Original U.S. WWII Homefront “V • • • —” For Victory Flag - 60” x 39”

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. During World War II, the opening motif of Beethoven's 5th Symphony became a powerful symbol for the Allied forces. The short-short-short-long rhythmic pattern corresponded in Morse code to the letter 'V' for Victory, which was an acknowledged symbol of the war effort, most famously made by Winston Churchill forming a 'V' with the first and second fingers of his raised right hand. It was also adopted as the American national symbol after the war, along with the bald eagle.

This flag is a lovely example on the American homefront usage of the, at the time, growing popularity of the “V” symbol. The flag itself measures 60” x 39” and is double sided construction of a 4 pieces, 2 red stripes at the top and bottom, a main body of blue and a sewn on hoist side with 2 intact brass grommets. The header is stamped with 3 x 5 FT, so the flag has stretched a bit since it was made. The body of the flag has the message “V • • • —” printed in white on the center.

The condition is excellent with what appears to be a period repair done to the top right corner. No WWII American collection is complete without a banner or flag displaying this popular message. Comes ready to be displayed!

Second World War: V for Victory campaign
On 18 May 1939, the French daily, Le Monde Quotidien had a headline of, 'V pour victoire'. On 14 January 1941, Victor de Laveleye, former Belgian Minister of Justice and director of the Belgian French-language broadcasts on the BBC (1940–44), suggested in a broadcast that Belgians use a V for victoire (French: "victory") and vrijheid (Dutch: "freedom") as a rallying emblem during the Second World War.

In the BBC broadcast, de Laveleye said that "the occupier, by seeing this sign, always the same, infinitely repeated, [would] understand that he is surrounded, encircled by an immense crowd of citizens eagerly awaiting his first moment of weakness, watching for his first failure." Within weeks chalked up Vs began appearing on walls throughout Belgium, the Netherlands and Northern France. Buoyed by this success, the BBC started the "V for Victory" campaign, for which they put in charge the assistant news editor Douglas Ritchie posing as "Colonel Britton". Ritchie suggested an audible V using its Morse code rhythm (three dots and a dash). As the rousing opening bars of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony had the same rhythm, the BBC used this as its call-sign in its foreign language programmes to occupied Europe for the rest of the war. The more musically educated also understood that it was the Fate motif "knocking on the door" of NSDAP Germany. (Listen to this call-sign. (help·info)). The BBC also encouraged the use of the V gesture introduced by de Laveleye.

By July 1941, the emblematic use of the letter V had spread through occupied Europe. On 19 July, Prime Minister Winston Churchill referred approvingly to the V for Victory campaign in a speech, from which point he started using the V hand sign. Early on he sometimes gestured palm in (sometimes with a cigar between the fingers). Later in the war, he used palm out. After aides explained to the aristocratic Churchill what the palm in gesture meant to other classes, he made sure to use the appropriate sign. Yet the double-entendre of the gesture might have contributed to its popularity, "for a simple twist of hand would have presented the dorsal side in a mocking snub to the common enemy". Other allied leaders used the sign as well.

The Germans could not remove all the signs, so they adopted the V Sign as a German symbol, sometimes adding laurel leaves under it, painting their own V's on walls, vehicles and adding a massive V on the Eiffel Tower.

In 1942, Aleister Crowley, a British occultist, claimed to have invented the usage of a V-sign in February 1941 as a magical foil to the NSDAP use of the swas. He maintained that he passed this to friends at the BBC, and to the British Naval Intelligence Division through his connections in MI5, eventually gaining the approval of Winston Churchill. Crowley noted that his 1913 publication Magick (Book 4) featured a V-sign and a swas on the same plate.

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