CND logo design

Item type: Print Date: 1958 Description: The original design of the CND symbol by Gerald Holtom (copy). The late 1950s saw the British Government supportinga UK nuclear programme and the arrival of US nuclear missiles in Britain. In response to these moves the left wing of British politics called for unilateral nuclear disarmament. The appearance of a magazine article by noted author J.B. Priestley, led to a meeting of prominent opponents of nuclear weapons. Out of this meeting the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) was formed. Bertrand Russell was its president and the dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Canon Collins, was made chairman. A symbol for the organisation was created by Gerald Holtom. His design represented the semaphore letters N and D, standing for ‘Nuclear’ ‘Disarmament’. The symbol was displayed at CND’s first direct action, the Aldermaston march of Easter 1958. Purposefully not patented or restricted, the symbol crossed national and cultural boundaries to become a universal symbol of peace. Despite a split between those who favoured direction action, led by Russell, and those who wanted to use the existing political system, CND gained huge support in the early 1960s. Local groups sprang up all over the country and the Aldermaston marches regularly attracted up to 50,000 people. CND is now over 40 years old and whilst it does not have quite as much support as in the early 60s it continues to be active. This was seen during the French nuclear tests in the Pacific adn protests at nuclear bases in Britain. The end of the Cold War has led to an easing of the nuclear threat but CND continues to campaing for an end to all weapons of mass destruction.


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