Illustration of a black peace symbol with the USSR flag on one side and the American flag on the other
BUTR-772938 copyright RPP Inc
This button was one of several other peace promoting buttons that were released during the Cold War (1947 - 1991). The flags represent the two major countries involved in the War; the United States and the USSR (former Soviet Union). The War ended when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
The peace sign was originally created in 1958 by Gerald Holtom for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. Inspired partly by semaphore flag signals for "N" and "D" (Nuclear Disarmament), Holtom sketched the symbol several times in preparation for the upcoming protests. Afterward the symbol was adopted by the American Student Peace Union in the 1960s, it grew to become the iconic symbol that we know today. Holtom passed away in 1985, and his collection of sketches was donated to the Commonweal Collection at the University of Bradford.