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The Book of the Week is “Peace, the biography of a symbol (sic)” by ken kolsbun with michael s. sweeney (sic) published in 2008. This colorful volume described how a symbol has gone viral worldwide. That symbol is an instantaneous message that its bearer is anti-nuclear, anti-war and / or anti-discrimination.
English artist Gerald Holtom invented and mass-produced the “peace sign” (hereinafter abbreviated ps; consisting of a circle bisected by a vertical line, and on the bottom half, an upside-down “v”), to be attached to picket signs for a 1958 anti-nuclear-weapons march in Britain. Thereafter, the ps was used on what became all sorts of memorabilia, repeatedly, internationally in different kinds of protests.
After WWII, the governments of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. brainwashed many of their citizens into thinking that the other nation (the enemy (!)) would use nuclear weapons to make war. According to the book (which appeared to be credible although it lacked a detailed list of Notes, Sources, References, Bibliography and index), beginning in December 1960, Bradford Lyttle led ps-displaying members of the Committee for Nonviolent Action (CNVA)– (pacifists urging American and Soviet nuclear disarmament) in a march from San Francisco to New York City, through Western Europe, that ended in Moscow in October 1961.
In November 1961, the group Women Strike for Peace (WSP; a spinoff of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy) was afraid that usage of nuclear weapons at the newly constructed Berlin Wall would trigger more widespread hostilities and globally cause slow, painful deaths due to cancer. So they led about 50,000 ps-bearing females (many of whom had children) to go on strike; alpha males with hubris syndrome were the perpetrators of massively destructive war tools, after all.
In autumn 1963, freedom walkers teamed up with peace walkers to express their displeasure with violations of their civil rights, and nuclear weapons, through marching from Quebec to Cuba. Everyone wore the ps. Folk singer Pete Seeger joined in the activism. He said, “Songs are sneaky things. They can slip across borders. Proliferate in prisons. Penetrate hard shells.”
Read the photo-filled book to learn about numerous other people whose messaging helped spur the peace sign’s popularity through countless protests.