Celebrate the birth and life of the peace symbol,
which became 50 years old in 2008.

history of the symbol

The first famous person to use the peace symbol was pacifist Bertrand Russell. His group, The Committee for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) used it during a protest march in 1958 for nuclear disarmament in Aldermaston, England. Activist Gerald Holtom, who designed the symbol based it on the international semaphore alphabet. This system uses flag signals in place of letters like a code. The peace sign is actually the flag signals for
N and D superimposed upon each other and it stands for Nuclear Disarmament.

It has since become the international symbol for peace.

The first peace symbol badges were made by Eric Austin of Kensington, England CND in 1958 using white clay with the symbol painted black. They were distributed with a note explaining that in the event of a nuclear war, these fired pottery badges would be among the few human artifacts to survive the nuclear inferno. 

Left to right: first ceramic CND badge, early tin badge, current badge.

peace symbol badge available from peacebuttons.info


The CND is still active in the UK today.

Take a look.


One of the first known uses of the peace symbol
in the U.S. by the Student Peace Union (1960-61)

Take a look... (pdf)

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What people are saying about the buttons…

"....We had our fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders on Tuesday and Wednesday.

We sold a number of peace buttons (for $1 each), etc. for a total of $300.

We were so excited!" - R.G. Lexington, KY

"I just wanted to let you know that I received the buttons, etc. yesterday. They're great!!!

I really like them a lot, and the sign, postcards, everything is wonderful. I've been handing them out to

my friends and they really appreciate them. We all understand what solidarity means, and it's great to

know that there are thoughtful caring people out there all over the map as you have proven.

I think this is a great project, keep up the great work!
- from Mississauga, Ontario

"I really like the way it looks –classy and appropriate for men, women and children

–and I like the union logo.

I’ve been wearing mine daily and would like to order some for our local peace action group."

-from Fresno, CA

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