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Peace symbol

Peace symbol

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A number of peace symbols have been used in various cultures and contexts, one of the most ancient being the olive branch
Olive branch
The olive branch in Western culture, derived from the customs of Ancient Greece, symbolizes peace or victory and was worn by brides.-Ancient Greece and Rome:...

. The dove
Dove
Pigeons and doves constitute the bird family Columbidae within the order Columbiformes, which include some 300 species of near passerines. In general terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used somewhat interchangeably...

 and olive branch was used by early Christians and was later adopted as a secular symbol. It was popularised by Pablo Picasso in 1949 and became widely used in the post-war peace movement. In the 20th century, the peace sign, adopted by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

, the V hand signal, and the peace flag
Peace flag
There have been several designs for a peace flag.-White-bordered national flag:The white flag is recognized in most of the world as a flag of surrender, truce or ceasefire. The first mention of a white flag used in this context is made during the Eastern Han dynasty...

 became international peace symbols.

Classical antiquity



The use of the olive as a symbol of peace dates at least to the 5th century BCE. It was mentioned by the Greek playwright Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

 in Peace
Peace (play)
Peace is an Athenian Old Comedy written and produced by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. It won second prize at the City Dionysia where it was staged just a few days before the ratification of the Peace of Nicias , which promised to end the ten year old Peloponnesian War...

(Eirene), where he refers to "greatest of all goddesses, Eirene
Eirene (Greek goddess)
Eirene, or Irene |Pax]]), one of the Horae, was the personification of peace, and was depicted in art as a beautiful young woman carrying a cornucopia, sceptre and a torch or rhyton. She is said sometimes to be the daughter of Zeus and Themis....

, goddess of peace, her to whom the olive is so dear". The olive tree represented plenty, but the ancient Greeks believed that it also drove away evil spirits. The olive branch was one of the attributes of Eirene on Roman Imperial coins. For example, the reverse of a tetradrachm
Tetradrachm
The tetradrachm was an Ancient Greek silver coin equivalent to four drachmae. It was in wide circulation from 510 to 38 BC.-History:Many surviving tetradrachms were minted by the polis of Athens from around the middle of the 5th century BC onwards; the popular coin was widely used in transactions...

 of Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 from Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, 70-71 CE, shows Eirene standing holding a branch upward in her right hand.

The Roman
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 poet Virgil
Virgil
Publius Vergilius Maro, usually called Virgil or Vergil in English , was an ancient Roman poet of the Augustan period. He is known for three major works of Latin literature, the Eclogues , the Georgics, and the epic Aeneid...

 (70-10 BCE) associated "the plump olive" with the goddess Pax
Pax (mythology)
In Roman mythology, Pax [paqs] was recognized as a goddess during the rule of Augustus. On the Campus Martius, she had a temple called the Ara Pacis, and another temple on the Forum Pacis. She was depicted in art with olive branches, a cornucopia and a scepter...

 (the Roman Eirene) and he used the olive branch as a symbol of peace in his Aeneid
Aeneid
The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil between 29 and 19 BC, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter...

:
High on the stern Aeneas his stand,
And held a branch of olive in his hand,
While thus he spoke: "The Phrygians' arms you see,
Expelled from Troy, provoked in Italy
By Latian foes, with war unjustly made;
At first affianced, and at last betrayed.
This message bear: The Trojans and their chief
Bring holy peace, and beg the king's relief."


For the Romans, there was an intimate relationship between war and peace, and Mars
Mars (mythology)
Mars was the Roman god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter, and he was the most prominent of the military gods worshipped by the Roman legions...

