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Peace symbol

Feet up

Feet down

Which way up?

Did the peace symbol change - or is it a Mandela Effect?

Many people associate this with the campaign against nuclear weapons, which was adopted by that organisation in the 60's and has been a central focus from the hippy movement onwards. It's origins can be traced back much further than that, however, and there are some suprising places it's been seen in the past.

Some recall it being inverted from the one we see today, where they remember the "feet" being up at the top. There is some residual evidence of this on the internet, but most references show it with the feet down.

Hand signals

Some point to the correct way being "feet up" because the two fingered victory salute is also this way round, which it is said to be emulating.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

Since it's origin in the 60's, the peace symbol has been used for various peace campaigns worldwide - here we see a British CND rally in the 70's.

cnd 560x364


The meaning of the peace symbol is said to be a circle, which symbolised eternity for it has no end, with the ancient rune "Algiz" inside it, which in turn represents life, beginning and protection.

Wikipedia describes the Algiz rune, which is feet up, as:

After 1945, the "life rune" continued to be used by various neo-Nazi or white nationalist groups including the National Alliance, and the Oregon-based Volksfront, the Flemish nationalist Voorpost. Deathrune Records, formerly Die Todesrune Records, is the name of a minor Black Metal record label that has utilized this symbol. There is also a tree trunk with a life rune carved on it in the largely neo-Nazi village of Jamel, Germany.


There is a story that a school in Holland had 3,000 calendars destroyed which featured the peace symbol because it was deemed "satanic". The school governer had aparrently performed a Google search which informed him the symbol contained a Nero cross, which is connected to satanists.

peace symbol origin 440x330

Depressed stick man

There's an interesting piece on cracked.com which claims its' "a dude slumped over in despair". The story goes that Gerald Holtom, who was an illustrator from the UK, designed the symbol in 1958 specifically as a protest against nuclear weapons, and to hammer home the futility of mankind when faced with such horrors. The simplified design is supposed to show this in a form which also used semaphores, the representations of "C" and "D". In this way, the design serves two purposes. It was also widely adopted by peace campaigners during the Vietnam war. 

After releasing the design, Holtom realised the image was too depressing , so, and this may even contribute to this Mandela Effect, tried to fix things by inverting it. Unfortunately this didn't work, and the popular one became the one with the feet down.

Those who swear it was always up won't agree, though.