Talk:Peace symbols/Archive 2

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Archive 1 Archive 2 Archive 3


I have taken the liberty of rating this as "B" on the quality scale and "Low" on the importance scale, but I am open to suggestions. Marshall46 (talk) 11:52, 30 September 2010 (UTC)

Section heading consistency

Section headings should use a consistent genre. The section heading "Japanese symbols" uses a country name for its genre (type), whereas the other section headings don't. - Boyd Reimer (talk) 13:05, 30 December 2010 (UTC)


Moved some images around some; no big deal either way. Rationales are in the edit summary, including: the placement of images to the left and right is said to improve the visual presentation of an article.
The arboculture image is less apt than some of them and I would not have included it if it were not of very high quality. There is a replacement available, but it was kind of boring so I did not add it: File:Peace dollar reverse.jpg |An eagle clutches an olive branch on the reverse of the 1921 Peace dollar

Anarchangel (talk) 02:42, 11 April 2011 (UTC)
Good changes, but I think the arboculture image is pretty random - you could multiply images of the peace sign endlessly, so why this one?
Not sure that the John Lennon Peace monument is part of this article, which is about symbols, not monuments. Marshall46 (talk) 09:56, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Italian peace flag

I have added an external link to photos of variations on the Italian peace flag in use. I marked [citation needed], then removed, "According to some sources, the position of the word "peace" was originally occupied by a white dove." I have searched the web for such a statement and could not find one. As the picture of Capitini's orginal flag shows neither the word "peace" nor a dove, there is no point in keeping in this unreferenced error. Marshall46 (talk) 11:04, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

White Dove

A white dove is often used in modern contexts, and I do not feel this is represented well enough in section "The dove and olive branch". ee-- (talk) 11:25, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

There are four pictures of the white dove in the gallery. The article states, "The dove symbol was used extensively in the post-war peace movement," but it lacks citations. If you can provide some, they would be welcome. Marshall46 (talk) 12:10, 12 November 2010 (UTC)
I have tagged with [citation needed] the statement that the image of the dove and olive leaf in [Gen 8:11] has subsequently been read as a peace symbol. The early Christians used the dove and olive branch as a peace symbol, clearly writing ειρεηε (eirene, the Greek word for "peace") next to pictures of it. It is arguable that they did not derive this symbol from Genesis. The dove is a simile of the Holy Spirit descending during baptism in [Mt 3:16], which makes no reference to Noah, and the olive branch comes from Greek mythology, where it is associated with Eirene, the goddess of peace. Note that Noah's dove comes back not with an olive branch but with a leaf. What is the earliest reference that conflates Matthew, Eirene and Noah? Marshall46 (talk) 10:39, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
I have cited Donfried and Richardson as a secondary source. Graydon D. Snyder suggests that the first representation of Noah with the dove and olive branch as a peace symbol was the 4th century sarcophagus of Julia Juliane, now in the Vatican. Fairly conclusive evidence that this is a Christian symbol incorporating a pagan image subsequently applied to a story in the Hebrew Bible. Marshall46 (talk) 12:46, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
To Christians the dove represented the Holy Spirit, and with the pagan olive branch it came to represent peace, in which form it was seen until the 20th century. Was Picasso the first person to use the dove as a peace symbol without the olive branch? I think so. In that case, it is quite recent. Marshall46 (talk) 14:10, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
I have added more from Snyder, who describes the significance of the Noah story to early Christians before the Peace of Constantine and their incorporation of the Christian peace symbol of the dove and olive branch into pictures of it.
There is a big historical gap between the Peace of Constantine (313 AD) and the 18th century representations of the dove and olive branch on American currency. Did the symbol fall into disuse for 1500 years and did the Americans revive it? Marshall46 (talk) 09:21, 19 April 2011 (UTC)
Illustrations in medieval illuminated manuscripts now referred to, plus the use of the symbol by the Dieci di Balia in 15th century Florence - the earliest secular use I have been able to find. Marshall46 (talk) 09:47, 25 August 2011 (UTC)
I have now recorded the following sequence of events in the establishment of the dove and olive branch as a peace symbol and its association with the story of Noah:
  • 1st century: First Epistle of Peter draws a parallel between the water of baptism and Noah's salvation by water.
  • 1st-2nd century: Tertullian in On Baptism draws a parallel between the peace brought by the dove of the Holy Spirit and the dove that comes to Noah "with the olive branch", presumably a reference to the pagan symbol of peace.
  • 2nd-5th centuries: Art in Christian catacombs uses the symbol of dove with olive branch to accompany baptism, the word "Peace" and Noah. The symbol is transferred from representations of spiritual peace to civil peace.
  • 4th century: St Jerome's translation of the story of Noah from Hebrew to Latin, probably reflecting established doctrine, renders the Hebrew for "olive leaf" into the Latin for "olive branch".
  • 5th century: St Augustine in On Christian Doctrine explicitly states that the dove and olive branch in the story of Noah represents eternal peace. Marshall46 (talk) 15:58, 24 August 2011 (UTC)


The John Lennon peace monument and the Japanese peace bell are single objects indicating the wish for peace - monuments rather than symbols. Why are they in here? Marshall46 (talk) 13:08, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Any comments? If not I will remove those sections. Marshall46 (talk) 12:17, 18 April 2011 (UTC)
As there were no objections, I removed them. Marshall46 (talk) 10:01, 27 April 2011 (UTC)

Aristophanes, "Peace"

I deleted this:

'It was mentioned by the Greek playwright Aristophanes in Peace (Eirene), where he refers to "greatest of all goddesses, Eirene, goddess of peace, her to whom the olive is so dear".'

Although some translations do mention the olive in this context, the relevant word in Peace, φιλάμπελος, is given as "loving the vine" here. Marshall46 (talk) 11:49, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Not a missle in a circle?

I had always thought the symbol for nuclear disarmament was a missle (with exagerrated flights) in a circle - aping some circular traffic signs in Europe which have a silouette of what is forbidden (such as a car). It seems I may have been wrong! Dainamo (talk) 07:59, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Without the specific red color, prohibition really would not be understood unless there's a diagonal slash in the circle (though I'm not too sure whether the slash-in-circle prohibition symbol was very common in 1950s Britain...). AnonMoos (talk) 10:18, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
Several sources say the designer based it on semaphore, not on the image of a missile. Marshall46 (talk) 13:07, 30 January 2012 (UTC)

Common mistake

The Mercedes-Benz symbol is often confused with Holtom's peace symbol.Lestrade (talk) 22:53, 21 February 2012 (UTC)Lestrade 100px


I removed this passage from the section concerning the evolution of the dove-and-olive branch as a peace symbol:

"However, in the Septuagint (the text used by Jesus, the Apostles, and early Christians) it is written: "and the dove went back to him toward evening, and it had an olive leaf, a dry twig, in its mouth, and Noah knew that the water had subsided from the earth." This was symbolic of the peace between God and man."

I did so for the following reasons:

  • Since the Septuagint quotation is given without the original Greek, it is hard to see what it is intended to add.
  • It is also hard discern the significance of the statement that the Septuagint was used by Jesus, the Apostles and the early Christians. Anyway, this statement is unsupported. Most scholars think that Jesus spoke Aramaic, but as a man versed in Jewish learning he would have been able to read the Torah in Hebrew. Why would he use the Septuagint?
  • The assertion that Noah's dove "was symbolic of the peace between God and man" does not add or explain anything: the question is to whom it was symbolic and how it became a symbol. The earliest documentary evidence we have that it was regarded as a peace symbol is from the late first century in the catacombs of Rome and Sousse and in Tertullian - not in the Septuagint nor in any words of Jesus or the Apostles. Marshall46 (talk) 13:03, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

SS symbol

I removed this sentence:

"The symbol resembles an encircled toten rune."

We have Gerald Holtom's statement about how he designed the symbol. The fact that the editor who inserted the above sentence gives no source and refers to Holtom as the "supposed designer" suggests that he is promoting a point of view.

The supposed connection to Nazi symbols and Ayrian runes has been discussed here and here. Marshall46 (talk) 13:24, 27 March 2012 (UTC)

Fringe theories

I removed a long passage about the peace sign, which gives undue weight to the fringe theories of David E. Gumaer about Satanism, etc. Unfortunately they keep recurring, so it is necessary to deal with them in detail.

The peace symbol was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a commercial artist and a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). It is well documented that he based it on the semaphore signs for the letters N and D. For twelve years, nobody supposed the peace symbol meant anything other than the nuclear disarmament movement or, more generally, peace. Then, in 1970, the extreme right-wing John Birch Society, who thought that even President Eisenhower was a Communist, published an article by Gumaer, saying the peace symbol had Communist, Nazi and Satanic associations. (Gumaer, David E. Peace Symbols: The Truth About Those Strange Designs, American Opinion, June 1970) Gumaer's claims have spread among extreme conservatives and occultists, to the extent that some people now state as a fact that the "real" meaning of the peace symbol is Satanism, Communism or Nazism. Every such statement can be traced directly to Gumaer, even though those who put his theories forward are usually unaware of their origins.

