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Object: Badge

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Title Badge
Production Unknown, 1980s
Medium summary Plastic wrapped printed paper and metal badge
Materials metal, paper, plastic, ink
Classification badges
Technique printing
Dimensions Overall: x 7mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Gift of Ken Thomas, 2008
Registration number GH011823

This badge features the CND symbol over a rainbow. Rainbows were associated with the international peace movement.

CND stands for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament which was launched in London in February 1958. British graphic artist Gerald Holtom designed the symbol that came to represent the movement.

The symbol can be read in different ways. It can symbolise a man with outstretched arms against the background of the globe. Holtom himself recalled: “I was in despair. Deep despair. I drew myself: the representative of an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards in the manner of Goya’s peasant before the firing squad. I formalised the drawing into a line and put a circle round it” (

It can also be a cross formed by combining the semaphore signals for the letters N and D ('nuclear' and 'disarmament').

The symbol became an emblem of the anti-Vietnam War movement in the 1960s and the counter culture. It gained currency internationally and has been used ever since to express the desire and determination for universal peace.

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