What Is the Meaning of an Upside-Down Peace Sign?

Nico Tondini/Photographer’s Choice/Getty Images

Beginning in the 1960s, the upside-down peace sign became a symbol of Earth-centered unity and worldwide peace. During this time period, the symbol was closely associated with the hippie movement.

The upside-down peace sign representing global peace and unity persists. Historically, the symbol is not always associated with peace and harmonic existence. At the time of Nero, who is thought to have ordered the execution of the Apostle Peter, the upside-down peace symbol actually represented that particular Christian leader’s manner of death. He is said to have been crucified on an inverted cross. Vikings and Germanic people considered the inverted peace sign to be a symbol of death. Some tombstones of Nazi SS troops bear this symbol.