What exactly did Gumaer say?

  • The peace symbol was in existence before Holtom designed it in 1958.

In order to make his case, Gumaer includes a crude picture of Satan with CND symbols drawn all over it. This is supposed to be a 16th century woodcut but it is not a woodcut at all and was obviously drawn specially for Gumaer's article.

  • The peace symbol was designed by Bertrand Russell, whom Gumaer describes as a Communist.

Bertrand Russell had nothing to do with the design and was never a Communist.

  • The peace symbol is the so-called "Nero Cross", the inverted crucifix on which St Peter was martyred and which has become an anti-Christian symbol.

The peace symbol looks nothing like St Peter's cross. There is no record of any "Nero Cross" until Gumaer invented it in 1970.

  • The peace symbol is the yr-rune.

Runes are letters in pre-Roman German alphabets. As you can make many shapes from lines and circles, some are bound to look similar. As it happens, the semaphore for N and D – the middle of the peace symbol without the circle – has the same shape as the yr-rune, but there is no other connection.

  • The peace symbol is the ancient death rune.

Gumaer draws on The Book of Signs by Rudolf Koch (Das Zeichenbuch, 1923) which shows the yr-rune captioned "The man dies". This is supposed to prove the occult origins of the peace sign. But the death rune is a 20th century fabrication. From about 1880 to 1945, German writers on the occult began to say that runes were not merely letters in the pre-Roman alphabet but that they had a power of their own. Every writer said something different. Von List invented one system, Wiligut invented another, neither with any basis in history or philology. Koch made yet another interpretation, also unsupported by evidence. There is nothing to indicate that Holtom, the man who designed the peace symbol, knew anything about Koch or runes.

  • The peace symbol's real and inner meaning is not peace as Holtom intended, but Satanism, Communism and Nazism.

Symbols have no "real" or "inner" meaning. They are conventions, like letters or road signs, and mean only what people say they mean. The peace sign means what Holtom and the peace movement said it means: anti H-bomb and pro-peace. It started to mean Satanism, Nazism and Communism only in 1970 when Gumaer said that's what it meant. -- 09:25, 28 March 2012‎ User:Marshall46

Most of this has been discussed in the archives... AnonMoos (talk) 16:51, 28 March 2012 (UTC)
Another idea that keeps cropping up (and which I have removed from the article) is that the peace sign was used by the SS and copied from them by CND. The earliest source for this alleged use is a drawing in Theodor Hartmann's Wehrmacht Divisional Signs, London: Almark Publishing Co., 1970 - again, after the peace sign had become well-known. You can see it here (p.40, No.60). Hartmann gives no source for the drawing and no photograph of the symbol in use by the SS has ever been produced. Theodor Hartmann is unknown apart from this book. For all these reasons he is an unreliable source. Marshall46 (talk) 13:01, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Peace symbol origins

The following reference will supplement the evidence that Holtom got the CND symbol from Koch's work and corroborate Peggy Duff's statement on the runic origin of the symbol. Gerald Holtom explained to the meeting that...the broken cross could also mean the death of man,(which Peggy duff also stated) whereas the circle symbolized the unborn child.

This explanation of the symbolism comes from Rudoph Koch's The Book of Signs, which is almost certainly where Holtom got his inspiration. Koch's book, which contains almost 500 symbols from medieval Europe, was first published in Britain in 1930, but it was issued as a cheap paperback by Dover Publications in 1955 and became popular among art students at that time. As the director of a design studio, it is unlikely that Holtom did not have a copy. His explanation of the symbol for a dead man and the symbol for an unborn child match those of Koch precisely. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Boundarylayer (talkcontribs) 17:20, 16 January 2013 (UTC)

I see the "Nero Cross" has surfaced in this article again. There seems to be evidence that the idea of the "Nero Cross" was the product of a deliberate forgery by the John Birch Society. See for an interesting view. Pelarmian (talk) 11:26, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

The Peace Flag

I deleted this section. There were no sources given, the text appeared to be copyright violation, lifted word-for-word from The Peace Flag, and there also appears to be a conflict of interest. However, if a secondary source can be found for this initiative it can go back. Pelarmian (talk) 12:02, 20 December 2013 (UTC)

Broader perspective

This article focuses primarily on western cultural symbols for peace, only covering visual symbols. Can the perspective of this article be broadened? Is this worth attempting? (talk) 23:28, 23 January 2014 (UTC)

Masonic Origin?

If this was designed as a peace symbol in 1958, why is it seen on masonic garb in a photo from 1937? From 1937 opening of masonic lodge in NimbinSeasalt (talk) 11:46, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

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