o .... what is this "peace sign" all about, anyway?
Some might call it a "Witches' Foot" or "Nero's Cross" and attribute all kinds of occult significance to it, making the mere display of it a sign of allegiance to satanic powers, black witchcraft and human sacrifice.
The name "Witches' Foot" seems to originate from Koch (Koch, Rudolf: The Book of Signs Dover 1955 and first published in 1930), who also assigned this name to the Pentagram. He also shows an inverted Cross and calls it a "sword..." This is a good introductory book towards graphic symbols, though Mr. Koch seems to indulge in his own interpetations of many of the sigils much too often. Thus, as a reference, it is suspect.
I have yet to find any reliable references for the so-called "Nero's Cross" other than in the more radical fundamentalist Christian literature. These usually allege that the symbol represents an inverted cross like the type that Peter was crucified on by Nero. All representations of such that I have seen show a standard cross (arms at a 90 degree angle to the shaft) turned upside down.
The similarity between the Germanic rune for "r" and the peace symbol has been remarked upon by many polemicists. Given the simplicity of the symbol, I can only attribute this to coincidence. (note that this rune can mean "g," "m," "z," or "r" depending on the time period and the culture, and the Norse "r" can be either as shown or inverted.)
In the "r" form, it is taken by -all- writers about the runes to mean "protection," while in its inverted form it is called "calc," or "chalice."
Nowhere that I have found is it called a "death rune," as alleged by many anti-peace-symbol writers.
Others call it a clever Marxist symbol, or one of those clever plots of the Universal Conspiracy Against Everything.
In the 1960's, some considered it sure evidence that the wearer was a Communist, though the sight of it on the helmets of soldiers in Vietnam probably gave them serious fits.
Well ..... the truth seems to be a bit more prosaic.
It was developed by the British "Committee for Nuclear Disarmament" (CND), apparently about 1958. It is comprised of the two semaphore flag positions for "N" and "D," standing for "nuclear disarmament."
Some say that Bertrand Russell designed the symbol, but that seems to be more of an "urban legend" than anything else.
The symbol caught on, and has become a pretty much universal anti-war symbol, with much more meaning than simply nuclear disarmament.
Info from CND-UK
This site is located at: