Peace flag

Peace flag
United States flag with peace sign canton

There have been several designs for a peace flag.


White-bordered national flag

White-bordered US flag. Banner reads "Peace to All Nations".

The white flag is recognized in most of the world as a flag of surrender, truce or ceasefire. The first mention of a white flag used in this context is made during the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25–220). A white flag was also used by the anti-war movement during the US Civil War in 1861.[1][2]

In 1891, the third Universal Peace Congress in Rome devised a generalized Peace Flag design, which was simply the home nation's flag bordered in white to signify non-violent conflict resolution. This was used (although not officially adopted) by the American Peace Society[3] and the Universal Peace Union.[4]

International Council of Women Banner

Button depicting the peace flag

In the 1890s, expatriate American Cora Slocomb di Brazza Savorgnan, the Countess Di Brazza, invented a universal peace flag with three upright bands: yellow, purple, and white, which became the peace flag of the International Peace Bureau.[5] Originally, there was a complicated symbol on the middle band: "a shield ... surmounted by a man's and a woman's clasped hands, sustained by a pair of dove wings with a white star aloft; on the shield can appear any device chosen by the association adopting the flag, or simply the number of enrollment among the users of the flag, or the motto Pro Concordia Labor (For Peace I Work), or this motto may be placed upon a ribbon on the flag beneath the shield, or on a streamer (white) from the flag staff (blue, the color of promise) surmounted by a star with the motto of the association or individual using the flag upon the other white streamer".[6]

This flag was adopted by the International Council of Women in 1896. In 1904, it lost the complicated design and became a simple tricolor.[7]

Earth flag

Button portraying the Universal Peace Congress' world peace flag.

James William van Kirk, a minister from Youngstown (Ohio, USA), designed the World Peace Flag with the rainbow stripes, the stars and the globe. He made in 1913 and 1929 with his flag a peace tour through Europe.[8]

The Universal Peace Congress eventually came to use a flag of the Earth as its world peace flag, subsequently adopted by the American Peace Society. Specifically, the flag portrayed "the earth on a blue field covered with white stars; a white band crossed the globe and to the left was broken up into a spectrum representing the variations of the human race — different, but united in peace."[5]

Rainbow flag

The actual rainbow colors in the PACE flag (Italian for 'peace')
Greek language peace flag

The most common recent design is a rainbow flag representing peace, first used in Italy at a peace march in 1961. The flag was inspired by similar multi-coloured flags used in demonstrations against nuclear weapons.

In recent years, especially in connection with the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, there has been a surge in popularity of the Peace flag, with the word PACE (Peace in Italian, derived from the Latin word pax) printed prominently across the middle. The flag in its current shape appeared as early as September 24, 1961, in an Italian peace march. It had previously featured a dove drawn by Pablo Picasso. [1]

The seven-color peace flag is not to be confused with the similar six-color Gay pride flag which does not have turquoise, and has red at the top instead of the bottom.

The flag was flown from balconies in all Italian cities by citizens against the war. Its use spread to other countries too, and the Italian Pace was replaced with the corresponding translation in the local languages.

According to Amnesty International, producer Franco Belsito had produced only about 1,000 flags for 18 years, and suddenly had to cope with a demand in the range of millions. [2]


"Pace da tutti i balconi": peace flags hanging from windows in Milan, Italy, in March 2003. Over 1,000,000 were hung against the Iraq war.

This rainbow flag in Italy was first used in a peace march in 1961, inspired by similar multi-coloured flags used in demonstrations against nuclear weapons. It became popular with the Pace da tutti i balconi ("peace from every balcony") campaign in 2002, started as a protest against the impending war in Iraq. The most common variety has seven colours -- purple, blue, azure, green, yellow, orange, and red -- and is emblazoned in bold with the Italian word PACE, meaning "peace".

The biggest peace flag in the world

Largest peace flag in the world Lecce, 14 November 2009

The largest peace flag in the world was made in Lecce, Salento, Italy by the association "GPace - Youth for peace" on Saturday, 14 November 2009. It was 21 m wide and 40 m long.


Common variations include moving the purple stripe down below the azure one, and adding a white stripe on top (the original flag from the 60s had a white stripe on top). This flag has been adopted internationally as a symbol of the peace movement.

See also


  1. ^ "Peace+Flag" Annual Cyclopaedia
  2. ^ Struggles and triumphs By Phineas Taylor Barnum
  3. ^ "Peace+Flag" US advocate of peace
  4. ^ Advocate of Peace
  5. ^ a b Devere Allen, "The Fight for Peace". 1930. p.553.
  6. ^ History and minutes of the National Council of Women of the United States
  7. ^ "School Arts"
  8. ^ Corien Glaudemans, 'Een vredesapostel uit Ohio', in: Den Haag Centraal, 16 oktober 2009; for pictures of James William van Kirk and his peace flag, see Haagse Beeldbank; photocollection of the Municipal Archive of The Hague (the Netherlands) nrs. 1.02811 and 5.12996.

External links

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