Gerald Holtom

Gerald Holtom

Gerald Holtom

Gerald Holtom
Gerald Holtom
Gerald Holtom is likely a name you don't know. Ironically, you probably do have something he created and if you don't you would immediately recognize what he designed. The whole world recognizes what he designed.
By 1958, the world had become capable of destroying itself. The United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics had joined the United States in developing nuclear weapon technology. Each continued to develop more powerful bombs as well as ways to deliver them.  [France joined the club in 1960)
Many Europeans logically assumed that the next world war would include such weapons.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

On February 17, 1958 a group called the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament had its founding meeting in Westminster, England.  Their goal was then and still is now  to eliminate nuclear weapons.
They wanted an image to represent their organization during a planned Easter march.  On February 21,  professor Gerald Holtom presented a symbol he had designed. Holtom was a professional artist and graduate of the Royal College of Arts in London.
It simply communicated two of the organization's initials: N and D.
In the 19th century flag communication system known as semaphore, the letter N  is represented by holding the two signal flags angled at one's side:
Gerald Holtom
N in semaphore
The letter D is represented by holding the flags vertically:
Gerald Holtom
D in semaphore
Overlapped and surrounded by a circle they appear thusly:

512px-Peace_symbol.svg

 

It is not…

A) a chicken foot.

B) a B-52 bomber.

C) a broken Christian cross

D) nor whatever else someone has told you unless it ‘s the above


The Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC)  organized the 1958 Aldermaston march at Easter. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament supported it. Several thousand people marched for four days from Trafalgar Square, London, to the Atomic Weapons Establishment to demonstrate their opposition to nuclear weapons.

Gerald Holtom

Gerald Holtom

Gerald Holtom was born on January 20, 1914. He died on September 18, 1985...
Gerald Holtom
Gerald Holtom grave (photo by JohnRobert Mauney)
...but of course the symbol he designed nearly continues to be a part of the expression of peace and hope in an atmosphere of irrational aggression.

 

2 thoughts on “Gerald Holtom”

  1. Thank you for this information on Gerald Holtom.
    I have tattooed my front lawn with the peace symbol, and now, at last, I have factual information to tell people WHY I have done it.

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