The Iconic Peace Symbol

Near the end of February in 1958, Gerald Holtom, a Graphic Design Artist and a former conscientious objector, attended an early evening meeting of the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War (DAC) in South London. The committee's three members--Hugh Brock, Pat Arrowsmith, and Michael Randle--were planning a protest march against Nuclear Weapons. The 50 mile long march was to start in London on Good Friday and end on Easter Sunday at a Nuclear weapons factory in Aldermaston. "So Gerry, let's see what you have for us", said Brock. Holtom opened his portfolio and pulled out his pictures, "I've tried a simple approach," he said, pointing to the three llines in a circle. He explained that when drawing the symbol, he adopted letters from semaphore, the alphabet used by people sending messages by flags. The two lines pointing downward and to the sides came from the semaphore letter N and the center center line represented the letter D. Placed on top of each other enclosed in a circle, the three lines stood for "Nuclear Disarmament." After the meeting, Randle showed the symbol to a colleague in the Peace Movement. "What on earth were you thinking?" said the bewildered man. "It doesn't mean a thing, and will never catch on."

This Symbol went on to mean a lot more to people seeking change in the World, especially in the 1960's. It was very popular and used in demonstrations to end the Vietnam War. It is still an Iconic symbol used today for the purpose of promoting Peace in the World. This symbol is one of the most recognizable symbols in the world: A circle surrounding 3 lines.

Robert Stilwell

Retired Mfg Supervisor

Volume 16, Issue 2, Posted 5:03 PM, 02.01.2024