The Nuclear Symbol of Peace

With the signing of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty on 8 December 1987 Reagan and Gorbachev finally brought to an end the nuclear standoff between the United States and the USSR. For the preceding four decades, the ever-present threat of atomic warfare caused consternation across the globe. In the UK, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was formed in 1957 to call for an end to nuclear weapons. The following year British artist and designer, Gerald Holtom, created the group’s logo, which would become one of the most famous symbols in the world. What began as a symbol of despair during the Cold War is now seen as a universal symbol of peace that remains potent to this day.

Banksy SoldiersAlso widely used as a protest symbol, the CND circle has often been incorporated into politically-engaged street art. In one corner of London, the emblem can be seen transformed from a peace dove in the Nuclear Dawn graffiti. More recently, Banksy featured the symbol in his anti-war stencil, Soldiers Painting Peace. The work was famously removed from outside the Houses of Parliament for supposedly violating a law against unauthorised protest, before being recreated in a display at Tate Britain in 2007.

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