- The Peace Sign
- The Peace Symbol: A History of the Design
As a dedicated peacemaker he was involved with the Direct Action Committee against Nuclear War. His pacifism had extended to him deciding to work in agriculture doing farm work as a conscientious objector during World War Two rather than join the armed forces.
Reputedly, the hands downward on the sign is symbolic of peasants being killed by a firing squad; this interpretation has been heavily used by those who oppose the peace movement.
- Bertrand Russell
Russell was also interested in the symbolism of defeat, despair and occult significance of being disrespectful to Jesus. American journalist and playwright
Herb Greer states that Holtom didn't think the peace symbol was affirmative enough and that he always wanted the arms of the symbol to be raised up rather than down.
Holtom's last wish was for the peace symbol that he had designed to be engraved on his tombstone, but his wishes were not carried out and his tombstone, which is in Kent in the United Kingdom is relatively unadorned.