, the god of war, had another aspect, Mars Pacifer, Mars the bringer of Peace, who is shown on coins of the later Roman Empire bearing an olive branch. (See Gallery.) Appian
Appian
Appian of Alexandria was a Roman historian of Greek ethnicity who flourished during the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, and Antoninus Pius.He was born ca. 95 in Alexandria. He tells us that, after having filled the chief offices in the province of Egypt, he went to Rome ca. 120, where he practised as...

 describes the use of the olive-branch as a gesture of peace by the enemies of the Roman general Scipio Aemilianus in the Numantine War
Numantine War
The Numantine War was the last conflict of the Celtiberian Wars fought by the Romans to subdue those people along the Ebro. It was a twenty year long conflict between the Celtiberian tribes of Hispania Citerior and the Roman government. It began in 154 BC as a revolt of the Celtiberians of...

 and by Hasdrubal
Hasdrubal
Hasdrubal was the name of several Carthaginian generals of the First and Second Punic Wars...

 of Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

.

Later representations


Poets of the 17th century associated the olive with peace and a Charles I
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 gold coin of 1644 shows the monarch with sword and olive branch. Throughout the 18th century English coins show Brittania with a spear and olive branch.

The painted hall of the Old Royal Naval College
Old Royal Naval College
The Old Royal Naval College is the architectural centrepiece of Maritime Greenwich, a World Heritage Site in Greenwich, London, described by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation as being of “outstanding universal value” and reckoned to be the “finest and most...

, Greenwich
Greenwich
Greenwich is a district of south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich.Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time...

, represents an allegory, c.1700, by James Thornhill
James Thornhill
Sir James Thornhill was an English painter of historical subjects, in the Italian baroque tradition.-Life:...

 in which William and Mary
William and Mary
The phrase William and Mary usually refers to the coregency over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland and Ireland, of King William III & II and Queen Mary II...

 accept an olive branch from Peace.

In January 1775, the frontispiece of the London Magazine published an engraving of Peace descending on a cloud from the Temple of Commerce,bringing an olive branch to America and Britannia. In July that year, the American Continental Congress
Continental Congress
The Continental Congress was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies that became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution....

 adopted the "Olive Branch Petition
Olive Branch Petition
The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by the Continental Congress in July 1775 in an attempt to avoid a full-blown war with Great Britain. The petition affirmed American loyalty to Great Britain and entreated the king to prevent further conflict...

" in the hope of avoiding a full-blown war with Great Britain. On the Great Seal of the United States
Great Seal of the United States
The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the United States federal government. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself , and more generally for the design impressed upon it...

 (1782), the olive branch denotes peace, as explained by Charles Thomson
Charles Thomson
Charles Thomson was a Patriot leader in Philadelphia during the American Revolution and the secretary of the Continental Congress throughout its existence.-Biography:...

, Secretary to Congress: "The Olive branch and arrows denote the power of peace & war which is exclusively vested in Congress."

Christianity


Early Christians portrayed baptism
Baptism in early Christianity
Baptism has been part of Christianity from the start, as shown by the many mentions in the Acts of the Apostles and the Pauline epistles. Christians consider Jesus to have instituted the sacrament of baptism...

 accompanied by a dove holding an olive branch in its beak and used the image on their sepulchre
Sepulchre
The rock-cut tombs in ancient Israel are a group of hundreds of rock-cut tombs constructed in Israel in ancient times. They were cut into the rock, sometimes with elaborate facades and multiple burial chambers. Some are free-standing, but most are caves. Each tomb typically belonged to a...

s as an allegory of peace. The dove appears in many funerary inscriptions in the Roman catacombs, sometimes accompanied by the words in pace (Latin for "in peace"). For example, in the Catacomb of Callixtus
Catacomb of Callixtus
The Catacomb of Callixtus was one of the Catacombs of Rome on the Appian Way, most notable for containing the Crypt of the Popes , which contained the tombs of several popes from the 2nd to 4th centuries...

 there is a representation of a dove and branch next to a Latin inscription NICELLA VIRCO DEI OVE VI XIT ANNOS P M XXXV DE POSITA XV KAL MAIAS BENE MERENTI IN PACE, meaning "Nicella, God’s virgin, who lived for more or less 35 years. She was placed [here] 15 days before the Kalends of May [17th April]. For the well deserving one in peace." In another there is a shallow relief sculpture showing a dove with a branch flying to a figure marked in Greek ΕΙΡΗΝΗ (Eirene, or Peace). The symbol has also been found in the Christian catacombs of Sousse
Sousse
Sousse is a city in Tunisia. Located 140 km south of the capital Tunis, the city has 173,047 inhabitants . Sousse is in the central-east of the country, on the Gulf of Hammamet, which is a part of the Mediterranean Sea. The name may be of Berber origin: similar names are found in Libya and in...

, Tunisia (ancient Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

), which date from the end of the first century AD.

Christians derived the symbol of the dove and olive branch from two sources. The first was the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 comparison between a dove and the Spirit of God
Holy Spirit
Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of the Hebrew Bible, but understood differently in the main Abrahamic religions.While the general concept of a "Spirit" that permeates the cosmos has been used in various religions Holy Spirit is a term introduced in English translations of...

 that descended on Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 during his baptism
Baptism of Jesus
The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus Christ's public ministry. This event is recorded in the Canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In John 1:29-33 rather than a direct narrative, the Baptist bears witness to the episode...

. The second was the pagan symbol of the olive branch. The New Testament comparison has a parallel in the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, which says that "the spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters like a dove", but in Jewish tradition the olive branch is not used as a peace symbol and neither the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

 nor the New Testament mention the dove or the olive in connection with peace.

In the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

 story of Noah and the Flood, a dove returns to Noah with a freshly plucked olive leaf rather than an olive branch. This is not said to represent peace either in the text or in rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

nic explanations, which interpret it as "the young shoots of the Land of Israel" or the dove's preference for bitter food in God's service rather than sweet food in the service of men. But early Christians drew parallels between baptism and the flood, the First Epistle of Peter
First Epistle of Peter
The First Epistle of Peter, usually referred to simply as First Peter and often written 1 Peter, is a book of the New Testament. The author claims to be Saint Peter the apostle, and the epistle was traditionally held to have been written during his time as bishop of Rome or Bishop of Antioch,...

 (composed around the end of the first century AD) comparing the salvation through water in baptism to Noah's salvation through water. The Carthaginian Tertullian
Tertullian
Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian , was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and...

 (c.160 - c.220) compared Noah's dove, who "announced to the world the assaugement of divine wrath, when she had been sent out of the ark and returned with the olive branch" with the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove that descends in baptism, "bringing us the peace of God, sent out from the heavens". In the fourth century, St. Jerome's Latin Bible
Vulgate
The Vulgate is a late 4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. It was largely the work of St. Jerome, who was commissioned by Pope Damasus I in 382 to make a revision of the old Latin translations...

, possibly reflecting this Christian comparison between the peace brought by baptism and the ending of the Flood, rendered the Hebrew Bible's "olive leaf" (עלה זית alay zayit) in Noah as "olive branch" (ramum olivae). By the fifth century, St Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 confirmed the Christian reading of the pagan olive branch into Noah, writing that, "perpetual peace is indicated by the olive branch (oleae ramusculo) that the dove brought with it when it returned to the ark."

In the earliest Christian art, the dove represented the peace of the soul rather than civil peace, but from the third century the dove began to be shown in situations of conflict such as Daniel
Daniel
Daniel is the protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible. In the narrative, when Daniel was a young man, he was taken into Babylonian captivity where he was educated in Chaldean thought. However, he never converted to Neo-Babylonian ways...

 and the lions, the three young men in the furnace
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are characters in the biblical Hebrew book of Daniel Chapters 1 – 3, known for their exclusive devotion to God. In particular, they are known for being saved by divine intervention from the Babylonian execution of being burned alive in a fiery furnace...

, Susannah and the Elders and Noah and the Ark. Before the Peace of Constantine (313 AD), in which Rome ceased its persecution of Christians, Noah is normally shown in an attitude of prayer
Orans
Orans , is a figure with extended arms or bodily attitude of prayer, usually standing, with the elbows close to the sides of the body and with the hands outstretched sideways, palms up....

, a dove with an olive branch nearly always flying toward him or alighting on his outstretched hand. According to Graydon Snyder, "The Noah story afforded the early Christian community an opportunity to express piety and peace in a vessel that withstood the threatening environment" of Roman persecution. For Ludwig Budde and Pierre Prigent, the dove refers to the descending of the Holy Spirit rather than the peace associated with Noah. After the Peace of Constantine, Noah appeared only occasionally in Christian art.

