Peace Sign


modern day peace sign circle with lines


Peace , Nuclear Disarmament

There have been numerous peace signs through out history. In the 21 century the peace sign above is internationally accepted and know, as is the V-shaped hand gesture made with the index and middle figure.

The symbol is a combination of the flag semaphore signals for the letters “N” and “D,” standing for “nuclear disarmament”. By superimposing these to signs forms

In semaphore the letter “N” is formed by a person holding two flags in an inverted “V,” and the letter “D” is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. Superimposing these two signs with in the centre of a circle the peace sign was born.

Holtom however wrote to Hugh Brock, editor of Peace News, that before its semaphore representation was assigned that the genesis of his idea:

I was in despair. 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. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it.”



The peace sign was originally intended for a campaign in the 1950s for British Nuclear Disarmament. It was later adopted by anti-war and counter-cultural activists in the USA

Designed in 1958 by an English professional artist/designer named Gerald Holtom.Holtom presented his design to officials in the Peace News office in London and to the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War. The Direct Action Committee was already planning its first major anti-nuclear march from London to Aldermaston, where British nuclear weapons were manufactured.  It first appeared on Good Friday in Trafalgar Square, where the weekend march began.


peace sign first ceramic badges made

The first peace badge, 1958, made in ceramic for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament by Eric Austen from Gerald Holtom’s original design.

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to Read more about the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament organisation