by Steve Kramer, 29-MAY-1996
The actual colors and sizes seem to vary. I've seen white on black (pictured) most often; others are white on blue, green on white, and pink on black. The most common proportions are 3:5.
Steve Kramer, 29-MAY-1996
Symbolism of the flag
The symbol consists of the semaphore letters "N" and "D" (for "nuclear disarmament") inside a circle. The original colors were, as shown in the image above, white on black. According to The CND Story by John Minnion and Philip Bolsover (1983), Holtom and other CND artists pointed out other symbolism in the flag as well: the semaphores together, without the circle, look like a stick figure with its arms outstretched -- "the gesture of a human being in despair"; the circle represents the womb or unborn generations, as well as the world; and the color black represents eternity.
Bruce Tindall, 29-MAY-1996
Another, presumably 'unofficial', explanation is that it is the cross of christ with the arms drooping in despair. The symbol is also, in fact, the Death Rune of the Futhark runic alphabet. Whether this is an intentional similarity or not, CND supporters, particularly 'Christian' ones, used to get very uppity when this was pointed out!
Stuart A. Notholt, 30-MAY-1996
The "peace sign" was originally the symbol of the (U.K.) Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). It was designed by Gerald Holtom in 1958. The frequently-repeated but mistaken belief that it was designed by Bertrand Russell probably stems from the fact that Russell was the president of the CND at the time.
The first public use of the symbol was on flags and placards during the 1958 Aldermaston march (in England). It was described in Manchester Guardian articles covering the march.
Bruce Tindall, 28-MAY-1996
The peace symbol has a convoluted and confusing history. It's most notable appearance in modern times was its first use by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) at their Aldermaston march in 1956. The CND meaning of the symbol is semaphore for 'N' (the two diagonal lines) and 'D' (the two vertical lines). About ten years later, the symbol was adopted as a general peace sign within the student anti-war movement. It became probably the single best known symbol of the youth culture of the sixties. The CND was partly based on traditional churches, and I think they were also conscious of mixing two historic Christian symbols:
With the appropriation of the symbol by the peace movement in the sixties, non-traditional and fundamentalist Christians (who apparently knew nothing of Christian symbols) placed a satanic meaning on it, calling it the Witch's Foot, or Crow's Foot (and sometimes Chicken's Foot), or Broken Cross. In the 1980s, the symbol was further appropriated (at least in the U.S.) to represent environmentalism. In this sense, it is rendered as a blue and green imitation of the U.S. flag, with the peace symbol replacing the stars in the canton.
T.F. Mills, 9-OCT-1996