Medieval illuminated manuscript
Illuminated manuscript
An illuminated manuscript is a manuscript in which the text is supplemented by the addition of decoration, such as decorated initials, borders and miniature illustrations...

s such as the Holkham
Holkham
Holkham is a village and civil parish in the north-west of the county of Norfolk, England. Besides the small village, the parish includes the major stately home and estate of Holkham Hall, and an attractive beach at Holkham Gap...

 Bible showed the dove returning to Noah with a branch, and Wycliffe's Bible, which translated the Vulgate into English in the 14th century, uses "a braunche of olyue tre with greene leeuys" ("a branch of olive tree with green leaves") in Gen. 8:11. Even illuminations in Jewish manuscripts in the middle ages could show Noah's dove with an olive branch, for example, the Golden Haggadah (about 1420). English Bibles from the 17th century King James Bible onwards, which translate Noah direct from Hebrew, use "olive leaf", but by this time the dove with an olive branch as a symbol of peace in Noah was firmly established.

Secular representations

  • Late 15th century In the late 15th century, a dove with an olive branch was used on the seal of Dieci di Balia, the Florentine
    Florence
    Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

     committee known as The Ten of Liberty and Peace, whose secretary was Machiavelli; it bore the motto, "Pax et Defencio Libertatis" (Peace and the Defence of Liberty).

  • Late 18th century In 18th century America, a £2 note of North Carolina (1771) depicted the dove and olive with a motto meaning: "Peace restored". Georgia's $40 note of 1778 portrayed the dove and olive and a hand holding a dagger, with a motto meaning "Either war or peace, prepared for both."

  • Early 19th century The Society for the Promotion of Permanent and Universal Peace, also known as The London Peace Society, formed on Quaker initiative in 1816, used the symbol of a dove and olive branch.

  • Early 20th century A German war loan poster of 1917 (see Gallery below) showed the head of an eagle over a dove of peace in flight, with the text, "Subscribe to the War Loan".

  • Mid 20th century Picasso's lithograph, La Colombe (The Dove), a traditional, realistic picture of a pigeon, without an olive branch, was chosen as the emblem for the World Peace Congress in Paris in April 1949. The dove became a symbol for the peace movement and the ideals of the Communist Party
    Communist party
    A political party described as a Communist party includes those that advocate the application of the social principles of communism through a communist form of government...

     and was used in Communist demonstrations of the period. At the 1950 World Peace Congress in Sheffield
    Sheffield
    Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

    , Picasso said that his father had taught him to paint doves, concluding, "I stand for life against death; I stand for peace against war." At the 1952 World Peace Congress in Berlin, Picasso's Dove was depicted in a banner above the stage. The dove symbol was used extensively in the post-war
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     peace movement. Anti-communists
    Anti-communism
    Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

     had their own take on the peace dove: the group Paix et Liberté
    Paix et Liberté
    Paix et Liberté was an anti-communist movement that operated in France during the 1950s.-Founding:In response to the Stockholm Appeal , Jean-Paul David, then Radical Socialist Party deputy mayor of Mantes-la-Jolie and later Secretary General of the Rally of Republican Lefts , created Paix et...

     distributed posters titled La colombe qui fait BOUM (the dove that goes BOOM), showing the peace dove metamorphosing into a Soviet
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     tank
    Tank
    A tank is a tracked, armoured fighting vehicle designed for front-line combat which combines operational mobility, tactical offensive, and defensive capabilities...

    .

The broken rifle



The broken rifle symbol is used by War Resisters' International
War Resisters' International
War Resisters' International is an international anti-war organization with members and affiliates in over thirty countries. Its headquarters are in London, UK.-History:...

