History of the Peace Sign

The Peace Sign is universally recognized and accepted the world over for it iconic representation for a nonviolent solution as well as in protest of nuclear expansion and armament. Credit for creation of this sign is widely given to British physicist Gerald Holtom for support of nuclear disarmament in his native country. As with all things it was eventually brought west to the US and adopted by the Hippie movement and widely seen in protest of the Vietnam War. In the present modern society the icon continues to inspire a belief in a peaceful solution to ones differences.

The history of this beloved symbol goes further back in time and possess a far different meaning than the one we know today. The origins of the Peace Sign have been attributed as far back as the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero ( 54 to 68 AD ). The symbol was know as the cross of Nero it represents a cross with arms broken downward surrounded by a circle proclaiming Nero's vision of peace without Christians. The symbol is believed to be Nero's answer to suppress Christianity during his reign. This meaning is hotly contested depending on what side you take.

The Symbol is also seen an many alphabets of both ancient Norse and Germanic tribes the meaning is not always known from tribe to tribe. The symbol has however been attributed as the Teutonic rune of death I have done considerable research on this attribution and have not been able to verify is origins in any accepted scholarly works. Despite not finding correlating evidence this meaning is widely accepted among many Christians.

The Peace Sign made yet another appearance during the Second World War ( 1939 -1945 ) in both Nazi propaganda and on their uniforms. Most notably seen on the uniforms of the 3rd Panzer Division who operated in all European theaters. The icon is also seen in many German World War Two cemeteries both inscribed on headstones and as headstones. As with many symbols adopted by the Nazis such as the Swastika ( the original peace sign ) their meanings were changed and distorted if by nothing more than association.

Now we come to present day. The Peace Sign has different meanings to different people but it is universally accepted and used to promote a peaceful solution to difficult problems. The symbol is always seen at rallies and protest but its use is often overshadowed by the violence that often seems to occur. Its widely seen and used as hippie accessories and adorns all manner of items including clothing, purses, bumper stickers and about anything else you can think of. Knowing the history of the Peace Sign helps everyone understand and acknowledge that its meaning can be different from one group to another. Helping furthering a better understanding between peoples and fostering valuable conversation after all that's what its all about.


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