Swords to ploughshares is a concept in which
military weapons or technologies are converted
for peaceful civilian applications.
The phrase originates from the Book of Isaiah,
who prophesies of a future Messianic Age where
there will be peace amongst all humankind:
They will beat their swords into plowshares and
their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not
take up sword against nation, nor will they
train for war anymore. Isaiah 2:4 & Micah 4:3
The ploughshare is often used to symbolize
creative tools that benefit mankind, as opposed
to destructive tools of war, symbolized by the
sword, a similar sharp metal tool with an
arguably opposite use.
In addition to the original Biblical Messianic
intent, the expression "beat swords into
ploughshares" has been used by disparate
social and political groups.
One of the greatest efforts in this vein has
been various peace movement goals. An example
might be the destruction of nuclear weapons
and the use of that technology in the development
of power sources. Nuclear fission has been
applied to many civilian purposes since its
use at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and nuclear
fusion requires further research before it
can become practical to the same degree.
Swords to Plowshares