 (WRI) and its affiliates but predates the foundation of WRI in 1921. The first known example of the symbol is in the mast-head of the January 1909 issue of De Wapens Neder (Down With Weapons), the monthly paper of the International Antimilitarist Union in the Netherlands. In 1915 it appeared on the cover of a pamphlet, Under det brukne Gevaer (Under the Broken Rifle), published by the Norwegian Social Democratic Youth Association. The (German) League for War Victims, founded in 1917, used the broken rifle on a 1919 banner. In 1921, Belgian workers marching through La Louvrière on 16 October 1921, carried flags showing a soldier breaking his rifle. Ernst Friedrich
Ernst Friedrich
Ernst Friedrich was a French racecar driver.-Indy 500 results:...

, a German who had refused military service, founded the Anti-Kriegs Museum in Berlin with a bas-relief broken rifle over the door, and the Museum distributed broken rifle badges, girl's and women's broaches, boy's belt buckles, and men's tie pins.

The white poppy



In 1933, during a period in which there was widespread fear of war in Europe, the Women's Co-operative Guild
Women's Co-operative Guild
The Co-operative Women's Guild is an auxiliary organisation of the co-operative movement in the United Kingdom which promotes women in co-operative structures and provides social and other services to its members....

 began the practice of distributing white poppies
White Poppy
thumb|right|300px|Artificial poppies placed as [[Anzac Day]] tributes on a [[cenotaph]] in [[New Zealand]]; mostly [[red poppy#Symbol|red poppies]] marketed by the [[Royal New Zealand Returned and Services' Association]], with a lone [[White Poppy]]...

 as an alternative to the red poppies distributed by the Royal British Legion in commemoration of servicemen who died in the First World War. In 1934 the newly-formed Peace Pledge Union
Peace Pledge Union
The Peace Pledge Union is a British pacifist non-governmental organization. It is open to everyone who can sign the PPU pledge: "I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war...

 (PPU), which was the largest British peace organisation in the inter-war years, joined in distributing white poppies and laying white poppy wreaths "as a pledge to peace that war must not happen again". In 1980, the PPU revived the symbol as a way of remembering the victims of war without glorifying militarism.

Roerich's peace banner



Nicholas Roerich
Nicholas Roerich
Nicholas Roerich, also known as Nikolai Konstantinovich Rerikh , was a Russian mystic, painter, philosopher, scientist, writer, traveler, and public figure. A prolific artist, he created thousands of paintings and about 30 literary works...

 (1874–1947) was the founder of a movement to protect cultural artifacts, whose symbol, a maroon on white emblem consisting of three solid circles in a surrounding circle, has been used as a peace banner. In 1935 a pact initiated by Roerich was signed by the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Latin America
Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages  – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...

n nations, agreeing that "historic monuments, museums, scientific, artistic, educational and cultural institutions" should be protected both in times of peace and war. According to the Roerich Museum, "The Banner of Peace symbol has ancient origins. Perhaps its earliest known example appears on Stone Age amulets: three dots, without the enclosing circle. Roerich came across numerous later examples in various parts of the world, and knew that it represented a deep and sophisticated understanding of the triune nature of existence. But for the purposes of the Banner and the Pact, Roerich described the circle as representing the totality of culture, with the three dots being Art, Science, and Religion, three of the most embracing of human cultural activities. He also described the circle as representing the eternity of time, encompassing the past, present, and future. The sacred origins of the symbol, as an illustration of the trinities fundamental to all religions, remain central to the meaning of the Pact and the Banner today."

The peace sign


The internationally recognized symbol for peace was originally designed for the British nuclear disarmament movement by Gerald Holtom
Gerald Holtom
Gerald Herbert Holtom was a British professional designer and artist. In 1958 he designed the logo of the British Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament , which became an international peace symbol....

 in 1958. Holtom, an artist and designer, made it for a march from Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square is a public space and tourist attraction in central London, England, United Kingdom. At its centre is Nelson's Column, which is guarded by four lion statues at its base. There are a number of statues and sculptures in the square, with one plinth displaying changing pieces of...

, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston
Aldermaston
Aldermaston is a rural village, civil parish and electoral ward in Berkshire, South-East England. In the 2001 United Kingdom Census, the parish had a population of 927. The village is on the southern edge of the River Kennet flood plain, near the Hampshire county boundary...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, organised by the Direct Action Committee
Direct Action Committee
The Direct Action Committee against nuclear war was a pacifist organization formed "to assist the conducting of non-violent direct action to obtain the total renunciation of nuclear war and its weapons by Britain and all other countries as a first step in disarmament"...

 to take place in April and supported by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament is an anti-nuclear organisation that advocates unilateral nuclear disarmament by the United Kingdom, international nuclear disarmament and tighter international arms regulation through agreements such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty...

 (CND). Eric Austen (1922–1999) adapted Holtom's designs to ceramic lapel badges.

The symbol is a combination of the semaphore
Flag semaphore
Semaphore Flags is the system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position...

 signals for the letters "N" and "D," standing for "nuclear disarmament". In semaphore
Flag semaphore
Semaphore Flags is the system for conveying information at a distance by means of visual signals with hand-held flags, rods, disks, paddles, or occasionally bare or gloved hands. Information is encoded by the position of the flags; it is read when the flag is in a fixed position...

 the letter "N" is formed by a person holding two flags in an upside-down "V," and the letter "D" is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. Superimposing these two signs forms the shape of the centre of the peace symbol. The original drawing by Gerald Holtom of the CND symbol is housed in the Peace Museum in Bradford
Bradford
Bradford lies at the heart of the City of Bradford, a metropolitan borough of West Yorkshire, in Northern England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, west of Leeds, and northwest of Wakefield. Bradford became a municipal borough in 1847, and received its charter as a city in 1897...

, England.

Holtom later wrote to Hugh Brock
Hugh Brock
Hugh Brock was a lifelong British pacifist, editor of Peace News between 1955 and 1964, a promoter of non-violent direct action and a founder of the Direct Action Committee, a forerunner of the Committee of 100....

, editor of Peace News
Peace News
Peace News is a pacifist magazine first published on 6 June 1936 to serve the peace movement in the United Kingdom. From later in 1936 to April 1961 it was the official paper of the Peace Pledge Union , and from 1990 to 2004 was co-published with War Resisters' International.-History:Peace News was...

, explaining the genesis of his idea in greater depth: "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
The Third of May 1808
The Third of May 1808 is a painting completed in 1814 by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. In the work, Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon's armies during the occupation of 1808...

. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it." Ken Kolsbum, a correspondent of Holtom's, says that the designer came to regret the symbolism of despair, as he felt that peace was something to be celebrated and wanted the symbol to be inverted. Eric Austen is said to have "discovered that the 'gesture of despair' motif had long been associated with 'the death of man', and the circle with 'the unborn child'," possibly referring to images in Rudolf Koch
Rudolf Koch
thumb|250px|[[Fraktur]] fonts by Rudolf KochRudolf Koch was a leading German calligrapher, typographic artist and teacher, born in Nuremberg. He was primarily a calligrapher with the Gebr. Klingspor foundry. He created several typefaces, in both fraktur and roman styles...

's The Book of Signs, (Das Zeichenbuch, 1923) an English edition of which had been published in 1955.


The symbol became the badge of CND and wearing it became a sign of support for the campaign for unilateral nuclear disarmament
Nuclear disarmament
Nuclear disarmament refers to both the act of reducing or eliminating nuclear weapons and to the end state of a nuclear-free world, in which nuclear weapons are completely eliminated....

 by Britain. An account of CND's early history described it as "a visual adhesive to bind the [Aldermaston] March and later the whole Campaign together ... probably the most powerful, memorable and adaptable image ever designed for a secular cause."

Not patented or restricted, the symbol spread beyond CND and was adopted by the wider anti-war movement. It became known in the United States in 1958 when Albert Bigelow
Albert Bigelow
Albert S. Bigelow was a pacifist and former United States Navy Commander, who came to prominence in the 1950s as the skipper of the Golden Rule, the first vessel to attempt disruption of a nuclear test in protest against nuclear weapons.-Peace Movement:Prior to his involvement in the peace...

