strength. This is to form a V by opening the index and middle fingers. It is the first letter of the word victory in French, Dutch (vrijheid) and English (victory).

3 – Symbol of peace

It is one of the most famous symbols. It was designed by Gérald Holtom in 1958 to support the British nuclear disarmament movement. It combines the letters N and D of nuclear disarmament in the marine alphabet. Subsequently, its meaning extended to the more general sense of peace that we know today.

4- Pax cultural symbol

It is an ancient Asian symbol. It is a brown circle on a white background with three solid dots in the center representing art, science and religion. It is used as a flag of peace to protect historical and cultural discoveries. It is also placed on important cultural buildings, to protect them from destruction during wars.

5- The peace pipe

The peace pipe is a kind of pipe of peace. Smoking the peace pipe together is a common rite in many civilizations. It aims to create an adequate atmosphere so that the two opponents can dialogue.

6- The olive branch

This symbol dates from Ancient Greece. It represents peace and the end of a conflict. It was used during engagement, to adorn the bride, but it was also awarded to the Olympic winners.

Its origin dates back to mythology when the goddess Athens was fighting against the god Poseidon. During their confrontation, Poseidon would have created a water point and Athens, an olive tree. The population would have appreciated the latter much more.

The olive branch continues to have this meaning in the Abrahamic religions and in Christianity – where it is related to the dove, as we mentioned above.

7- White poppy

At the end of the First World War, poppies began to grow on all the battlefields and burials of Europe. In 1933, the Cooperative College of Women against War decided to sell white poppies to symbolize pacifism. The color white represents the fact of not shedding blood.

8- Paper crane

Sadako or Sasaki is a two-year-old child who developed leukemia due to radiation from the Hiroshima atomic bomb. He spent his last days making origami cranes. A Japanese belief says that a desire is granted to those who make 1,000 paper cranes. Because of this history, Japan has adopted the crane as a symbol of peace.

9- White hands

The assassination of the former president of the Spanish Constitutional Court, Francisco Tomás y Valiente, in 1996, provoked a great demonstration of condemnation of the violence. In these meetings, the students denounced the situation by painting their hands in white.

10- Rifle broken in half

The group called WarResisters International uses a design of two hands breaking a rifle as a logo. This drawing was created in 1921 and uses the simplicity of the emblem to convey its message.

11- Shalom / Salaam

It is a symbol of peace in the Middle East and in other parts of the world. It is generally used to try to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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