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1958 - Peace Symbol Created

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Peace symbol drawn in sand.

Peace symbol drawn in sand.

(Seth Joel / Getty Images)

Peace Symbol Created (1958): In 1958, British artist Gerald Holtom drew a circle with three lines inside, intending the design to be a symbol for the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC). The design incorporates a circle with the lines within it representing the simplified positions of two semaphore letters (the system of using flags to send information great distances, such as from ship to ship). The letters "N" and "D" were used to represent "nuclear disarmament." (The "N" is formed by a person holding a flag in each hand and then pointing them toward the ground at a 45 degree angle. The "D" is formed by holding one flag straight down and one straight up.)

Holtom finished his design on February 21, 1958 and the design was then first introduced to the public at a DAC march on April 4. The symbol quickly spread. In Britain, the symbol became the emblem for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), thus causing the design to become synonymous with nuclear disarmament. In 1960, the symbol migrated to the United States and began to be used as a symbol for the peace movement.

This symbol has become internationally recognized and is still used by peace activists today.

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