, a pacifist protester, sailed a small boat fitted with the CND banner into the vicinity of a nuclear test. Buttons with the symbol were imported into the United States in 1960 by Philip Altbach, a freshman at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

. Altbach had traveled to England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 to meet with British peace groups as a delegate from the Student Peace Union
Student Peace Union
Student Peace Union was a nationwide student organization active on college campuses in the United States from 1959 to 1964. Its national headquarters were located near the campus of the University of Chicago....

 (SPU) and on his return he persuaded the SPU to adopt the symbol. Between 1960 and 1964 they sold thousands of the buttons on college campuses. By end of the decade it had become a generic peace sign, crossing national and cultural boundaries.

An article published in 1970 by the John Birch Society
John Birch Society
The John Birch Society is an American political advocacy group that supports anti-communism, limited government, a Constitutional Republic and personal freedom. It has been described as radical right-wing....

 claimed that the peace symbol had Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

, anti-Christian, Satanist
Satanism
Satanism is a group of religions that is composed of a diverse number of ideological and philosophical beliefs and social phenomena. Their shared feature include symbolic association with, admiration for the character of, and even veneration of Satan or similar rebellious, promethean, and...

 and Nazi associations, a claim that has been repeated by Christian conservatives.

In Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

, the peace symbol is U+262E: , and can thus be generated in HTML
HTML
HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

 by typing ☮ or ☮. However, internet browsers may not have a typeface that can display it.

The peace flag


The international peace flag in the colours of the rainbow was first used in Italy on a 1961 peace march from Perugia
Perugia
Perugia is the capital city of the region of Umbria in central Italy, near the River Tiber, and the capital of the province of Perugia. The city is located about north of Rome. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area....

 to Assisi
Assisi
- Churches :* The Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi is a World Heritage Site. The Franciscan monastery, il Sacro Convento, and the lower and upper church of St Francis were begun immediately after his canonization in 1228, and completed in 1253...

 organised by the pacifist and social philosopher Aldo Capitini
Aldo Capitini
Aldo Capitini was a leading Italian theorist of nonviolence, known as the "Italian Gandhi".-Introduction:Nonviolent methodologies were used effectively for the first time by Gandhi in South Africa and later in the fight for independence against the British Empire in the early 1940s...

 (1899–1968). Inspired by the peace flags used on British peace marches, Capitini got some women of Perugia hurriedly to sew together coloured strips of material. The march has been repeated many times since 1961, the most recent in 2010. The original flag is kept by Capitini's collaborator, Dr. Lanfranco Mencaroni, at Collevalenza, near Todi
Todi
Todi is a town and comune of the province of Perugia in central Italy. It is perched on a tall two-crested hill overlooking the east bank of the river Tiber, commanding distant views in every direction.In the 1990s, Richard S...

.

The flag commonly has seven rainbow
Rainbow
A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines on to droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. It takes the form of a multicoloured arc...

-colored stripes with the word "Peace" in the center. It has been explained as follows: "In the account of the Great Flood, God set the rainbow to a seal the alliance with man and nature, promising that there will never be another Flood. The rainbow thus became a symbol of Peace across the earth and the sky, and, by extension, among all men." The flag usually has the colours violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red from top to bottom, but some have the violet stripe below the blue one (as in the picture below) or a white one at the top. A picture of Capitini's first peace flag shows the colours red, orange, white, green, violet, indigo and lavender.

The use of the flag became widespread with the Pace da tutti i balconi ("Peace from every balcony") campaign in 2002, a protest against the impending war in Iraq. In 2003, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera
Corriere della Sera
The Corriere della Sera is an Italian daily newspaper, published in Milan.It is among the oldest and most reputable Italian newspapers. Its main rivals are Rome's La Repubblica and Turin's La Stampa.- History :...

reported the opinion of leading advertising executives that it had become more popular than the Italian national flag. In November 2009, a huge peace flag, 21m wide by 40m long, was made in Lecce
Lecce
Lecce is a historic city of 95,200 inhabitants in southern Italy, the capital of the province of Lecce, the second province in the region by population, as well as one of the most important cities of Puglia...

