As it has for the vast majority of the United States’ history, war continues to ravage the world of today. Countless lives and billions of dollars have been lost in the furnace of what seems to be an eternal fire that, though it may weaken at times, has never quite been put out. In times of war, people look for something to unite them. They search for anything that could bring different groups together, whether it be a hand gesture, a symbol, or even a slogan. Just as the victory sign helped spread a hopeful message of peace and unity during and after World War II, the peace sign carried a similar message as it fostered hope that this peace could be kept. Through understanding the peace sign’s historical context, its commonplaces concerning appeals of pathos, and the demographic that embraced the symbol, the potential for this civic artifact to facilitate peace in today’s contentious society can be unlocked.
Created by Gerald Herbert Holtom in 1958 and publicized by Bertrand Russell in the same year, the peace sign came into existence at at time in which many injustices were being done in Europe. It became a symbol that showed the innocent people’s surrender to firing squads at first, giving way to its future meaning of hoping to achieve nuclear disarmament.
While today the peace sign’s use is not overly common, the basic idea that all societies should get along still remains as commonplace as it was during the 1950s through the 1980s. Although the symbol itself may not display an emotion-provoking image, its historical context supplies the image with all of the emotional appeal necessary for the symbol’s message to be heeded. People’s fear of their loved ones dying as a result of nuclear war provided quite the incentive for them to utilize the peace sign not only as a symbol of hope, but as a tool of protest.
Sign was embraced strongly by adolescents and millennials.
Counterarguments including the artifacts use to represent violent or damaging ideas.