, Salento
Salento
Salento is the south-eastern extremity of the Apulia region of Italy. It is a sub-peninsula of the main Italian Peninsula, sometimes described as the "heel" of the Italian "boot"...

, by young members of "GPACE - Youth for Peace - Give Peace a Chance Everywhere".

The V sign



The V sign
V sign
The V sign is a hand gesture in which the index and middle fingers are raised and parted, while the other fingers are clenched. It has various meanings, depending on the cultural context and how it is presented...

 is a hand gesture, palm outwards, with the index and middle fingers open and all others closed. It had been used to represent victory during the Second World War. In protests in the USA against the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 in the 1960s and in subsequent anti-war protests it was adopted by the counterculture
Counterculture
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior...

 as a sign of peace. A photo of John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 making this peace sign, taken by Bob Gruen
Bob Gruen
Bob Gruen is an American photographer known for his rock 'n' roll photographs.Gruen was born in New York City. He began photographing rock stars with Bob Dylan and served as John Lennon's personal photographer during his time in New York City. Gruen is best known for his photograph of Lennon...

, has been made into a poster.

Paper Cranes



The crane
Crane (bird)
Cranes are a family, Gruidae, of large, long-legged and long-necked birds in the order Gruiformes. There are fifteen species of crane in four genera. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back...

, a traditional symbol of luck in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, was popularized as a peace symbol by the story of Sadako Sasaki
Sadako Sasaki
was a Japanese girl who was two years old when the atomic bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945, near her home by Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima, Japan. Sadako is remembered through the story of attempting to fold a thousand origami cranes before her death, a wish which was memorialized in popular...

 (1943–1955), a girl who died as a result of the atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

 in 1945. According to the story, popularized through the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes is a non-fiction children's book written by American author Eleanor Coerr and published in 1977.This true story is of a girl, Sadako Sasaki, who lived in Hiroshima at the time of the atomic bombing by the United States...

, in her last illness she started folding paper cranes, inspired by the Japanese saying that one who folded a thousand paper cranes was granted a wish.

Fire


Fire is used as a peace symbol in Japan, as, for example, in the Tōshō-gū shrine of the eternal flame of peace. (See Gallery).

Shalom/Salaam



A wordmark
Wordmark
A wordmark, word mark or logotype is a standardized text logo or graphic representation of the name of a company, institution, or product name used for purposes of identification and branding. A wordmark is usually a distinct text-only typographic treatment as can be found in the graphic identities...

 of the three words, Hebrew word "Shalom
Shalom
Shalom is a Hebrew word meaning peace, completeness, and welfare and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye...

" (Hebrew: ), together with the Arabic "Salaam
S-L-M
Shin-Lamedh-Mem is the triconsonantal root of many Semitic words, and many of those words are used as names. The root itself translates as "whole, safe, intact".-Salam "Peace":...

" (Arabic: ) and the English word "peace" has been used as a peace symbol in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

 and other places such as the USA. Shalom and Salaam mean "peace" and are cognate
Cognate
In linguistics, cognates are words that have a common etymological origin. This learned term derives from the Latin cognatus . Cognates within the same language are called doublets. Strictly speaking, loanwords from another language are usually not meant by the term, e.g...

s of each other, derived from the Semitic
Semitic
In linguistics and ethnology, Semitic was first used to refer to a language family of largely Middle Eastern origin, now called the Semitic languages...

 triconsonantal of Ś-L-M (realized in Hebrew as Š-L-M
S-L-M
Shin-Lamedh-Mem is the triconsonantal root of many Semitic words, and many of those words are used as names. The root itself translates as "whole, safe, intact".-Salam "Peace":...

 and in Arabic as S-L-M
S-L-M
Shin-Lamedh-Mem is the triconsonantal root of many Semitic words, and many of those words are used as names. The root itself translates as "whole, safe, intact".-Salam "Peace":...

). The symbol has come to represent peace in the Middle East and an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Wall plaques, signs, T-shirts, and buttons are sold with only those words.(See Gallery)

External links